Thursday, October 21, 2010


So I've been. I went there. Here's the quick-n-dirty for those too impatient to wait for the ending: I got a job. I loved Roomie's family.

So, yes, in a way, the ending is written. But there's so much more. Like the rash. The rash! Yes, I got a rash.

As I returned from my job interview, a four-hour affair in which I was assured that the department I will work for is fun, funky, teasing and *diverse, I decided to take a nap. Roomie's mom was very understanding about my sleep deprivation and exhaustion, and was more than happy to wait out my short nap before she took me to the beach again (she lives four blocks from the beach. Swoon). So I took a short one, and woke refreshed.

After the nap, I stood with her in the kitchen, chatting, and absent-mindedly rubbed my right shoulder. And I realized something was off. Raised skin. I looked down. It looked like hives on my shoulder.

We inspected. It looked like maybe some heat rash. Now, I've been in much more extreme heat than this for longer periods, much hotter sun, but I was on vacation. Vacation does not entail polyester suits. So to me, this seemed like a reasonable reaction. (I have serious white people skin. My people are from the North.) So I went ahead and went out to dinner with Roomie's dad and stepmom and step brother (yes, they're adorable). On the way back to Roomom's, where I was staying, I noticed that The Rash had spread a bit. We hit the market for some Benadryl.

The next morning, I had an angry rash all over. My arms. My neck. My back. My face. And I had to get on an airplane soon. For 12 hours.

I called my mom. I may have cried. (I shouldn't tell you, but I once had scabies. It sucked. I was afraid I'd given it to grandma, whom we stopped by to meet after dinner [painfully adorable] and I was freaked out.)

Anyway, I could go on and on about the rash, but I finally saw a dermatologist: It's not contagious. Some sort of allergic reaction to something. The south? I hope not. Atlantic Ocean crab? Maybe. (FUCK)

But here's the short of the long (the long of the short, etc.): I got the job. Nailed it. I start Nov. 8. That means I have a very short time to wrap up my life, my job, my home, and go there.

So now that I've been there, what did I think?

The family is every bit as wonderful as I assumed they'd be. Roomie explained them all as I expected. They're charming, they're loving, they're wonderful. I don't think they paused long enough to wonder about me to think that I could be anything other than what they expected: I am the girl that their darling boy loves. So of course I'm great. And they are the people who raised my darling boy. There. Perfect. Done.

The place though? Well ... I don't know. It was a reality check. I think the job will be good. I'm not looking forward to my commute (Potentially more than an hour. One way. Every day), and the land? I was told that I would drive through some beautiful country on the way to the jobsite. I didn't see it. It looked like Mexico's countryside, which, in my view, is not so pretty.

I think there's a good chance I'll feel like a stranger in a strange land. But I'm trying to remember that I didn't like Bend at first, and now it's home. This browny sagey landscape is now so lovely, so deeply dry and crusty and dusty-lovely to me, I have to think that maybe I'll find a way to love this new home. Maybe I'll find friends like I have here -- OK, well. Maybe that's not so likely. I've had some ridiculous luck here.

So, here I go. I'm leaving in 7 days. I have to pack my home and my life and figure out how to make my dogs happy and how to make my new family get the smelly, difficult pack who will show up on their doorstep (in about 10 days) and quite suddenly be a part of their family. I have to say goodbye to my mom and my dad and my niece and nephew and my sister and so many friends, and I have to arrive ready to be a part of something new. I have to do this before Roomie arrives to support me.

But here I go. I'm packing now. We're going. We'll be there soon.

Love is effing crazy, you guys.

*By diverse, I mean there was a vegetarian and a British guy. I'll take it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coast's Clear

OK guys. Sorry about that. Those of you who missed it, here's the scoop on my absence: I'm interviewing for a job with a company that's fairly conservative. Like, it's safe to say that I won't be playfully calling anyone "bitches" while at work, at least until they really get to know me. Well, maybe not ever.

Which is fine. I'm all for new experiences, that's what this move is about.

But they wanted to see some of my blogging experience, and I was like, uhhh .... yeah ... OK, wait a second ....

then I exported this blog to another place with a nicer title, and deleted a bunch of posts, and edited swear words out of others ....

then I was like, "Yeah, you can totally see my personal blog, but it's just silly personal stuff. I'm not sure it's even relevant," and since I had so many other awesome writing samples (when I'm not blogging or on twitter or le Bookface, I actually tend to keep my verbal shit together, believe it or not), they didn't even bother to look at the shadow blog I spent hours culling.

Anyway. I'm getting encouragement to keep up the shadow blog, so I'm posting this one in both places, RBR and MOU until I decide what to do. That's sure to encourage loyal readership, right? Right?

Hmm. Probably not. Meh.

Anyway, I have tickets now. I am going to fly out to meet the prospective job peeps on Sunday. My flight leaves at 6:25 am. Which means I'm flying 12 hours, in three planes, across country the day after a two-day going away party. Sounds fun.

Also, I need a suit and I need to get my hair done. And work extra in preparation for taking two days off next week while I charm the pants off of some business folk as well as Roomie's mom, dad, grandma, step-mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-brother, step-sister and five-step-nieces and nephews.

Holy shit. That's like 15 interviews in two days.

So, you know. See you later. I'll try to update from the road.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The trailer

Oh dear. We're really doing this, aren't we?

We bought a trailer.

It's a white rectangle, about 10 by 8 by 8 (or something). My whole life basically has to fit into that thing (OK, there's also my trunk and the rocket box that'll go on top of my car but my car is small, y'all).

I knew before the trailer was purchased (By the way, if you're considering moving across country, and taking your time on the trip, be prepared: renting a trailer can cost almost as much as buying one. And it doubles as storage, and you can sell it when you arrive.) what size it would be, but still, when I look at it, the reality of the situation starts to sink in.

I'm getting ready to say goodbye to my bed, my dresser and tons of books. However, I refuse to give up my baking supplies or my dining table. I've enjoyed far too much the giant dinner parties with 12 to 16 people around my beautiful teak table (it has two full sized leaves) for me to imagine getting rid of it (and did I mention I paid $100 for it? Yeah. Don't lie. You're jealous.)
Perhaps most terrifying; I think I'm going to have to downsize my closet.

