Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve Reflections in E-Loville

This is the quiet time of year, before our guests arrive and the party starts, where I think about the year that has passed and reflect on life, and look forward to the year ahead. I have many resolutions, and I'm definitely looking forward to 2009. Not that 2008 has been a bad year by any means, but it hasn't been the greatest for me, personally. The upcoming year is going to focus a lot on me, personally and professionally. I know it seems like I focus on me a lot, but this is my blog. It's about me. In real life, my work and being a mom takes most of my time, and I've let my own needs slip a bit.

Resolution 1: Become more stylish.
This is really easier said than done. Since I started my job 2 years ago, I've really started to slack on what I wear every day. I used to have a specific style, and be kind of cute in how I dressed. But now, since my work environment is so casual, I've taken to wearing jeans and hoodies every day. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just feel the need to get a little of my groove back.

Resolution 2: Take better care of myself.
There's a lot behind this resolution. Everyone knows my weight struggle since become a mom and a full time computer sitter. Everyone also knows my struggle with my self image. I'm going to work on that. A lot. Of course this year might find me with Fuzzball number 2 in my uterus, so we'll see how that goes. But a big part of this is eating healthier. Not dieting, per se, but I need to start cooking more. I WANT to start cooking more. I'm sick of the same old shit we eat every day. I may become a culinary genius like my brother.

This resolution also contains me getting my eyes fixed. I have a doctor's appointment on January 9 to see about getting lasik surgery. Which means 2 months of wearing glasses full time, since I've worn gas permeable contacts for 20 years. My eyes are the suck. But hopefully I'll get some cute frames and go from there. I have $1500 set aside for this.

Resolution 3: No spending $$ on stupid shit.
I get a lot of slack from my husband for this, so I'm going to taper down my spending.

Resolution 4: Get organized.
Our house is usually pile after pile of crap. When there's nowhere to put more crap, the piles become bigger. We got a jumpstart on this already by taking a huge load over to Goodwill yesterday, and we're going to write that off on our taxes. Not only did we lighten our load quite a bit, but we also cleaned out some much needed space. This also includes getting our house into some order. Redecorating is in my future.

And I think that's really it. Resolution-wise. I have lots of things I'm looking forward to this upcoming year, like maybe trying to get pregnant (yes, actually trying instead of just accidentally doing it!), traveling a bit (hopefully we'll get to go see Greg and Starr soon - who I miss a lot right now, because they're in New York and they're usually at my house for New Years. *sniff*), and who knows what else?

It's strange how when the holiday season ends, the first day of the new year kind of feels cold and empty, doesn't it? Or is it just me? Maybe it has something to do with the weather, or the fact that you might have a bit of a hangover, or just that you have nothing much to look forward to (except all the life changing resolutions that will last about a week). But tonight - tonight is the one night of the year when I know I'll ship my kiddo off to my mama's and be able to live it up. Tonight is about friends and being together. And who cares what tomorrow brings... whether it's good or bad, tonight I get to just be me. Erica. Not mom, not graphic designer, not instructor - just goofy me.

And that feels good. But just for tonight.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Magic

Oh... hi. A lot has been going on around these parts, and needless to say, I've been very busy. Finishing up classes and turning in final grades - getting projects done at work, not to mention the endless cleaning up after a small tornado that rips through my house every waking moment of the day. A very very CUTE tornado, at least.


Christmas this year was probably the best one ever. We stayed at home, and it was fantastic. Lyric was able to relax and play with all of her new stuff, and trust me, there was a LOT OF NEW STUFF. A LOT. If my house is this wrecked with just one kid, I can't imagine what two might do to me. I might just have to give up and get a bigger house. With more area for stuff to be wrecked. And of course, more for me to clean.

We made the decision last year to stay home for this Christmas. Typically we get up, speed through the presents, then get cleaned up and out the door to Ryan's family. Then we eat, speed through more presents, then it's off to my family. Last year SUCKED because it all just felt so rushed - I didn't feel like Lyric was getting the true holiday experience. I remember being able to sit by the tree and play with my toys all day (on occasional years we would go to other family), and it was so nice. This year, my mom and dad at least were in agreement, and they came over to enjoy the day with us.



Definitely the best Christmas yet. By the end of the day, we were all so tired, Ryan and I were relaxing in the living room, when Lyric disappeared for a few minutes. Ryan went to look for her and found her in the spare bedroom, on the floor, with a blanket pulled over her. She was OUT. She slept all night.

Soon I'll be writing about my New Years Resolutions, and they probably aren't what you think they are. More on that in a couple days. Til then, finish off those Christmas cookies before your diet starts. I know I will.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I *heart* TBTL - RAWR!

Ok, so if you haven't heard of Too Beautiful to Live yet - which is a radio show hosted by Luke Burbank and produced by Jen Andrews out of Seattle - what the EFF? Are you living in a cave? They were on the front page of iTunes a couple weeks ago. Anyway, you should really check it out. I've been through a lot of shows on the podcast wagon and THIS IS THE ONE.

I implore you - check them out. They have listeners from all over the world, so it's not just isolated to the northwest - and I begged Jen last night to make me Ten of the Day (the listeners are called "tens") - and today, she put me up!

THAT just made my day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Redesign

Yeah, you may have noticed I overhauled my blog today - I love the feeling of a fresh design - it's like my house, every once in a while I have to rearrange the furniture and it makes me feel so good. I want to spend more time in the room that I spent time putting together, and the same is true of this here little blog (insert Western PA accent there).

You also may notice that my blogroll is empty. That's because I accidentally deleted it a while ago, and never updated it. So, if you want IN - let me know, and I'll link you. I have a few peeps that I'll definitely link without them asking, but if I inadvertently overlook you, let me know.

So, what do you think of the design?

In the Spirit

I was driving home yesterday afternoon from a little Sunday shopping trip with Lyric, and when I went to turn in to our road, I saw this in front of my house.

Oh, it's on

Cute, no? Funny, no? Yeah, our next door neighbors must have spent their Saturday night putting THAT together. They're pranksters... we actually have an ongoing war in which we leave something ridiculous on each others porch, knock, then run away. So this was left on Saturday night.

So I made this:

The Revenge

I printed it on Tyvek today at work, and it's roughly 60X30, so it's nice and big. We're going to string it up on their porch tonight.

hehehehe. REVENGE.

Friday, December 05, 2008

This was just published in one of the company newsletters that I design.

Monday, December 01, 2008

All things considered...

What I like most about having kept a blog for the past 5 years is that I can go back and look at times in my life when things were rough and realize, wow, I've really come a long way. Back in 2003, when I was poor and working at Target and living in a trailer, who would have guessed that I would have become so successful? All I wanted then was a job that I love, and thankfully, I've found that. My job is spectacularly awesome, and I'm thankful for it. So late Thanksgiving thoughts there for you to consider.

I just went back in time 3 years to the month of November, 2005. You remember - when I was painfully, itchily (yeah, I just made that word up), pregnant. I'm so happy that I remembered as much as I did about Lyric's delivery, and those last, horrible days of being insufferably swollen with her in my womb. I can barely believe that I'm actually considering doing this to myself again, because MAN I HATED BEING PREGNANT. And did I mention how fat it made me? Ah, yes, but look at what all I've gained (other than this big ass)... my lovely, beautiful, intelligent, and hilariously funny daughter. She's a riot, and the love of my life. She charms me daily, and I'm consistently amazed at how smart she is. The other day she looked at me and said, "Mom, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And I asked, "I don't know - what are you thinking?" and she said, "I think we should have some ice cream."


Now if I could just get her potty trained - life would be fantastic. A year of a break between changing diapers would be great!

Remember how I said that traveling for work is for the birds? Ok, well I didn't put it exactly like that - I just said I had a really hard time last time leaving my girl for a week. Well, I found out this morning that I have to go to Florida in February - over Valentines Day weekend, from the 11th to the 15th. But on the bright side - it's Florida in FEBRUARY. Have I mentioned that I live in Western PA and that it's snowing right now as I type this? And it will probably STILL be snowing in February? Yeah. So... hmm. It's all good, I suppose. Good thing I like my job.