When I look in the generous closets I've had for the last two years, it makes me nervous. I mean, the luxuries of my current closet system are out far beyond what I deserve. I have, to myself, one double-wide dresser. A total of 8 drawers. I have one full-sized closet in which I hang work shirts and jackets, cute tops and dresses. In that closet hangs a shelving unit with 7 shelves for T-shirts and such. I have a built in storage area with two giant built-in drawers I use for workout clothes, PJs and sweaters. I also have a second full-sized closet where I hang pants, jeans and shoes. Oh and I also have a third, hallway-sized closet where I put all of my jackets, backpacks and clothes I'm thinking about selling.

How do people live with less? I have no idea. I really don't. I neeeeed all of my closets. All of my drawers--actually, no. That's not true. One drawer in the dresser is empty.

But I fear that very soon, I'll have to find out how all the rest of you live. I'm afraid.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More on feeding a southern boy

This week, I was shopping the Safeway discount meat bin (If you don't know what this is, you should. Look for it. At Safeway -- Vons in some parts of the country, I guess -- they have these bins in the meat department where they toss soon to be expired meat. It's usually 30-50% off. Oh yes. I eat expired bologna.), and I saw a small container with two veal cube steaks. I've had bad luck cooking veal, but I decided to try it again.

When Roomie came home, he saw what I was cooking and told me he'd never eaten veal.

"That's 'cause you're a good person," I said.

He agreed.

I had on hand some breadsticks I'd made (they were supposed to be baguettes). They were no good for regular eating, but they were perfectly cracker-ey for homemade bread crumbs. I had fresh mozzarella, a hunk of parm, eggs, pasta, and best yet I had everything I would need to make this Smitten Kitchen tomato sauce that I absolutely adore. (A note for my super foodie readers: The veal parm recipe also calls for fresh parsley and fresh basil, and while I had the parsley, I had no basil. I did have fresh tarragon on hand, and the tarragon substituted for the basil in a wholly surprising and totally transcendent way)

As we sat down for dinner, I realized R didn't have a knife to cut the meat. Fortunately, his fork was more than sufficient to cut the veal into bite-sized pieces. After the first bite, he looked at me, wide-eyed. Seriously, if cows had blue eyes .... I almost started to think I should feel guilty for cooking some poor, tortured creature and making this sweet, animal-loving, doe-eyed hippie enjoy his (or her -- do they make veal out of young heifers?) dead body. I offered all I could come up with as a remittance, an apology for making R realize how tasty animals can be when they're disallowed from ever feeling fresh air, from ever running, from ever getting the opportunity to be what they were born to be.

"I'm sorry I made that baby cow taste so delicious."

I think that's good enough.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two vignettes

Last night, I glanced at my phone and noticed a missed call from my Bestie. We've been trying to chat for a few days, but keep missing each other.

(It should be noted here that both Bestie and her mother, Itinerant Woman, are notorious Anglophiles -- especially on such an occasion that the Anglo is a goodlooking man. Bestie also so happens to have a mini wiener dog named Ralph.)

I had a dinner guest over, so I couldn't call back. I sent her a text (which was all true, by the way):

"Hi boo. I'd call you back but R and I have an Englishman over for dinner. His name is Ralph. I'm sure you understand."

Her reply:

"Of course. Carry on."

A friend of mine recently called me "demanding."

"You know I mean that with love, right?," she asked.

"I also demand love, so yes," I replied.

But later, I told R about it.

"Did I tell you Jules called me demanding? Do you think I'm demanding?"

He looked at me with some surprise.

"Of course. You didn't know that about yourself?"

Monday, August 16, 2010

It was a lot like a first date. I even shaved my legs.

One of the funny things about my moving plan is this: I agreed to move to R's ancestral home without having met, or even spoken to, any of his family.

Not-a-one. Not even on the phone.

And I'll be inheriting a brood. There's dad, there's mom, there's stepmom, there are uncles and aunts, a few cousins and there's a 93-year-old matriarch. All within probably a 50-mile radius.

I'm excited about it, for the most part. So far, they've been terribly sweet. This is good for me, because in the past (long past) I had a boyfriend whose mom thought I was stealing away her baby. It was a nightmare. That's not the case here. They all seem to be (judging by R's reports) genuinely delighted he's found a lady he likes enough to bring home, a lady who likes him enough she's agreed to cross the continent. Whenever he talks to his family back home, they always end the call with messages for me. "Tell Ells we said hi and can't wait to meet her!"

But I'm also kind of nervous. What if they don't like me? What if they don't think I'm pretty enough for him? What if they judge me? What if they hate my dog? I realize these are mostly asinine, insecure thoughts (with the exception of the dog concern. It's totally reasonable to think that she might cause problems), but I can't help it. Fears are fears, you can try to reason with them, but sometimes it's hard to make them go away.

So when R announced that one of his uncles was coming through town with his wife (not the uncle who works with my new internet friend, a different uncle, I was both excited and nervous. I started getting ready hours before our date at a local brewpub. I tried on multiple outfits, checking with my girlfriend, Q.

"Is this cute?" I asked, spinning in front of her in a blue cotton summer dress.

"Yeah, it's cute," Q said.

"Is it too much? I think it's too much."

"It's not too much, it's cute."

It was like a first date.

As we walked into the pub, Uncle was sitting at the table. I spotted R's sparkly blue eyes across the room. As we walked up, he was sort of stuck in the corner, so I reached over and shook his hand. As we chose seats, Auntie returned from the bathroom. She gave R a big hug and then turned to me.

"Hi, good to meet you," I said, putting out my hand.

She looked at my hand.

"Honey, if you're moving to South Carolina, you're going to have to get over shaking hands," she said as she folded me into a big hug.

Seems like a good sign to me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The internet is so awesome, you guys.

Oh, wow. Has it really been that long since I posted? What a jerk! And it’s not like I have nothing to write about. Hooboy and howdy do I.

Like the story about my first friend in Myrtle Beach.

Yeah, that’s right. I haven’t even been to the state and I have a friend.

How, you ask?

Well, it started a few years back. Four? Three? Not sure, but it was long enough ago that people I knew were blogging on LiveJournal. One day, I was bored, poking around on LJ when I ran across a woman whose userpic was a still from one of the best films of all time, Grey Gardens. And I’m not talking about the Drew Barrymore version (which, incidentally, I heartily endorse), I’m talking O.G. Grey Gardens.

“Here’s a blogger I could read,” I thought.

So I did. For years. Her name is Katie, and she now has several active blogs, none of which is on LiveJournal. She’s my first internet friend.

So when Katie joined Twitter, I was all over it. The thing is, Twitter sounds lame, but I actually think it’s fun. Really. It’s much less high-school-reunion-ey than Facebook. You can actually end up finding funny people and ridiculous links.

One of the followers I gained through Katie was JEKinard. Now, when I get a follower, I don’t always follow back. But JEK had some good Tweets, and she seemed more human than Spam-bot (always a big consideration on Twitter). So I followed her back. Over the last few months, she’s someone I’ve seen floating around on the internet. All I knew is that she was a budding attorney who lived in the south.

So when I announced that I was moving to Myrtle Beach, S.C., imagine my delight when JEK replied, “I work in Myrtle Beach and live just south of it. We can be pals. You won't get a twang and I'll help you find the culture.”

Naturally, I found her on Facebook and added her.

When she accepted my friend request (I realize that this story with all it’s Twitter and Facebook references is sort of boring up to this point, but if you're still reading, here’s where it gets crazy), and when she added me back, I decided to look at her info. She read good books, listened to good music, and liked good movies. Check, check and check.

Then I saw her employer.


What? No. Way. I sent her a note.

Subject: WAIT

Body: “Where do you work? For Bob R??”

Her reply:

Yes... I do. Should I be weirded out?”


I just can't believe what a small world it is! My boyfriend is R, Bob is his uncle. We've actually been trying to get a hold of Bob …”

“Dude!! I've met R's dad a couple times! …”

And on and on it goes. She knows of R, knows his family. Knows his cousins. And now JEK and I are friends and we will soon hang out, even though I’m totally the needy new friend who is constantly like, “What’s it like there? Are the bugs terrible? Will my hair be frizzy? Are you smart? Can we hang out?” She’s either patient or she’s faking it because she knows I’ll blog about it. Either way, I’ll take it because, according to Facebook, she wears cute outfits and quotes Margaret Atwood.

But seriously, y’all. The universe is tiny. Some random girl on Twitter who was cool enough to not get unfollowed (which I do with extreme prejudice ((I actually don’t know what ‘with extreme prejudice’ means, I just thought it sounded tough))) not only lives where I’m moving and is into a lot of the same stuff I like — including sharing a blogger friend whom neither of us has met — but she knows Roomie’s family. I haven’t met his family.

All’s I’m saying is, the internet is RAD, people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I’m moving to South Carolina, y’all

I was born in Oregon. I was raised in Oregon. I went to college in Oregon. I know how to properly pronounce Oregon (it does not rhyme with lawn), Chemeketa, Aloha (not the Hawaiian way), Coos and Willamette. I know that in Portland, the street Couch rhymes with pooch. I've got Palaniuk, Groening and Van Sant pride, as well as Tonya Harding shame. I cringe when someone throws something recyclable in the garbage. I wear glasses and have fair skin and I know people who throw secret, underground restaurant parties. I love pinot noir (when I can afford it). I’ve always lived in places within a few hours’ drive from mountains–and I’m talking big, crusty, white volcanoes

And by the end of the year, I’m moving to South Carolina. I'll probably live in Myrtle Beach. It’s a small town, not even 35,000 permanent residents, but it sees nearly 15 million tourists every year. Some are golfers, some are partiers. I’ve never been there. I don’t have a job there, and I don’t know anyone who lives there (yet).

As I was leaving work today, a co-worker stopped me.

“Is it true you’re leaving?”

“Oh, yeah. You heard.”

“Tell me it’s not for a man.”

“It’s for a man.”

She shook her head. “Don't do it.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah, it never works out. You’ll be back.”

Well, I don’t know that I agree on the “never works out” thing. I’m sure, once in awhile, it does work out. But I’ll admit it; there’s a good chance she’s right. If you define “working out” as “staying together until one of us dies,” then sure. If those are your standards, there’s a solid chance we’re not going to be checking off the box marked “WIN!”

But I’m not looking at it that way. I’m looking at it this way: Many of the most interesting people I know, at some point, took up and left. They went far. They did something scary. It didn’t always pay off immediately, but they sure as shit learned heaps.

I’m about to do something scary. A move like this is something I chastised a friend about when she did a very similar thing (different Carolina), and guess what? It didn’t work out. He broke up with her a few months later. And she’d been with her honey for several years. Me and R? Just one year under our belts. But guess what else? My friend who ran away with her man? She loves where she ended up. She’s happy with her new friends, her new job, and her new life.

(And of course I could subject you people to my justifications, relationship-wise. I could list the amazing qualities of this person, the kindest person I’ve ever known, and the amazing qualities of this relationship, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever known, but who wants to hear all that nonsense?)

So now, this blog, which was once going to be about running, is going to be about running away with someone.

Rather than letting myself be sad about all the things I’ll miss, (there’s plenty of time for that) I’m excited. It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be super hot and humid so I’ll probably have to wear my hair curly all the time. There’s a chance, if I get a job first, that I’m going to have to drive across the country, just me and my dog. I haven’t even met R’s family, and I’ll probably have to live with them for awhile.

Will I be shocked by the new and interesting ways foods can be deep-fried? I hope so! Will it be 70 degrees on Christmas? Good chance! Am I going to be unable to find work and eventually go bankrupt? Maybe!

Things I’m excited for: Watching the sun rise over the ocean. Land so flat your gas mileage is great and biking everywhere on a single speed Schwinn (mine is purple) is totally possible. Living near a bathwater-warm ocean. Changing the industry I work in. The super-long growing season. Joining R’s 92-year-old grandmother’s book club. Low cost of living. Fireflies. Visiting Katie Ett in New York (I’m not kidding, lady).

This morning, I was at my dentist’s office, and I told them I needed to schedule some work I’d been putting off. I told them we still had some time, as we’re planning to be in South Carolina by Christmas. The dental assistant, a woman who’s sucked saliva out of the corners of my mouth with a tube twice a year for the last five years, got wistful.

“I used to live out there,” she said. She lived two hours away, near Fort Sumter.

“You’ll have a twang after a couple of years. Just you wait. I worked at it and hid mine after I left because I got made fun of, but you’ll get one.”