Last night I was telling Lyric that I was a graphic designer - and she said, "Mom, you should stop being a graphic designer and be a ROCK STAR!!!"


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

30 Days of Shredding

Ok, so you know by now I have issues with my weight. I can't stick with a diet, I'm lazy and unmotivated, and I have terrible self esteem. I lost 30 pounds after having Lyric by following Weight Watchers and doing the only Winsor Pilates aerobic workout out there, which was 60 minutes in length. I was unemployed then, so I had a lot of time. I was also breastfeeding, which I think helped. Since I weaned Lyric a year and half ago I've gained back 15 pounds.

I'm now doing this Biggest Loser competetion at work, and so far after 3 weeks, I've only lost 3 pounds (and I think I gained it back after Lyric's birthday party on Saturday). I figure the only way I'm going to lose is by doing cardio/strength training, with maybe some pilates in there for my abs.

Can I tell you how much I HATE cardio? I hate jumping around, being soaked in sweat (because I sweat more than the average woman), and I hate taking time out of my day to do it. But I made up my mind that I HAVE to. Because this weight isn't coming off by dieting.

So on Sunday, I opened up my latest Netflix, which was Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I don't know what even convinced me to put this at the top of my queue, since it's not anything that I would have ever chosen normally. But I tried it Sunday morning and was pretty amazed. It's only 20 minutes or so, and she combines weights, cardio, and ab work with 3 levels of intensity. I did level 1, being in the poorest shape of my life, and literally thought I might DIE. I was sweaty and shaking and OH MY GOD did my legs hurt on Monday. Needless to say, since I found it difficult to walk on Monday, I took the day off, but I resumed last night.

Here's the wierd thing - I know I've only done it twice, but I actually feel... how should I put this? More solid? I haven't weighed myself, and I highly doubt that I've lost any weight, but I can feel the muscles that I forgot I had - getting stronger. My stomach feels flatter. It's so weird.

So I'm going to keep at it for 30 Days - I've only read glowing review of this and how people got so in shape and went from a size 8 to a 4 in 10 weeks, etc. I figure if they can do it, why the hell can't I?

My husband told me the other day that I'm bordering on obsessive compulsive when it comes to my weight, and it's disturbing. Since I already have some OCD tendancies it's probably true. But I just want to feel better. I can't stand feeling like I do - and I'm the only one who is going to do anything about it. I think if I document it here, it will help. So watch for my updates.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Team Edward

I fall under this category:

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will. Geek? Yessss.

Lyric turned three on Saturday. We had a little birthday party, which was fun and tiring. She had a blast and was out by 7:30. So were Ryan and I.

She's so funny - her new thing is to ask me if I "know about" certain things. She got a Barbie Rock Star dress up outfit from Bill and Michelle, and she was dancing around last night singing, "I'm a rock star! I'm a rock star!" then she looks at me and says, "Mom, do you know about rock stars?" to which I replied, "yes, sweetie, I'm married to your daddy."

Inquisitive little thing.

Oh, and I went to my first Steelers game last Thursday. It was cold. Thankfully, they won.

Frozen solid

It was fun with a capital F which also stands for FREEZING. But mostly fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Let's hear it for the moms!

I just read the news on Dooce, and I'm so excited for Heather and Jon and big sis to be Leta!

Dude, I have the baby fever. BAD. Everyone I see is having babies. I just played with my friend Janae's little boy last night, and I want one of those! Eeeek.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home sweet home

Last week, I spent five days working in San Diego. It was my first trip ever to the West Coast, and I’m excited to say I’ve finally gotten to that part of the country. Although I’m not fluent enough in Spanish to have felt at home, being so close to the Mexican border. I really need to brush up on those skills – although I can ask for a lemonade and pronounce the President-Elect’s campaign slogan in Spanish pretty well.

As much as I love visiting cities, I never feel fully comfortable. Number one could be because I’ve lived a very sheltered life. Not as sheltered as most people from Western PA, but I haven’t been to that many places. I’m certainly very open minded, and I’ll travel just about anywhere that my company wants me to go. Unfortunately they’re usually asking me to go to Washington DC (which is fine, I love DC) or Williamsburg (great town for history!). So when I get to go to CALIFORNIA I’m pretty excited.

But as we walked through the gaslamp district, which is wonderful, I still missed the cracked sidewalks of Grove City and the wind that blows up the hill in East Butler directly at my 60 year old house (which is great in winter!). As I scooted around the bums sitting on the sidewalks begging for change, I missed dodging the skunks that frequent my backyard. Most of all, I kept feeling like part of me was missing, and I realized that part of me was my child, who was back at home.

For some reason this trip was hard for me – I missed Lyric a ton. I even broke down in tears before I left her – I kept telling myself to suck it up, that I’ve done this before and it wasn’t that big of a deal. I think now that she’s a little older and we have daily conversations that actually make sense, being away from her was so much harder. And the fact of the matter was, she doesn’t talk on the phone. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to have a phone conversation, so as much as I wanted to talk to her, she wouldn’t do it.

Getting off the plane at Pittsburgh International last Wednesday was a wonderful relief – I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me when I called Ryan to tell him I’d be home in about an hour. When I arrived home, Red was the first one I saw, and if you think that a dog doesn’t feel emotions, I’ll show you what Red was like when I walked through the door. I’ve never seen him happier. That was a homecoming in itself, along with Boots nonchalantly rubbing on my ankles then scurrying away.

I tiptoed up the stairs to the bedroom to find Lyric and Ryan already in bed for the night, but Lyric popped her head up when I came in the room and yelled, “Mommy! You’re home! I missed you, Mom!” and proceeded to give me lots of hugs and kisses. I can’t even describe the feeling of wholeness in that moment – to finally be back where I belonged, in my old house on the hill in East Butler, surrounded by the people I love more than anything.

Family is good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted

And I have the sticker on my shirt to prove it.

I was at my polling place with Lyric in tow at 6:58, and I was the 10th person in line. Lyric was very excited about voting with mommy - I kept telling her all weekend we were going to go vote for Obama. And it's very cute when she says "Obama."

If you haven't already, GO VOTE!

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

I hope so... I just found out my boss will go work for McCain if he's elected... I like my boss - I don't want him to leave!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

6 years of wedded bliss...

Today is me and Ryan's anniversary. And I know that's bad grammar, but I don't care.

Me and Buddy

Married life is good. It's not always easy, but it's nice coming home to a family. Ryan is my best buddy, and he supports me and loves me no matter what, and that's what it's all about. It's hard to believe that the best outcome of our marriage so far is going to be 3 in less than a month! I have to give props to my buddy for making me a mom - it has made my life worth so much more. As a mom, I feel like I really have a purpose that goes above and beyond anything else in life, and that's just plain cool.

So happy anniversary buddy!

And on a side note, we celebrated by buying new living room furniture - it's the first furniture we've ever bought. We've gotten pretty much every piece of furniture that we own for free (aside from our entertainment stand, which houses our wonderful television), so it felt good buying something new. Now to figure out how to keep Red off of it...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Self Esteem

So the other day, Ryan told me I have self esteem issues. Which, hello? Like I didn't know that! But it's different hearing someone tell you that. Especially your husband. I know I tear myself down around him, but I thought he probably agreed with me. Turns out he doesn't - he thinks I'm hot no matter how big my butt is.

So, the weight loss isn't going very well. This will be week 6 of yoga, and I've signed up for another 6 weeks. My problem is finding extra time to exercise. Usually, I have a tough time getting my butt out of bed in the morning, so before work is kind of out. I love my sleep. Then when I get home life is hectic. By the time I get Lyric in bed, I'm wiped out.

Any suggestions for squeezing in exercise? Other than hooping in 10 minute installments in my kitchen, I'm not really doing much. I suck.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

If the world could vote...

Just twittered this and posted it on my facebook - but here it is again...

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Vampire Weekend was canceled. We didn't go to the parade either. Wow, am I boring or WHAT?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Almost Famous

This is my boss, sitting behind Val Kilmer in the classroom scene of Top Gun. As the head of PR for the Navy back then, he got to be an extra in a lot of Navy movies.