She’s now probably in her early 60s. While she polished my teeth she told me a story about skipping school with her friends and heading over to Myrtle Beach when she was a sophomore in high school.

“The first time I streaked was in Myrtle Beach. My boyfriend was so mad, when he saw me going down the main drag, naked, on some guy’s shoulders,” she said.

Now, that's not quite the experience I'm looking for, but I think it's safe to say this'll be interesting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

News. Big. Huge.

So, I don't want to get all Dooce on my three readers, but there's a big announcement in the works here at MOU. Huge. Giant. Life-altering.

But not yet.

So. There's that.

And really, I could write up a post right now updating y'all about the stupid heel that won't heal and blah blah blah but instead instead I'll brag about my awesome day yesterday: Elk Lake, mountain views, shining sun, cute baby and 14 week old puppy. I stuffed my face all day with roasted turkey sammiches and fresh cherries and blueberries (plus maybe a few potato chips) and also probably too much beer. Oy. Oh, and I also did some stand up paddleboarding AND didn't fall into the frigid lake. I'd call that a successful holiday.

The puppy's name is George. He was very sleepy after playing all day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Final countdown

So this blog was supposed to be about my transition back into running. Specifically, I was thinking I'd have my stupid plantar fasciitis all cleared up and I'd get to running in time to do another half marathon, as I did last year about this time.

But no. Instead, it's been a place to document my failures. Failure to heal, failure to trim up before my sister's wedding -- now one week away, and with no improvements in ye olde waistline -- oh and my high school reunion's also this week. My 11 year. Yeah, I know. I went to an odd high school.

I'm close to considering the surgical option, though I hear that even that has risks, including flattening the arch in your foot, which can be an even worse fate than what I'm dealing with now.


But I was thinking recently, as an ad for American Apparel came up on my computer, about skinny people. They're responsible for a lot of stupid trends. I wonder, if I became one of those skinny people, if I'd suddenly get cool and trendy and start wearing leggings. Or, worse yet, if I'd see these and think, "Oh, those are really cute formal shorts."

OK. I know that's ridiculous. I mean, I don't like imagining the kind of brain trauma that would lead me to such insanity.

Monday, June 7, 2010


A little unsolicited advice for y'all: If you have ambitions of weight loss, don't date a southern boy.

Sunday was R's birthday, and I think I went through a pound of butter cooking him his favorite things. And a quart of heavy cream, several cups of sugar, a half pound of bacon and about a third of a bottle of maple syrup.

The details? Pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Lunch didn't matter, because I finished making him two crack pies (Most of the butter went into the crack pie. It's a dairy-and-caramelized-sugary-goo pie in an oatmeal-cookie-crumbled-with-butter crust), and he decided because it was his birthday he could cut into a pie before we went to the movie and ate a tub of popcorn and just call that lunch. Dinner was Emeril's shrimp (with cream and peppers, garlic and cajun seasoning. Now, I think Emeril's a bit much, but if he knows how to make anything, it's southern-style shrimp) and Charleston-style grits (the grits contained two cups of milk, a cup of heavy cream and a stick of butter. it's really the only way to eat grits), which apparently in the south they serve with corn bread. After the cornbread came out of the oven, we frosted it with butter and honey until it weighed about a half pound per cube. I would've taken photos of some of this deliciously fattening food, but we were kind of busy stuffing it in our faces. (Exaggeration. He was stuffing. I was actually pretty restrained. One pancake. Half slice of crack pie. OK, I did hit the bacon pretty hard, but c'mon. Gimme a break.)

Since then, I've not let a carb pass my lips, and barely any dairy. It's been mostly egg whites salad and lean meats. A few nuts and avocado. I've walked the butte every morning and done pilates in the evenings. Too little too late? (Sleeveless maid of honor dress in little more than 2 weeks. gulp. thank the lord for spanx) Probably.

Oh, and in totally unrelated news, I went to see a new chiropractor, and hours after the appointment with the new guy, my old chiro called me to schedule my next appointment. It's like he knew I was cheating. But the new guy! He adjusts my whole spine! He doesn't try to rip me off by selling me $600 orthotics!

He also makes me take my shoes off in his office, but, you know. Win some, lose some.

Monday, May 31, 2010


I didn't work out this week, as I was too busy coughing up bits of green goo and taking the kind of sick day that you pay for later by working 2 of the 3 days other people labeled a "holiday weekend," but I did manage to write something. Not for this blog, but for an old pal, the newly remodeled

In it, I confess that I committed the only unforgivable crime. I dated a cop.

Don't worry, I've already washed my own mouth out with soap.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Marian's back!

I had to call a library yesterday, and I swear the lady I spoke with was Marian the Librarian. The voice was identical. Now, I totally get that the original Marian wasn't actually a librarian, but in fact a crazy yoga teacher with a giant camel toe, but the voice! The "hehe"! It was creepy. I had flashbacks.

In other news, I walked the butte yesterday morning with two friends. Bootie was so fast she jogged laps around the top while waiting for me and Jules to catch up. Jerk. I'm blaming my slowness on the fact that we were walking with wee Gertie, the world's cutest golden retriever puppy. Seriously. Why did I not get a golden retriever? Why did I have to get a "smart" dog? Dumb dogs are awesome. They obey. Did you know that? Also, Gertie gets tired. Toward the end of the walk Jules jogged a little bit, and poor lil Gertie (I'll find a pic, promise) was dragging on the end of her leash. Do you know what I have to do to tire out Margaux?

If you do, please, please tell me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wagon: The thing that I get off and on depending on my mood.

Yesterday was day one of not being a lazy whiner chubby-bunny face-stuffer.

Really. After more than a week of sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and evenings spent in the company of my couch and a bowl of spaghetti (you go through those phases, too, right?) I've decided it's time.

Yesterday, I did my first pilates class in ages, and discovered my that one of my instructors' sister is a poet. Now, when I heard that, I thought, "Oh, poet. Uh huh. Sure. I'm sure she's a real good poet." But it turns out she recently won a prize I was familiar with, and was recently published in Poetry, the journal I have a collection of going back to 2007. She's a real capital P Poet, y'all. Not sure why that matters, except to think that there are real poets out there who are related to real people I know somehow lets a tiny light into the black-ass darkness that's descended over my head, Eeyore-style.

(Poetess also apparently went to college with a close friend of mine, who doesn't know the pilates instructor. It's all very strange in my world. Everyone knows everyone. Especially ex-boyfriends.)

Then this morning a good friend came and met me and Margaux to walk the butte. "Somehow, today, they made the road to the top extra long and extra steep," I thought all the way up, as my friend disappeared ahead of me as the road curved around the butte. I think it may have had something do do with a) Only getting about 5 hours of sleep last night b) Did I mention all that couch time? All that delicious, wonderful, yummy nummy snoozy couch time? Mmmmm, I could go lay down right now ...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Everything sucks

I thought about not writing about this here, because it's just so depressing. But I have to. (How's that for a winning lede?)

Wednesday morning last week, I went to wake the dogs up and let them out, and right away knew something was wrong. Rio (of turd fairy fame) had moved a few steps from the bed the three dogs share, and was lying on the floor on his side, whimpering quietly. His front legs were quivering. When I moved to the door and called the dogs, as I do every morning, he pushed up on his front legs into a sit and looked at me.

"Rio, come on buddy," I said. He tried to push forward, but that was it. His eyes were wide. He tried to shove forward, but his bum stayed put.

Now, I've lived with Rio for a year. He's a little bit of a drama queen. A hurty paw, a tiny sliver in the pad, could leave him three-legged. A subtle breeze could elicit a squealing plead for mercy.

But this was no drama queen moment. He was paralyzed from mid-waist down.

Over the next couple of days, the vet tried a few of the less expensive diagnostic and treatment options, but the prognosis wasn't good. There was little hope for recovery. He was going to be paralyzed. He was going to be incontinent. And his personality wasn't going to change; he would still be an anxious little guy. The kind of dog who, at the slightest bit of stress, would lick his paws raw.

And now, as he wizzed all over the pee-pee pads we'd tucked underneath him, with medication and stress-induced diarrhea all over himself and his bedding, it bothered him. He fretted. He tried reaching his back side, tried licking himself clean. He buried his head in his paws when we were cleaning him.

You see where this is going. We decided to put him down. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever been a part of -- and I won't even begin to imagine or explain what it was like for R.

As I've gotten to know dogs over the last few years, I've realized the degree to which dogs have soul -- and I don't mean they have something crafted by God that other animals don't have. I mean they have the kind of soul James Brown talks about. Dogs totally look at you and see you, (all Avatar-style) whereas cats look at you and you might as well be a lamp. Perhaps your cat looks at you and sees a lamp that gives good belly rubs or a lamp that puts food in his bowl, but you're still a lamp.

The last morning we had Rio, we took him to McDonalds and bought him an egg McMuffin. We took him to the park and pet his velvet toffee ears. And we stayed with him until the end. If you've never put an animal down, you can probably imagine what it's like, and how much it sucks. I thought I could imagine how awful it would be before I had to go through it on Friday. But here's the thing: It's so much worse.

The day we put him down, I went to the going-away party of one of my best friends, who's moving to Utah (Ugh). The next morning, R left for most of the next month for work. Oh and the tire store called and won't put my summer tires on because they're bald and 'we have a nice tire we can put you in for $6,000 and why don't you also bend over for us lady.'

I think I'm going to write a country song. I'll start with something about how I haven't been sleeping right. How at first, I can't get to sleep, then, in the morning, I want to stay in bed all day. I'll also write about filling up two bowls with breakfast instead of three, and about Margaux pacing the back yard with too much energy, looking for someone who wants to play.

And now, with apologies, here are some pictures of Rio. He was even cuter in person.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


When I visited Sadie in Idaho last summer, I was a runner. She was not. She'd go to the gym with me and hike with me, but the few times I tried to get her to run with me, it just wasn't happening.

But since I've been down with this (grumblegrumblegrumble) heel injury, she's picked up her running shoes. Oh, and roller skates, too, since she's now a derby queen.

This weekend, she ran her first race, a 12K. She loved it, of course, and came back with this little story:

About .5 mile from the finish I heard a man clapping and hooting (like a gazillion other spectators). "You're all amazing, keep going!" he cheered, "Almost there, it's a blessed miracle you're running today!"

I turned my face to send him a weary smile, and I saw him; an old man, perched awkwardly on a stool. He was an amputee.

It's hard to run and cry at the same time. fyi.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Best part of today's outing? When Margaux rolled in human poo.

Wait, did I say "best"? I meant worst. Yup, that was the worst. I couldn't even bring myself to look when R took her over to the pile to be sure she knew what she was in trouble for. But I'm also a lil pathetic; her terrified yelps when he dunked her in the creek to clean her off still sort of broke my heart.

Another awesome thing about when your dog's wearing human turds? Being paranoid that she's going to brush up against you for the rest of the day.

And why do dogs like to roll in turds, anyway? Google tells me it may be to mask her smell so she can hunt more effectively, but, hello Margaux: Humans are the most dangerous animal on earth. Masking your pathetic little 45 pound dog smell with the smell of the poo from some jerk who doesn't know not to leave his turds and toilet paper in the woods isn't going to help you catch a squirrel. It's going to make the squirrel think that you may be a human, so you may have a gun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It's Tuesday, and my big plan for the week is already blown. The big plan wherein I wake up early every other day and walk as fast as I can up the hill behind my house. Except, you know, the hill behind my house is Pilot Butte.

(I like the nasty industrial stuff in the foreground from this pic. This town was suuuper classy in 1984.)

I know it's only 500 feet up, but -- wait, yup. 500 feet is a lot. Or it feels like a lot in a 20-minute fast walk. Especially at 6 a.m.

Anyhoo, here's how I've been entertaining myself this week:

Blogsite soundtracks via Frequency (Click the button! You know you want to!):

Imagining the awesomeness of living in New York and thus being able to participate in Karaoke Chatroulette, a combo of everyone's favorite things, creepers and karaoke, over at Unapologetically Mundane.

And lastly, if you, too, are depressed by junk weather (it's snaining here today), and you don't already know who The Snuggler is, go check it out. I'd embed the video, but everything I try keeps on not working (I know, I'm a blogger extraordinaire). So now I have to go watch it on a different page, because the weather and Adult Swim are out to get me.

Also, if it happens to be nice and spring fresh where you are, please shutupaboutit already.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


If I was feeling whiny about my stupid heel injury, I got a dose yesterday of how much worse it could be.