Yeah. Just a little cool tidbit of info.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hipster Bingo

Vampire Weekend is playing a free show outside at Carnegie Mellon on Saturday - put together by Students for Barack Obama. It's a toss up for me whether to go to that or to the Autumn Leaf Festival parade (and take Lyric). Hipster bingo or drunk college students and alumni? Or could both be present at each?

Somehow I doubt hipsters will be present in Clarion. Hmm. I'll let you know what I decide.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting kitty free

I've managed to give up three kittens within four days. It's refreshing. Literally. I can't wait to get the stench of cat out of spare bedroom and computer room... I plan on painting and ripping out carpet very soon (which is something that needed done anyway). That leaves me with the little Fuzzball, who will go live with my brother as soon as possible (which might not be for a few more weeks). I'm ok with being stuck with Fuzzball for a while. And I know I'm calling this kitty exactly the same thing that I called my fetus, and I'm ok with that. Because Lyric is anything but a Fuzzball. And where the hell did I ever get the idea to call a fetus a fuzzball anyway? But back to the Fuzzball - he's fat, and fuzzy, and CUTE, so the name suits him. He was originally Boba Fett - and I'm not sure if my brother has picked a name for him, so whatever.

But here's the dilemma, peeps... just when I thought I was getting kitty free - I picked up a stray. My friend from work had to move her dad to a nursing home, and therefore had to get rid of his cat. I was adverse to her just dropping the poor old kitty off anywhere, so I told her to bring it over. Suprisingly, my huzz was ok with that. That's why he rocks.

Thankfully, I found a nice lady online who is a big time lover of the Siamese breed, and she offered to take Ms. Nana (the kitty) off my hands. I would have, of course, loved to keep her. She was sweet once she warmed up to us, with the major exception of my kids - Lyric, Boots, and Red. She was NOT fond of any of them. And Boots hated her. I've never seen Boots puff out her tail and yowl like she did when she saw Nana. But this morning I did the kitty hand off, and now my home is a little less furry... particularly after buying the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser this weekend at Target. ROCK!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Weighing in at...

168 pounds. Whew.

So, I've been pretty weight obsessed ever since I gave birth. I've never had my weight fluctuate more since I've turned 30 - I guess that's part of the "getting older" thing. Last summer I was down around 150 - which was pretty close to my pre-preggy weight, and that's fine. Right now I'm 18 pounds above where I want to be, and it's pretty evident when I put my clothes on... they're a little snug, particularly in the waist area. Now, it's not quite as bad as it was earlier this year, when I weighed a nice 174 - you could definitely see that in my cheeks (both sets). But here's the thing - I have failed routinely to be able to stick with a diet (as evidenced by my giving up meat). I can't even gross myself out by thinking about chickens being drained of blood.

One other thing is I'm very sedentary. I drive 26 miles to work every day, so I sit in the car for a good 45 minutes, then 8 hours, then another 45 minutes. I get home, I have to check up on my classes, so that's another hour on my ass. Then it's dinner, bathe the kid, put her to bed, and usually I'll read for an hour or so, depending how late it is. So lately, I've been trying to squeeze in 20 minutes of pilates here and there, 10 minutes of hooping when I can, maybe take a walk... but usually I'm just tired. And then I find myself making excuses.

Tomorrow I'm taking a yoga/pilates class that was offered free at my job. It runs for 6 weeks, so I'm going to see how much more exercise I can squeeze in during the next 6 weeks. Think I can lose 18 pounds in that amount of time? I'm at least going to try, and I'll post my updates here.

Go me!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

On meat and the dark side

So... I fell off the no-meat wagon. If you follow me on twitter you probably already saw this. A couple reasons behind reverting back to my omnivorous diet - I was driving to Washington DC last week for work when I suddenly had an intense craving for chicken fajitas from Sheetz. I mean, I could taste them in my mouth and everything. Before you jump to conclusions, no, I'm not pregnant - I have too many little mouths to feed right now to consider it - but it was weird. And it made me really wonder - can I do this forever and ever amen? Well, it turns out I couldn't. A colleague at work took my boss and I out to dinner one night in DC at this fantastic restaurant called Nage. It was amazing - he's friends with the owner so we got the best treatment ever, which included many many goodies - some sort of salmon conncotion with caviar on top - and yes, I ate it. Caviar and all. They didn't really have much on the menu that was veggie-friendly, so I said eff it and ordered slow cooked salmon and chilled yellow tomato whip - it was all so beautiful and tasted every bit as good as it looked. If you're ever in Washington or Rehoboth Beach (the other location), definitely check it out. It made me want to become a total food snob. If only I knew the difference between shallots and scallops.

Not to mention the headaches I've had for the past two weeks. I've got to admit, as a vegetarian, I started off great, but it went downhill from there. I was living on bean burritos and cheese pizza for a while, which isn't exactly health food. I'd wake up in the morning with a splitting headache, like I drank too much (but I never drink anymore, I've learned my lesson there - unless it's mojitos, then it's a free for all), and it would dull down but stay with me pretty much all day.

I haven't had a headache since I went back to the dark side. Coincidence? Hmm.

Plus, grocery shopping with Mr. Cranky Pants was a pain in the tuckus. There was a week where I bought all my salad and things for lunch, and he bought a pack of steaks and a bag of potatoes. That's what he ate. ALL WEEK. Dinner was always a sucky time of day.

So, for my health and my relationship, I've decided just to eat a more balanced diet. I definitley can't exist on carbohydrates alone. Not to mention I've actually gained weight back in the past 3 weeks. I'm part Italian, and I love pasta. I've always hated having meat in my pasta, so it worked out good for a while. Plus, as part of my Catholic upbringing, I was intensely guilty, putting meat back in my gullet. But again, like a deeply rooted former Catholic - the sin feels so good. Heh.

Ryan and I have agreed to only shop for meat from local farms, which means no more buying steaks at Walmart. As I put my first bite of steak into my mouth on Monday evening, I wondered if the cow was still alive even after they cut it's throat. Good times!

Monday, August 18, 2008


meows!, originally uploaded by Elosquirrel.

The babies are getting big!

Monday, August 11, 2008

In the hoop

I've written time and time again about my obsessive personality, and how when I become interested in something (or someone - seriously, I can be a stalker) it consumes me. Case in point - hooping. For weeks now I've researched everything possible on the art of hoopdance, I've watched countless videos on YouTube on how to execute certain tricks, and I've practiced when I've had time. It's a great workout, and fun - and I wish I had more time to do it. So I've decided I've just got to make time to do it. I finally figured out how to do the lift up, and my next mission is to accomplish chest hooping. I took some video of myself Saturday, and oh my GOD is it embarrassing. I'm not sure if I'll share it yet or not, mostly because I hate watching myself, not to mention the fact that I'm 30 pounds overweight. I'm hoping daily hooping will help with that.

After practicing for a few hours on and off on Saturday, I woke up on Sunday feeling like someone beat me with a ball bat - so at least I know I was working some muscle. My arm was sore from doin gthe lift up - and my hips were a little achy. So I've got to keep it going. More hooping! Yeah!!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Kitty Faces

kitty face

and I thought it was hard with one... and she didn't have pointy teeth

I've been a little reticent to name the babies, because I know they'll be going away in a few short weeks (ok, like 7 or 8). I'm going to try to keep one of them, if I can sweet talk my darling husband into it - one of the orange boys, for sho! Two of them are going to live with my brother, and that makes only one that I'll need to find a home. I know my mom would love to have one, but my dad has developed a cat allergy in the last 10 years - even though I grew up with cats all during my childhood. I think it's malarky, to tell you the truth. But we'll see where the next 7 weeks takes us.

I've been thinking of names. I want them to be named after their mama, since she's a good little mama, even though she's still just a kitten herself at barely a year old. So I've compiled a list of "B" names.

Tell me your favorites:

  1. Babganoosh
  2. Bailey
  3. Beanblossom
  4. Barook
  5. Beeboo
  6. Bellalulu
  7. Bellsnickle
  8. Bobafett
  9. Bouhaki
  10. Brooklyn
I need four names - 2 boys, and 2 girls. Give me your vote!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Giveaway time!

Ok, so in light of giving up meat, and my quest to become a more responsible pet owner (hence, spay and neuter, people! Otherwise you end up with furry cuteness taking over a corner of your house!) here's a challenge:

Email me your favorite meatless recipe. Send them to, and I'll pick a winner at random. The winner gets this SWEET peta2 shirt:

It's a female large, so guys, hopefully you have a lovely lady friend that you can give it to.

Send me those emails!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bye bye July...

This month has flown, and I've been incredibly busy. I've taken on the task of being the official photographer for the shelter, so I take pictures of dogs and cats every Thursday for the website. Not as easy as it sounds. There's a ton of editing to be done, and lots of resizing. Ugh. Why do I do it? Because I want to. Keep repeating that mantra.

In other animal news, my cat had kittens over the weekend. It happened while I was at the Foo Fighters concert - not that I'm a big fan of the Foos, but the opening band was Year Long Disaster, and Ryan's singer happens to be the brother in law of the bass player, Rich Mullins, which is a wonderful contact to have when you're a wannabe rock star. Soon YLD will be touring with Motorhead and the Misfits, and can anyone say "OMG!" I want to go to that one. Check them out - they're awesome. And I'm not just saying that because they may be my ticket to housewifedom. Or touringwiththebandwifedom.

Anyway, I knew Boots was in labor before I left. She was lying on her back, big belly out, meowing. I stopped and rubbed her belly, I felt the kittens move, and I knew it was going to happen. Needless to say, we got home later that night and Boots appeared in the kitchen. Ryan looked at her, then looked at me, and said, "you might want to see if there are kittens somewhere, because the cat is looking awful skinny." He was right, her rotundness was gone, and she was back to skinny cat.

If you're wondering how this all happened, it's because Boots got out of the house a few times. She's a mostly inside cat, so I wasn't terribly worried about her. After she escaped a few times, I called about getting her spayed, but the vet wouldn't take payments - and we were still trying to get caught up from Ryan being laid off over the winter. And that's how we ended up with FOUR kittens.

I found them under the guest room bed, and I was surprised to see that there was no mess involved, Boots had cleaned up everything. Yesterday I moved them into a box with a hole cut out of the side so Boots can get in and out. The instinct of animals is amazing to me, she ate the placenta, snipped their umbilical cords, and was cleaning and feeding them. All of them seem healthy, and that's great. I hope they stay that way. There are three orange tabby looking ones (the triplets) and one black one with white feet and a white belly - like boots only minus the orange markings. Those might develop later. They're very cute, and Lyric of course is in heaven. She loves baby animals. It's tough to keep her away from them for too long, but I told her as long as she only looks and doesn't touch, it's ok.

Last night I was getting into bed and Lyric and Ryan were talking about how the kittens were in Boots' belly and now they're out. She turned to him and said, "Baby in Mommy's belly too? PLEASE???"

Hmm. That darn biological clock.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Still wish they had one in Butler though...

courtesy of the Butler Eagle

I don't know why this was in the Butler newspaper, since we don't even have one.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

vegetarian fast food... with a wendy's chicken ad?

Apparently google needs to get on the ball with their ads. "La, la, la... looking for vegetarian fast food... Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Made with All-White-Meat Chicken? AAAAGGGHHH!"

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


For the past year or so, I've been toying with the idea of not eating meat anymore. My problem was, with a husband who is essentially 100 percent carnivore, how the hell could I do that? He just bought a new grill and loves to use it! The idea alone of me not eating dead animal flesh anymore would probably break his heart.

I started doing a little research. Starting with the PETA website - because if you ever need a graphic picture of a factory farm animal being tortured burned into your memory, that's the place to go. I know a lot of people think PETA is nuts, and yes, they are a little on the militant side. But I'm all for treating animals humanely, hence my volunteerism, so I lean a bit more on the crazy side of things.

So I checked out PETA and that was all I needed. I can't look at a chicken nugget the same again. I can't look at a steak without thinking about how it was once alive, probably impregnated repeatedly, separated from it's babies while it cried out for them, and then shipped off to the slaughterhouse once it got too old and weak for the hormones and shit they pumped into it to have any more babies or produce any more milk. See where I'm going with this?

Essentially, I thought about doing this, not necessarily for the sake of the animals, but for the health reasons. High cholesterol runs in my family, and both my mom and my dad take incredible amounts of drugs every day (instead of changing their diets). My dad had a double bypass for christ's sake. If there was ever a reason to think about what I was stuffing in my maw, there it is. But the animals definitely convinced me.

So for almost three weeks now, I've been meat free. I've lost 8 pounds, interestingly enough. I feel better. My entire family (besides Lyric, who could give two shits about meat - she'd rather have fruit and vegetables any day) thinks I'm nuts, of course (but they're the ones taking the drugs, remember?). Ryan freaked out on my when I told him - this past Sunday. He didn't notice that I wasn't eating meat. Seriously. My mom's response was a little less negative, although crazy - "well, you can still eat chicken, right?"

I've heard from various sources that organic animals suffer even more. Because antibiotics and other medicines are not given to them when they're needed - they live with open wounds and ailments while the more conventional animals at least get some relief from modern drugs. All animals used for food suffer in some way.

Putting suffering in my belly doesn't sound nice to me. I don't drink milk, but dude - cheese. And ice cream. Not sure I can go vegan (like the 21 day cleanse that's been getting a lot of buzz lately thanks to Dooce). But I'm going to see how this goes, and so far, it's going well. Thankfully I love vegetables and fruit, so I'm not lacking on protein, and I rarely stuff bad carbs into my body, which is what my coworkers said - "If I didn't eat meat, I'd just eat carbs all the time." I tend to enjoy healthy food, so this is working out pretty good.

More later - after I figure out a good alternative recipe for my buffalo chicken wing dip. Maybe black beans would be good in place of chicken? Hmmm...

Happy 82nd - I mean 32nd birthday, Buddy. Sorry that you hate vegetarians. Reconsider filing those divorce papers, ok?

Friday, June 27, 2008

FOUR years...

That's like, a college degree, right? Well, if you're me, that's five years, but whatev. So my little blog is four years old. It reached it's height of popularity about 3 years ago, when I was ready to burst with pregnancy.

That's pretty funny. I wish I had more time to keep up with blogging, or other bloggers in general, but my life is so totally consumed by my work, motherhood, and taking care of animals that it's hard to find time to just chill and write - or think straight for that matter.

So with little fanfare, happy belated birthday Squirrel Stories.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mental Dental

So - Friday my coworkers and I went out to eat for lunch. The waitress at the restaurant that we chose was this perfect, skinny, tanned, beautiful little wisp of a college student. While my male colleagues were checking out her non-existent ass, the only thing I could focus on was her teeth. They were so white. Blindingly white. Unnaturally white. And of course, my only thought was, "why can't I have teeth like that?" Which is progress, because normally I'd be thinking, "why I can't I be that skinny?"

I've been told by so many people so many times that I have a great smile, but here's the thing - in most of my photos, I've been known to whiten my teeth. Yes, I photoshop my teeth so they're whiter. The thing I hate most about my teeth, other than their tendency to be, hmm, shall we say? beige, are the calcium deposits that I have on my two front teeth. That's it - no prominent calcium deposits anywhere else, just the teeth that people tend to notice first and foremost. There's really nothing I can do about it - it's just one of those weird things - people get odd white spots on their teeth. The fact that I drink lots of coffee and tea, and smoke nasty cigarettes probably doesn't help matters much.

So this weekend I broke down, got a Rembrandt 2 hour whitening kit, and bought myself a Sonicare toothbrush. The Rembrandt helped lighten things up a bit - not to the unnatural proportions of our waitress, but it made progress, and the toothbrush - oh Lord - that thing is a miracle in a crazy vibrating brush. My teeth have never felt so clean after brushing them. And after hours and hours of dental work, including root canals and breaking teeth on chewing gum, knowing that there is something that exists that can help me avoid more tooth catastrophes in the future is a good feeling.