A girlfriend of mine came over to show off her favorite new toy:

(That is not my friend. She is actually quite attractive, and has a very full head of hair.)

She has the knee scooter (name brand: Kneal. You know, get on your knee while you heal? Get it?) because she just had surgery to fix a broken metatarsal in her foot. She broke the foot by dropping an anvil on it. Yeah. An anvil.

(don't worry, she's aware of the hilarity of the situation)

You know who else gets anvils dropped on him?

This guy.

But honestly, watching her scoot merrily on the hardwood floors of my living room the other night I was impressed. "Check out the action on this thing!" she said, flipping a gear and letting the back end of the scooter spin. "The brakes are better than my bike. And it has a basket!" she said, loading up the salad dressings from the fridge to carry into the dining room. In her eyes, the scooter was a modern marvel in comparison to the bane of crutches.

And this is someone who has a lot of reason to complain. She recently got accepted into nursing school and was just embarking upon a hectic six weeks in which she'd try to power through 10 weeks of classes (while also packing up her belongings) in order to hop states in time for the beginning of her first term -- for which she hopes to begin in a walking cast and cane. And these are not easy classes, the kind I favored in college. (Sociology, anyone?) There's, like, sciencey stuff. Chemicals? Anatomestry? Something like that. She told me, but I wasn't listening because I was too busy complaining about how hard my life is with my sore heel, my tight hamstring and my annoying little dog.

I think I need to take a lesson from this one.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Lordy it's been a shitter of a week. Especially considering that I'm about to work my 12th day in a row, so that shitter week? Extra long.

Tuesday morning, a friend and I decided to try doing a wee jog/walk together. We decided to meet at 6 a.m., which she was nervous about. She asked me to text her at 5:30.

"Good morning! I'm about to go watch the beautiful sunrise!"

A couple of minutes later, as I was putting the I'm a Mean Mommy Pinchey Collar on Margaux, I got a text reply.

"Dude. You are not allowed to be perky."


But we did it, and the sun rose by the river as we trotted and chatted and our dogs sniffed beside us. It felt wonderful, but within two hours my heel, the one with the dreaded plantar fasciitis, was hurting badly enough I knew it was too much, too soon. Eff.

But my gym membership is about up, and I'm too broke to buy a new one. I have only one option.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

As long as I don't have to be the pole

Some co-workers and I talked awhile ago about doing the Pole, Pedal Paddle this year. It's an annual event that I avoided even spectating the first four years I lived in this town. Last year, though, I ran support for my pal SGL, who did the whole thing by HERSELF.

In case you don't know how crazy that is, let me outline the event:

First, you go to Mount Bachelor and ride a chairlift up to the top, put your skis or board in place then walk down hill 200 feet. Why do you walk downhill 200 feet? Why, so you can run uphill in ski boots, of course! It's even more fun than running in soft sand.

Then you ski down to where a friend (like me!) is waiting to exchange your board for your cross country skis. After a quick change, you slog through five miles of melty mashed potatoes and gravy spring snow until you meet up again with your pal to trade skis for bike.

Next, you bike 22 miles. Now, in fairness, most of the bike is downhill, since you're coming into town from a mountain, but those uphill stretches are a real bitch.

Still standing? Good, it's time to run five miles through town.

The boat portion involves paddling "upstream from a put-in point for 1/2 mile on the Deschutes River" then "back downstream for 3/4 mile, then back upstream for 1/4 mile." Yeah, up, down, up.

Oh, and then you have to run again. This time, it's even supposed to be a "sprint."

So, SGL may be a little crazy. I definitely can't do the whole thing. In addition to my serious lack of physical fitness, I also can't downhill ski. But I can ride a bike (though I don't think I can use my single speed '68 Sears Spider for this race. A damn shame, because my sparkly purple banana seat would probably really help my performance), and maybe by the end of May, I can run five miles? I mean, I still can't run, the heel's still effed, but maybe by then I'll be in ship shape again?

The real question though is costumes. Some teams dress up in leis, or with bridal veils. I saw a pretty sick cops and jailbirds team last year (the cops had thick handlebar moustaches and wore hotpants, natch). What should we out of shape cubicle jockeys do?

Google, from whence I stole this picture, seems to think this woman's name is Karen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Signs that I should not get up at 5:30 a.m. to work out

I actually dragged myself out of bed this morning to go to the gym, thanks, in part, to a phone call from the Sadie. As back-up, I also had my own alarm set to go off. I warmed up my car (it's STILL snowing here) got dressed, grabbed my iPod and an Aleve and went to the kitchen to grab some water. Right in front of the sink, I took a step and my gym shoe went flying out in front of me and I nearly fell against the counter and broke my neck (Saying I nearly "broke my neck" and admitting that I start out the day with Aleve makes me feel super old. Maybe I should change that to "I nearly broke my hip."). I caught myself and looked down to see what I'd slipped on. It was a giant dog turd.

Oh, and best part? We're out of paper towels.

Thing is, I alked through the kitchen on the way to bed last night. No turd. The dogs came with us and lay (Lie? Laid? Unno.) down on their own beds. I went to brush my teeth and shut the door after me. In the morning, all three dogs were on their beds.

Turd fairy?

Eventually I pieced it together. I got up to pee at about 2:30, at which point Rio must have scurried out, quickly shat on the kitchen floor, then scurried back into the bedroom, unheard. He was the only dog who woke up in a different spot than he started. And he totally looked guilty this morning.

Like this:

I've decided to rename him Turd Fairy.

Also, between this morning's workout, yesterday's power yoga class (Which was wicked hard, by the way. I know yoga, even power yoga, doesn't probably sound hard, but side plank is basically an ancient Sanskrit torture pose. Wait, Sanskrit's a language, not a culture, right? Hm. Not sure on that one. Point is, side plank sucks.) and Sunday's cross country ski, I'm real real sore today. And for no good reason, most of the pain's located in my left buttcheek. I have no idea why, but if anyone would like to offer free massage services, let me know.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The first 10

The first time I ran 10 miles, I cried.

I'd started running after I left a 5-year relationship. I was living with a good friend temporarily, and she ran, had in fact started running to treat her depression. So we'd get up in the mornings and go for runs, and spend the whole time talking and processing and working through all of the psychological garbage I'd collected over five years with a guy who I loved desperately despite the fact that he was a ... well ... let's just say few people in my life are wondering why I left.