I'm beginning to realize that I have some makings of OCD. How is it that I JUST NOW realized that?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"My Buddy Roo Roo"

Redley Roo Roo

That's what Lyric calls Red. Have I talked about Red lately? No? Well, shame on me. Red is the best dog EVER. I'm convinced - he was the best dog I could have picked out of the lot at the Humane Society. People constantly are asking us "why would anyone want to get rid of this dog?" Because they were INSANE. Or very sick of dog hair. Thankfully, his shedding has subsided for the season, and he looks MUCH smaller.

Last weekend we took him to camp, and we never had to put him on a leash the entire weekend. He hasn't run off, pooped in the house, peed in the house or anything remotely bad (except for getting in the garbage that one time) in weeks. He does occasionally get bored and chew on Lyric's toys or paperback books (I'm convinced he wants to learn to read, since he sees me doing it all the time), but it's rare.

I was lying in bed the other night, with Lyric by my side, Red at my feet, and Boots on my chest (of course, where else would the cat be), and I thought to myself, if there is a heaven, this would be it.


Monday, June 09, 2008

June Bug

The weather has been warm, which means summer is just around the corner. Which makes E-Lo very lazy when it comes to blogging. I thought about it though, so that must count for something. Right?

So, I spent the last week in Asheville, N.C. - home of my brother, and lots of other hippie/artsy types. Just my cup of tea - sweet, please, cause that's how they likes it down South. I'd recommend it if you've never been there - you're surrounded by mountains and there's just so much to look at. I'll soon have my photos uploaded on my flickr and you'll see what I mean.

Plus - there were lots of locusts. Or secadas. Whatever you call them - they were out in full force. The hum was deafening.

In other strange news, yesterday Ryan and I bought bikes. Strange because much like me, he is also lazy. But we are going to ride like the wind on the bike trail that will soon be near our house. Yay!

The weekend was fun - Greg and Starr came home from the big city - NYC to be exact. I can't wait to visit them. Lesson learned - Rose's Passionfruit Mojito mix is GOOOOOD.

I like friends, travel, and new things. Fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Yes - today is my birthday. My age is starting to show - whether it be the fact that the fine lines near my eyes are starting to deepen, or that my hip keeps popping out of place... my possible arthritis in my thumb... my knees and ankle and back pain...

But, with that being said, this is probably one of the best years ever. Lyric is so fun, Ryan is a great husband, my house is coming along, I have 2 great pets, a great job, a great family, and wonderful friends.

I couldn't ask for much more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My new obsession

If you know me pretty well, you'll know that it doesn't take much for me to become obsessed with certain things, places, and people. I'm an obsessive personality, and sometimes it drives me crazy. CRAZY. As if I weren't enough.

So, last Thursday I was checking out some photos on flickr from this girl I went to high school with - her husband is in Ryan's band - and there were all these awesome hula hooping pictures. I commented on one and asked here where she got her hoops. That night, I came home from work to Ryan's band having practice, and lo and behold, there was a hula hoop waiting for me that she had sent over. I was so excited. She makes them out of irrigation tubing, connectors, and fun colored tape.

I went up to the kitchen right away to try it out. I knew that it wasn't going to be as easy as she makes it look, but I tried. I failed miserably - I couldn't keep it up for more than ten seconds. But I kept trying. Finally, Saturday night I was successful. Monday I learned to hoop around my arms and neck. Yesterday my boss brought in a weighted hoop for me and I hooped at work after our 2 mile walk.

It's so fun. I just want to learn how to do more and more.

I'll post pictures soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Art Fanatic E-Lo

This photoset has some of my favorite art ever. The artist's name is Jeremiah Ketner, and he's based out of Chicago. I think we have one of those 6 degrees of seperation things - he's friends with a friend of my sister. Ok, so that's like 3 degrees. But dude - his art his ART. I love it. There's no words. I want to wall paper my house in it.

Yeah... so check it out. Dig?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Racing for the Cure... I did it...

It was a cold and miserable Mothers Day, until you saw the sea of pink in Pittsburgh. Next year, I plan on running this. Which means I should start training now, since I can't run down the block without wanting to die.

If you donated to my personal pledge, thank you so much. If you still want to, you can until the 31st. I'm the second runner up on my team in fund raising - my boss Amy (in the pink shirt above - she's a survivor) kicked everyone's ass in fund raising.

All in all, this was the highlight of my mothers day - except when Lyric woke me up from my nap on the couch by throwing playdoh at my head.

Friday, May 09, 2008

It was bound to happen sooner or later...

The Duggars are expecting a New Years baby! That puts the young Republican count up to 18. Lord help us.

Let's see... they don't have a Jacob yet, so that's my suggestion for a boy's name, and I'm still stuck on Jezebel for a girl, but they're a wee bit more conservative than me, so I'm going to have to go with Jasmin. Or maybe Jocelyn.

Oh the potential with J names is limitless! Although, apparently, you can vote for what you like best.

What I really wonder is - where do Michelle and Jim Bob find the time to actually do the deed with all of these kids? I mean, I only have one and I'm just too tired by the end of the day to even think of it. Imagine have 18.

I'd start planning world domination. But that's just me.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Kewl stuff!

My sister and her husband, who are both amazing artists in Asheville, NC, recently started up an etsy store to sell their amazing jewelry and findings. If you dig awesome, handcrafted stuff, check them out. Some of their pieces are expensive, but they are amazing. It really makes me want to go out and buy a kiln, but unfortunately, I'll never be able to afford one.

I miss being creative with my hands. I'm so used to sitting in front of a computer designing stuff that it's become second nature to me. I miss using actual tools, wire, beads, yarn... stuff like that. I wish there was more time in the day.

This weekend we visited our friends Chris and Janae, who live in the Erie area. They have a 10 month old son, so we took Lyric up. I can't remember that girl having more fun in one weekend. She literally told me, "I'm not going home. I'm staying here!" It was lots of fun - but the effects are still hitting me today - I'm exhausted. We went to the Erie Children's museum, the Millcreek Mall, Presque Isle, and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. All my photos are on Flickr - including one of the leash that I bought for Lyric. Never thought I'd leash my child - but seriously? It's the BEST. THING. EVER. Not even kidding. If you don't understand, it means you've never had a toddler that just likes to RUN in public.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I bought Heather's book. I call her Heather like we're on a first name basis, like I call her up at night all like "Heather! Loved your latest post!" This has been a good month for new books. I'm just about halfway through Jennifer Weiner's (why-ner.... like, God, she's such a whiner) newest book, "Certain Girls." I'm addicted to reading lately.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How the F*@K does THIS happen???? *UPDATE*

Oh, I'm so PISSED. So pissed. I tried to vote this morning, after sending my paperwork in to Harrisburg early last month
and now, here it is - the day. And I'm supposedly not even REGISTERED, according to the commonwealth of PA.

How did I vote in the last election, pray tell?

I should mention I've tried every form of my name possible - hypenated, not hyphenated, maiden, married... this is very frustrating. Not a happy camper. Or voter. So much for making my voice heard.

Ok, so I called the Butler County Voter Office? And they said, according to their records, I'm in the system under my full name - maiden and married, no hyphen - at my parent's address. So another polling station has my info - so if I go there, I'll be on record. But it shows my status as going from active to inactive. I asked, "how does that happen?" to which the nice lady that I spoke with said, "I don't know!"

So after work, I'll be going to Herman Fire Hall, filling out an affirmation form, voting, and then turning in a change of address form. Which doesn't make any sense to me, since last time I voted in East Butler, with no problems. It's all just very strange. And my mom is actually voting for once in her life, and she's voting for Hillary, while I'm voting for Obama - so we're cancelling each other out anyway.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's Monday...

You know how I know? Cause Mondays always suck. Case in point- my dog got blasted by a skunk this morning. Yeah - all over his right side, and a little on his face. He was so ashamed, the poor guy. The look on his face was like someone killed his best friend. Unfortunately all he wanted was for me to comfort him, which obviously I couldn't do. What I did do was tie him out and hose him off. Ryan is dousing him with tomato juice as I type this. Then hopefully he'll shampoo his right side with dish soap, and maybe toothpaste.