After awhile, another runner friend suggested I do a half marathon, 13.1 miles. I decided to go for it. I printed a training schedule off the internet and got to work. By this point, I had gotten into another relationship and fallen in love again. He was tall and skinny and funny, a former bike messenger and road bike racer. Sometimes he'd drink a Pabst before we ran, but then we'd head out together, and he was a slow loper of a runner, so I could keep up with him. We'd take my little dog out and run by the river and talk. He called me Sporty Spice.

But then he dumped me.

So I started running alone. Just me and my little dog. And it was good for her, and I felt good, and lost a little weight and even more inches despite my regular diet of carbs, cake, cheese and beer. I'd do several short runs a week then one increasingly long run on the weekend. I'd tried to get to 10 miles a couple of times, but kept getting held back by little injuries. My hamstring would bother me, or I'd uknowingly pick a route with bodacious hills that I simply could not run up. I knew all I had to do in my training was get over that ten mile mark. As someone told me, "If you can run 10 miles, you can run 13."

As I was coming to the end of the trail, my breath started catching in my throat. At first, I thought something was wrong with me, that my lungs were seizing. Then I realized it was just the pride catching in my lungs. I didn't know until my eyes started to sting with tears how glad I was that there wasn't a man with me. The rest of the day my body buzzed warmly, and I couldn't stop grinning. And I finished the half marathon. I ran the whole way -- I mean, other than when I was drinking gatorade or peeing. I understand that some people soil themselves in marathons in order to get good time, but that ain't me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not working

So, Sadie has decided Roller Derby is cooler than waking up at 5:30 a.m. to call me and wake me up and force me to go to the gym.


If I look fat in any of the pictures from the wedding I'm in this summer, I'm blaming her, her whole team, and Drew Barrymore.

But, still. Now I get to say my bestie is a radhot roller derby mama, and there's something to be said for that.

So, a little help? The best thing about roller derby bitches is their names. What should she be? And you should know (though you don't have to use these facts in the name, they may spark your lil imagination): She is, in fact, a mama. She is also hot. She also has long red hair. Idears?

In case you're wondering, it's gonna be just like this, but with more fishnet:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Because I know the internets were dying to know

My alarm went of at 5:30 a.m. today. I turned it off and rolled over. Two seconds later, my phone rang.

"Wake up, hey come on wake up," she was singing.
"Go, git!"
"I hate you."
"I hate you, too."
"OK, bye."

Then I got out of bed and went to the gym. Because my best friend is rad, and because if someone is willing to wake up at 5:30 and dial your number to try to make you do something that's going to make you feel better, you should probably do it. Also, my best friend wouldn't let me live it down if I lied to her.

Also, I only have like one pair of pants that fits anymore.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Based on a true story

Tonight at a birthday dinner for my Tiny Running Pal, she confessed she's trying to turn another girlfriend to the dark side.

"So, I went for a walk with Ms. P the other day," TRP said, eying Ms. P across the table. "I've decided she needs to start running."

I took a bite of falafel (This is an important detail. The falafel was good.)

"Why?" I asked.

"Good question," TRP said, while Ms. P shook her head.

It all came down to a matter of pants size.

"Oh, if that's your concern, then do it," I said. "Sorry, I'm on her side. Run."

"OK," Ms. P admitted. "I'll admit, I'm intrigued by the idea."

"How long have you tried running before, did you get up to two to three times a week for a couple of months?" I asked.

She shook her head. No, she'd only lasted a couple of weeks.

"Then you don't know," I said. "Look, if I can run, and get to the point I enjoy it, you can run."

I spared her the details, about how profoundly lazy I was as a kid. How I'd fall asleep in my dinner. How I'd been on a swim team at one point, and though I'd shown some proclivity, I simply hadn't a competitive bone in my body. I'd finish a race, and my dad would be standing there, shaking his head.

"You were in first until the last few yards. You were winning," he said.

I'd shrug. Third was good, too. What was the big deal? Also, was snack time coming? And were we going to make it home in time for "Charles In Charge"?

In the car on the way home from dinner, Ms. P admitted it may be time. She may be willing to hit the trail. But, she was clear on one point: Complaining is something she enjoys. She simply refuses to give it up. And although I'm lazy, I'm not much of a complainer. Still, I want to join TRP and Ms. P on the trail.

I've decided the physical therapists have three weeks to get my heel in shape, or I'm searching out an injection. I need to join them. I can't let Ms. P and TRP run without me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marian the librarian

I went to Portland this weekend, and before the baby shower I attended Saturday afternoon (it was, perhaps, the girliest weekend ever: baby shower, wedding planning, and ice skating), I decided to take a yoga class to kill some time. I poked around on line until I found a class at the time I was looking for.

When I unrolled my mat, I had no idea I'd just stepped into the worst yoga class ever. No, really. The worst. I'm not exaggerating even a little tiny wee bit. No hyperbole here. It was the worst. You know how I know it was the worst yoga class ever? We spent about 10 minutes on mountain pose.

Let me repeat. We spent about 10 minutes talking about and practicing for mountain pose. If you've never done yoga, let me explain what mountain pose is: You stand there. Both feet on the ground. Both arms at your sides. That's it. It looks like this:

(I made that drawing myself, in Word. Because apparently my macbook pro didn't come with a drawing program. What up with dat, Apple?)

See, I've taken beginner yoga classes before. At the Bikram studio (which I do not recommend, though that's a separate rant) and at the local park and rec yoga studio. You tell them you're new, and they tell you to watch what everyone else is doing, then they get going. But this? This was a real beginner's class.

But it wasn't just the slow pace (I counted 6 poses in 90 minutes) that made the class so maddening. It was the instructor. Marian. "Marian the librarian," as I heard her say to two of the people in class.

"Oh, are you a librarian?" One woman asked.

"No," Marian answered, giving her throaty, Erkelish "he he" laugh, "No, I'm a fiction writer."

I think it's appropriate that Marian writes fiction, actually, because I swear the woman stepped out of a Woody Allen movie. She had thick black glasses, shoulder-length, wiry hair, and she pulled her red workout tights up nearly to her bra strap. The tights gave us all a good view of the outlines of her, um, support garments. Not that Marian had a belly, she was fit, but it was kind of hard to tell with her T-shirt was stuffed into the top of the tights.