And my cat is in heat. She's been yowling like a nut. I haven't been a responsible pet owner and gotten her spayed yet, because my vet's office told me that it would cost a whopping $145 bucks to get it done. Holy crap. When I had my old cat, Garcia, getting him neutered and declawed only cost me $80. I'm not even getting Boots declawed, because unlike Garcie - she's not very destructive with her claws. Garcie used to scratch the living shit out of everything, including me. So today I'll be calling another vet to compare prices. Is it wrong to comparison shop when it comes to cat hysterectomies?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Five Things you might not know about me...

Back when people used to read my blog, I wrote a post about the Duggar family, and as I've moved forward in my life as a parent, I've developed more than a little bit of respect for this family - I mean, wow, the organizational skills alone are unbelievable. I'm completely unorganized and I only have one. They have, like, 27 kids or something now. Actually, it's like 16 or 17, I've lost track. Still, I'm a big believer in birth control and credit cards. That's why I'll probably never have another kid - for both of those reasons. Anyway, the Duggar kids are adorable, and so polite and well mannered... I think they're great role models for kids. So many kids these days are just horrible - mean, spoiled little brats - and my kid is probably well on her way to becoming that.

I'd much rather her be like a Duggar kid. Does that mean I have to change her name to something that starts with a J? Cause if so, I'd like it to be Jezebel.

I listen to podcasts in my car. I'm a big fan of NPR (been listening to the BPP since before Dooce posted about it... then I felt TOTALLY cool, like I was on top of things). When Lost is on (which it will be next week - YES!) I listen to all the good Lost podcasts religiously, like Jay and Jack and the Transmission... I'm more than a little obsessed with Lost, so that makes two more things that you didn't know about me.

I told Lyric the other night that when she finally does have a brother or sister, that she's going to be a much better big sister than I was. I was a terrible big sister, in my opinion. I beat up on my brother, I was a bad influence, and I blame the fact that my brother smokes on myself. I'm trying to make up for the years of being a shitty big sister. Although I did let my brother hang out with me in high school.

I'm a fucking awful procrastinator. AWFUL. When I have too much shit to do, I keep putting off the other things that have been sitting on my plate for months. It's terrible. I have a wedding video to finish, envelopes to order within the next two weeks for another friends' wedding, and I'm too damn lazy to potty train my own child. I have a house full of projects that need to be done, and I've lived there for two years. It's goddamn ridiculous.

And that's five things you probably didn't know about me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes...

Actually, my baby is well stocked in shoes - quite possibly, she has more shoes than one toddler might ever need. I'm pretty well stocked in shoes as well - I'm a no-nonsense type when it comes to shoes. They must be practical, comfortable, and cute at the same time. Which is sometimes tough to come by. Since I work in a very casual environment where I wear jeans and hoodies every day of the week, I only have one pair of heels that I wear for dressy occasions. Strangely enough, those heels are pretty comfy too.

One thing that is essential for me when buying shoes - they must not tie. Call me lazy, but I hate tying shoes. I want to slip them on my feet and go. Which means I never buy athletic shoes. But, since I'm participating in the Race for the Cure, I knew I had to get some walking/running shoes. Here's what I bought this weekend:

These are C9 by Champion shoes that I found at Target. They were on sale, and I just happened to have a 5 dollar off coupon, so they were somewhere around 20 bucks. And yes, as you can see, they tie. Which I haven't found to be a problem, because I doubled knotted them after the first time I put them on, and they slip on and off my foot very easily. I've worn them every day since Saturday - and it's kind of odd to see me with athletic shoes on, not only because I'm not athletic at all, but because I never wear shoes like this.

It's kind of nice, actually - buying these shoes makes me want to actually do something athletic, which is why today I'm starting a walking regimen. I sit far too long everyday, and it's starting to show, mainly in my hips and thighs. I've never had lean thighs, but the space between them has grown smaller and smaller lately, and it's kind of gross - having thighs that rub together when you walk. It sort of makes me gag thinking about it. There's a lot about my body that I find unattractive, but that's one thing that really grosses me out, even more than my cottage cheese butt or my mom belly.


Shalini tagged me yesterday, so that post will be forthcoming.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Volunteering my talents as well as my dog walking skillz...

This is a layout that I created for the Humane Society that I volunteer for - it's a tri-fold membership brochure. I think it turned out pretty cute - kind of a step away from the kind of design I do every day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Racing for the Cure

If you didn't already get an email from me, I'm participating in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure - in support of breast cancer research and awareness. The event that I'm participating in is May 11th (Mother's Day) in Pittsburgh. This is a special cause for me, because my boss, Amy, has struggled through breast cancer twice (not to mention Hodgkins disease and epilepsy), and last January underwent a double mastectomy. We watched as she went through chemo, lost her hair, lost her breasts, and had surgery after surgery. Through it all she never once acted like she felt sorry for herself - she kept busy and SURVIVED. I admire her for that in many ways. So this is an important event for me.

If you want to donate towards my goal, click here. If there’s a girl or woman in your life … and if she ever must battle cancer, I have to believe you both want to have the same hope and resources that Amy has had.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


So April 1st was one of the warmest days we've had in a long time here in Western PA. Then it got cold again, like a big "HAHA APRIL FOOLS!" from mother nature. Bitch.

I may be a lazy blogger, but I did sign up for twitter, I've heard so much buzz about it that I had to. I'm trendy, what can I say.

Check me out here. Do you see Lyric? I'm about a year or so older than her in this photo, and the only reason I know that is because when my mom showed it to me, I said, "wow Mom, you were kind of fat." To which she kicked me in the shin and replied, " I WAS PREGNANT."

Yeah... sorry about that. That little bump in her belly is my brother, who is four years younger than me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day?

IMG_0493.JPG, originally uploaded by Elosquirrel.

From my cranky kid, who is at least a quarter Irish. Well, maybe 1/8 if you count all the stuff that makes up her mom. Who isn't Irish at all, really. The Irish comes from her dad. I'm like German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, your average American mutt.

Anyway, may the luck of the Irish be with you today. Don't drink green beer, your poop will be an ungodly color.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How to be emo... not to be confused with E-Lo

This is probably one of the funnier things I've read in a few days... this is also how I know I'm getting old, because I can only think "kids these days..."

Umm... but I'm also kind of leaning towards getting my hair cut with many choppy layers and highlights with some bright red bangs. Bonus - my bangs are already long enough to cover one eye! Is that wrong when I'm almost 31?

Kids try too hard now to have an image. There was no instruction manual when I was in high school on how to be punk rock. After this one, I read "how to dress like an emo girl" and it said "Get a hair style that is dyed black or some other dark color. Blonde is good too, just be sure to dress like all the other emos, so everyone can see that you too are non conformist."

Ummmmmm??? Wha??? How??? Do you even???

I can only hope that Lyric wants to be herself when she gets older. If she wants to pierce her face and have pink hair, cool - as long as she's staying true to herself and not doing it because some freaking wikihow article said do it or you're not cool.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Now back to your regularly scheduled E-Lo (I have to go listen to Hawthorne Heights... My Chemical Romance is NOT emo).

Monday, March 10, 2008

We could have renamed him "Shithead"

Now that I have a dog, I’ve been spending a lot of time walking him. So far, in my never-ending quest to lose weight, I’ve dropped somewhere around 3 pounds. I think I may have gained a few back since this weekend. Lyric and I made brownies on Saturday.

I’ve found that I like to run with Red for a few hundred feet at a time, at least until my lungs and legs give out and I feel like I’m ready to die. The good thing about Red is that he’s older, a little older than me in dog years, pushing mid-life anyway, and out of shape, like his favorite female human (me). He tires out easily and will stop and pant a bit as I try to regain my ability to exercise my lungs to their fullest capacity.

Friday night we went out in the midst of yet another winter storm – the snow had turned to rain and there was a fine layer of slush on the ground. I don’t have proper running shoes – or walking shoes for that matter, so I had my 11 dollar Walmart snow boots on. After 10 minutes in the rain, I found that I’ve already got my 11 dollars worth out of them, because the water started to seep in, soaking my socks. We like to walk the baseball field above my house, and I’m taking advantage of the time we have now, because in a few weeks that field is going to start getting really busy, and I’m going to have to start walking a different route. And get some decent shoes. So when it’s dark, we run, because I don’t feel so retarded running in the dark, where nobody else can see me.

We had just made one lap around, which was enough for me and my wet feet, when suddenly Red saw something that made him spring forward, pulling me with all his might –which is a lot for a dog of his size. I wasn’t ready for him, and the ground was slippery under my feet, and I felt myself being dragged forward towards the trees that border our neighbor’s house. I was headed straight for one tree in particular, and staring at it was like staring a large bruise in the middle of my forehead right in the face. I knew I had my options – hit the tree, throw myself on the ground, or let go of the leash. I chose the latter, and that was by far the best choice, because I only had to stand there looking like an idiot who can’t properly walk a dog for like, 10 minutes, all the while yelling Red’s name in my neighbors backyard.

Finally, I gave up, and walked my wet feet down the icy slope of my neighbor’s yard, and ended up sliding down and into the side of their car. AWESOME.

I made it to the concrete and there he was, standing in front of the house, tail wagging, trotting up to greet me with a look that said, “where have you been?”

He’s so impossible to stay mad at.

Oh, and the pooping/peeing in the house? Done. I don't know how we broke him, but he just stopped doing it. Yay Red!

And an update on Daisy - she was adopted over the weekend! Yay Daisy! Lyric still asks about her... the girl has the memory of an elephant.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I did something yesterday that was a kind of a turning point in my politics... well, not really, since I've always leaned to the left a bit. I've been registered as "no affiliation" on my voting card since I first registered to vote years ago. Yesterday I became a Democrat. It was a turning point only because I officially made a decision, a decision that might not seem that crazy to some, considering I've voted straight Democrat in every election that I've voted in.

I feel like such an adult.

The primary in PA is April 22, and it seems like a long time to wait during this long, grueling race for a Democratic candidate. I plan to vote for Obama - I think this country needs something completely different, and 8 years of Bush, 8 years of Clinton, and another 8 years of another Bush followed by another Clinton isn't something that I want to see. Not that I didn't like Bill Clinton as president, but I don't think Hillary has the charisma that Bill has. Does that make sense? Of course I won't feel it's the end of the world if Hillary makes it, but I don't think she'll gain much ground against John McCain. That's just my opinion.

Anyway, I finally made a decision and chose a side... now I just have to wait and see.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Well, March came in like a lion - dumping a fresh coat of roughly 5 inches of snow on us Friday night into Saturday. I ended up with Lyric's stomach virus on Thursday and left work early, I was barely able to drive the 26 miles to my house. It was fun, especially the dizzy spells that I got any time I stood up for too long. Thankfully my mom kept Lyric over night - there would have been no way I could have ran after her, and Ryan was sick too.

I was feeling more like myself Saturday and broke out the new rug scrubber that I bought after having Daisy poop in the guest room 107 times and pee in the corner of the living room 246 times. I scrubbed the office and the guest room Saturday, and then did the living room yesterday. It's amazing how much better about life having clean carpets makes me feel. Especially after seeing how disgusting the living room rug looked with no furniture in the room. Having animals and children makes things really dirty. I mean, really. The amount of hair that came out of the scrubber was ridiculous. Red sheds quite a bit, but we've only had him for what, a week? At any rate, my house is much cleaner, and I feel good about that. With any luck, this weekend the new ceiling fan will get installed in the kitchen and it will be a little brighter in there.

The spring cleaning festivities have carried over to my blog, as you can see with the new layout. I was so sick of pink that I was barfing cotton candy.

So - after the snow dumping Friday night, today is going to be 60 degrees! I think Mother Nature needs a Cymbalta.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mr. Poopy

I just found a Red hair in my keyboard at work. They're all over my gloves, which he steals and buries his nose in them. He's a wonderful dog so far, aside from his perpetual pooping in the basement and running off this morning... I had to chase him down in my van - he was a couple blocks down and when I yelled his name and opened the passengers side door, he ran up and hopped in the car like, "Sweet! My ride's here."

If we could just stop him from pooping in the basement. I feel like all I've done here for the past month is bitch and moan about dogs. It's his only bad quality though, and breaking him of it since he did it the first time is tough. It's winter, we can only walk him so long - and he doesn't, you know, hurry up. So as soon as we bring him in, he sneaks away, down the stairs, and poops by the washer and dryer. Don't know what that's about, but I'm thinking we just need to banish him from the basement, because he doesn't do it anywhere else. And it's not that he hasn't pooped outside - but he's only done it maybe 4 times since we brought him home.

Oh, and his farts? He's definitely an old man.

But I love him - and I was in heaven the other night, snuggled in bed with Lyric, Boots, and Red - all together and cozy. Ryan was out, otherwise, no dog in the bedroom, but I like to let Red sneak in there at night when I get up to go get Lyric a drink or go to the bathroom.

I'm definitely a mom, because poop doesn't even phase me anymore. Puke? Now, that's another story for another day... my kiddo is getting over a stomach bug, so we had a little of both - double Ps, I like to call it - going.


Friday, February 22, 2008


Finally! We have a winner!


Red came to live with us last night. So far, he's an excellent boy... we just have to work on his pesky marking habit. Thankfully, he only does that in the basement. But maybe once he settles in, that will stop.

Updates to follow!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Uh oh... tugging my heartstrings...

Today I was shocked to see Red, a beautiful big 7 year old golden retriever, back at the shelter. He was adopted once, and I was sad to see him go, but happy he had found a home. A few days later he was returned to the shelter, much to the dismay of everyone who works there. The woman who had adopted him thought that his neuter was included in the adoption fee, which was incorrect. Although she would have gotten a discounted price for a neuter, she couldn't have afforded it. So she brought him back.

Fortunately the Humane Society has a great spay and neuter program, and most dogs and cats that are adopted get neutered/spayed before they go out. They work with a few area vets who are kind enough to take their animals in and do surgery for them. And this spring they'll actually have a vet working for the shelter, and eventually every animal will be spayed or neutered before they're adopted. Which is wonderful. At this point, one of the stipulations of adoption is that you must get the animal altered.

After Red came back, he got to be on one of the speuter transorts (what they call their spay and neuter program). So a few weeks ago he was neutered, thankfully. I wasn't surprised to hear that he was adopted a week or so ago. I was bummed that I was busy with Daisy and didn't get to see him again before he went, but I was certain this time that he was going home.

Not. Seems that the father of the family that adopted him didn't know how allergic he was to dogs. So Red came back. Again.

I saw his picture back up on the website, so I knew that I had to visit him as well as Daisy. Unfortunately, they still have Daisy in isolation, so I couldn't take her out, so I opted to take Red out. I saw him in his kennel, and he looked about as sad as a dog could possibly look. He was probably so confused. When he saw me, he pressed his entire body up to the fencing of the kennel so I could touch him. It was like he was saying, "please love me... nobody else does." This of course, made my heart break, and I got him out and we spent a good hour or so together, walking in the snow, playing inside, cuddling.

Yeah. I fell in love.

He peed and pooped outside right away. Then when we came inside, he put his ginormous head on my lap and just let me pet him. When I stopped petting him, he put one of his big paws up on my arm. He would sit, shake, and lie down. That's all I tried, but he did each command on the first try. I took him over to the kitty cages in the back and he sniffed but didn't really react much. He's like a big teddy bear, soft and cuddly and a lover and a half.

I'm taking Lyric up tomorrow to meet him. He is a really big dog, much bigger than any dog she's ever been around, and I really hope he's as gentle with her as he was with me. Because he would be the perfect dog.

Ryan is very interested in meeting him too. He loves bigger dogs, especially labs and retrievers, so once the family meets him, if we all get along, he may find his forever home. And that would be wonderful.

Back to normal

Miss Daisy went back to the kennel Saturday morning. It was a little tough to give her up, but it wasn't so bad considering she had pooped three times in the house that morning. The pooping was the hardest part. You can't imagine how hard it is to get a dog to tell you that she needs to go outside. But trust me, I can't even potty train my daughter, so it's no surprise that I couldn't get a less intelligent creature to do it either.