In the first five minutes of class, while Marian was explaining the intricacies of toe-heel placement, a woman squatted down.

"Are you OK? He he. Does your back hurt?" Marian asked.

"Oh, no, it's just, menstrual cramps," the woman said in a stage whisper.

After that, every five minutes, Marian would leave us all standing around waiting while she demonstrated a new menstrual-positive pose for the woman in the corner.

But the laugh. The laugh will haunt my dreams. Every "he" sounded like she was about to choke, and her shoulders would hitch up as she bared her tiny teeth.

"Okay, so, take a strap, and pull it like this. He he. And, oh, oh my. That's not long enough. I guess, he he, I guess, yeah, maybe get an extra strap, he he. And, yeah, connect the two straps, he he."

Because I was a drop-in, I paid $16 for the class. $16! Do you know what I could buy for $16? Five bottles of Three Buck Chuck. Five! That's a lot of bottom-shelf red wine. Plus I'd have a dollar left over to give to the homeless lady down the street.

I'm sure there's a lesson in this experience somewhere.

Then this occurred to me: What if I discover a short story some day written by Marian, in which she criticizes my mountain pose?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


My physical therapist dumped me.

"I'm really starting to see the frustration you feel with your body," she said, shaking her head. "Cause I'm starting to feel it, too."

This after three months of physical therapy for the plantar fasciitis, the bum hamstring (and the bum neck, though I never expected she could fix that) that has only resulted in putting out my lower back, too.

So she sent me to another therapist. A tiny, older woman who likes to yank my ankles over her head and apply tape and ultrasound to parts of my body, all the while chattering about my pelvis. Apparently, it's all because of my pelvis.

So I'm agreeing to another couple of months with the new therapist. I'm also taking the advice of and on my new doctor, a charming hippie M.D., (she sometimes gives homeopathic remedies, in addition to her prescriptions.), and I'm trying a new diet that's supposed to be anti-inflammatory.

The diet consists of lean meat, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables. No sugar. No dairy. No caffeine. No butter. No wheat.

I'm only on day four. Generally, in a day, I'm eating a bowl of oats (agave instead of sugar), fish, a salad, a couple of apples, some brown rice, and heaps of veggies. It's not much fun. Especially since I have to cut out other potential allergens, like eggs and everything in the nightshade family (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes). Try making a decent brown rice pasta sauce without butter or tomatoes. I dare ya.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


So this has nothing to do with running or dogs, but, everyone in the world simply must go and read this profile of Roger Ebert at It's Uh-May-Zing.

I mean, just the photo's enough to get you hooked. Everyone in my office was glued to their computers reading this story this morning -- even the boss.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I went to the gym this morning, really just a ploy so I won't feel quite as guilty as I shovel fried wings, mozzarella and perhaps even ice cream into my cake hole at the What-Else-Can-We-Possibly-Batter-And-Deep-Fry Party that I'm going to this afternoon. Really. R bought a burner that hooks up to a large propane tank for the purposes of beer brewing (his new obsession -- I mean, hobby), and it came with a cast iron pot, fryer and thermometer. The first two days he had it, I gained five pounds.

Oh, there will also be some football game on.

So as I walked up to the gym, iPod loaded with This American Life podcasts and Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast" under my arm, I noticed how packed the parking lot was. Apparently I wasn't the only one planning to overindulge.

Ahead of me, a 60s-ish woman in a sporty jacket with a short-cropped, dyed orange hair was walking out of the gym.

"Getting in better shape!" She chirped at me approvingly. "It's a good thing!"

Um, what? Was it that obvious that I haven't been a regular at the gym? Do people really look at the people walking into the gym in running pants that appear to be a little tighter than they need to be, and say, "Good for you, fattie!"

Of course, thinking on it now, I realize she could have been referring to herself, not me.

Whatever. As long as I earn those wings and beer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mile four

The other night over dinner (slates of baguette and garlicky olive tapenade followed by eggplanty ratatouille and herbed couscous alongside, safely more glasses of red wine than I should have drunk on a Tuesday) with a couple of friends, we got to talking about working out.

One friend likes swimming, but she’s as blind as I am (batlike, but without the hearing) and has a tendency to run into folks we know at the local community pool. Unable to make an identification, she’s then forced to get into their faces to know who they are. Me, if I’m in a bathing suit, I’d rather keep my distance. Really. I vote pretend you know who it is, wave, move along.

We also talked about running. And I got nearly misty-eyed when talking about how much I love mile four. By mile four, I'm warmed up, my lungs are no longer on fire, and I feel like my legs are really under me. It was always my favorite mile--well, it was my favorite mile once I was in shape enough to run four miles without throwing up on the side of the trail.

I walked home from the friend’s house (I knew there would be too much wine going in to the event, and planned accordingly) and was so excited thinking about running, I let out a little trot at one point. But when I got out of bed the next morning, my heel, stupid, stupid heel, ached. The friend's house is only five blocks from mine.

I iced this morning. Stretching. Orthopedic boot. I'll get there. I'll get back to mile four again.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Oh, orthopedic boot. I want to write a sonnet for you. If only I remembered how to write sonnets. Maybe Google can assist me … I think iambic pentameter is involved.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Today was a lovely day, sun-shiny bluebird winter kind of a day. After a wicked yoga session (I sweat a grim face into my tank top, a damp: -_- under the sports bra. Not sure what could be more attractive) we loaded up the three dogs and headed out to R's work's base camp.

It's a lovely plot of acreage out in the country. You drive past llama farms, a few ranches with horses standing around looking bored, and all the while the Cascades on the horizon show off for you, until you hit gravel. There, R opened up the back door to the car and let the three beasts scurry out. Then we hit the gas while they ran behind us, old Kaya at a slow trot until she was a quarter mile behind us, Rio jack-rabbiting up the middle and Margaux at a full-on sprint beside the driver's window. I did not know a head that big could move that fast, but we got that dog up to 30 MPH. I kid you not.

After some ball throwing on the lawn, we headed down to the river and chucked the ball into the water for awhile, until their poor little hieneys were clenched and their back legs shivered so hard they refused to jump into the water anymore. On the way back out on the gravel (with Mama safely tuckered in the back seat), Margaux only got up to 26. When we finally let her in the car, I told her how disappointed we were with her. Only 26 miles per hour? Weak. In this family, we're winners.

So, that's her base. Next, we figure out mine.