It was hard to give her up, but only because she's so cute. I'm going to visit her this evening, once Lyric wakes up from her nap. We went to Erie Saturday, and when Ryan's dad brought Lyric down yesterday afternoon once we got home, she saw the cat and said, "there's kitty friend!" and promptly said, "doggy?" and ran to the office where I kept Daisy's crate. Ryan and I looked at each other and said, "uh oh." But she seemed satisfied with my explanation that doggy went bye byes, and a family would probably adopt her soon and take her to their house.

I've come to realize that I do want a dog, badly. I love my cat - and I love the independence of cats and how low maintenance they are, but nothing can beat puppy love. When I do get a dog, he or she will be the right fit for our family, and probably be a little older and a little calmer. And able to poop outside. That's the bonus of older dogs, they usually already know that stuff. Puppies are cute, but like babies, they're a lot of work.

For now I'll be satisfied walking random dogs and taking pleasure in helping their stay in the kennel a happier one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


It's snowing. I'm at home, supposedly working. I haven't had a chance to do anything, thanks to babies and doggies.

My final decision on Daisy has been made. I do want a dog, eventually. But when we do get a dog, I think we'll be selective about it. I'll definitely adopt one from the Humane Society, but it will probably be a slightly older one - one that I get to know by going for long walks in the poop strewn lawn behind the shelter. Like dating.

Puppies are a lot of work, and truthfully, I don't have time. Her personality is really coming out in the past couple of days, and she's your average rambunctious pup. And she's chewed several of Lyric's new Barbie dolls hands off. Now Lyric refuses to play with the disabled Barbies.

So... now that Daisy is healthy, I think she'll go back to the shelter and she'll probably get adopted pretty quickly. Puppies always do.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Lately life has been stressing me out. It got a little better Friday, when I found out that I'm getting a 15 percent raise at work. Ryan and I talked on Thursday night, and we decided to keep Daisy. Then Friday night I ended up taking Ryan to the ER - there were walnuts in the dessert that he ate at the restaurant we went to. It's the first time in 9 long years that I've ever seen him have that bad of an allergic reaction. So he got medicated, and we got home a little after midnight.

The weekend was pretty good. Until today's frigid tempatures (below zero) made the dog NOT want anything to do with outside. Which is understandable, neither did I. She pooped all over the house, unfortunately. I cleaned each and every pile. Ryan was good enough to take her out the last time, and she came inside to poop.

"Your dog. You clean it." He said.

That was enough to put me in freak out mode.

"So I do everything with the dog? And the cat? And the baby?" Because I do. I clean the litter. I change the kid (unless I ask him to... then he does, but he has to be asked). So needless to say, the prospect of adding yet another charge to my already full plate pushed me over the edge.

"You brought her home - she's your dog."


I told him that we weren't keeping her if that was the case. He said his heart wouldn't be broken.

I want to keep her. I just don't want to do everything. I don't mind sharing duties... but imagine adding another baby to my "to-do" list.

My mind changes every day. I think thats why I'm frustrated, and stressed.

A lot of the time, I feel like another child in my house. Like I'm supposed to be the one learning to be responsible... like I can't make any decisions - like when to pay a bill or when to buy groceries. So how do I change things? When I want to buy a new car (and I do want to, but he says I have to wait) - why can't I do that?

I'm just kind of sick of not having things in my control. And maybe I'm just ranting after having a fight, but it makes me feel better to get it all out there.


Ok, better now. Whew.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Daisy Mae updates

In the almost week that Daisy has been with us, she's come a long way - from terrified, skinny, sickly pup, to energetic, playful, slightly less shy and putting on weight. She's still got her cold, as evidenced by the crusty boogers and the hacking cough, but it's not nearly as bad. I'm hoping it clears up very soon.

Taking ESC's advice, (thanks ESC!) I started taking her out on the leash with lots of treats. Not only do I not have to carry her out the door and down the steps any more, but she does her business rather quickly. All in a matter of days! She'll still poop and pee on newspaper, but I've started taking her messes outside and putting it where she likes to do her business - by the bush on the side of the yard, and by the air conditioning unit beside the house. Those are the two surefire spots for puppy poops and pees.

She loves to chew, as most puppies often do, and while I've got a great stash of rawhides and chewy toys for her, some of Lyric's toys have gotten the brunt of those sharp puppy teeth. As did my PS2 controller. It's a great way to remind not only ourselves to keep things off the floor, but a motivational tool for Lyric to pick up her toys - "you have to clean up or the doggie will eat your baby doll!" Yeah. It's like that.

And while I'd love to keep her, I know eventually she'll have to go back... back to a shelter that smells of wet dog and bleach - where she'll be placed in isolation for a week with other dogs barking all around her, far from the comfort of my couch which she's claimed as her nap spot. Life behind bars, eventually moved out front so potential adopters can see how cute she is... and it probably won't take long. Puppies never last at the shelter. It's the older dogs that live out their days in a stinky kennel. And then I'll never see her again.

And truthfully, that makes me a little sad. But at the same time, I'm not sure if I'm ready for a full time dog. Been there... and I wasn't ready then. With a toddler and a full time job(s), it's hard enough to find time to spend with my kid and my husband. I already feel like Daisy has demanded more of my time this week than Lyric has.

And you know what else? I'm ready for another baby. How's that for an announcement?

Puppies may have to wait.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Daisy Mae

Daisy - the kennel cough puppy

Meet Daisy. Her name, according to the Humane Society, is Lindy. But she answers much better, and is more suited to Daisy, which is what Lyric named her. We're fostering her at the moment. She has kennel cough, and you can see evidence of it when you look at her nose. See how crusty it is? Those are dried dog boogers. Which don't really make her any less cute, although it is a little off putting. So we're taking care of her until she gets all better.

I kind of stumbled into fostering her, because, well, let's face it... I'm a sucker for dogs. Especially sick puppies that need love. There are lots of healthy dogs at the humane society, but they recently did a rescue from a kill shelter in Ohio... and Lindy/Daisy happened to be a death row puppy. How on earth you could kill a puppy like this (or any puppy for that matter) is beyond me. And what a waste that would have been, because she is one of the sweetest little dogs I've met in a long time.

Seriously, I don't keep my baby in here.

As you can see, my kid really likes her. But I really think she just thinks Daisy's crate is a little club house. She hung out in there all weekend. Which made me wonder, why didn't we get a crate like that to begin with? It would have saved us a lot of trips to the babysitter.


Daisy is very sweet and a little shy - I don't think she's ever had anyone really pet her much, and now that she's got it, she's loving it. We shower her with attention and feed her as much as possible - she's really skinny. She also hates walking on a leash. I'm not sure if she's ever experienced the outdoors at all. She's four months, and when you put her on a leash, you have to carry her out the door. When you sit her on the ground outside, she just digs her feet in and won't move. She plants her butt. No pooping, no peeing. That's all done on newspaper in the safety of our house. So we're working on that.

The best part about her? She doesn't jump. She's a couch potato. Seriously - she'll lie on the couch for hours. That might be due to her cold, but she's really very mellow. I don't know any dog more mellow, actually. Rocky was a freaking lunatic, and my mom's dogs are crazy too (the best part about them is that they're tiny, so when they jump on you it's kind of like a feather jumping on you).

Lyric spent a good part of Saturday night lying on the dog - which made Ryan want to keep her. The dog, that is. We've already decided to keep Lyric. I was worried that I'd be the one to get attached to her. In fact, I woke up Saturday morning wondering how long we'd have to keep her (not sure how long kennel cough lasts). But then Ryan dropped the "we have to keep her" bomb on me.

Quite possibly because he drank six Newcastle Brown Ales. Now I want to keep her, and I'm not sure how serious he was. But we're going to play it by ear. If we feel that after a few weeks we can't part with her, she'll stay. It's almost like test driving a car - only with a real live living thing with feelings that will have to go back to a stinky old shelter and live in a cage...

Hmm. As long as we can get the walking outside thing down. I've become an avid dog walker in the past few weeks - taking out big dogs, small dogs, hyper dogs, old dogs... so a dog that doesn't like to walk is new to me. Any advice on that front would be great!

Friday, January 25, 2008


My dad went home yesterday. He's on about 7 prescriptions - which is a lot considering the only thing he took before going into the hospital were vitamins. Not bad for a 72 year old man... up to this point. But after a couple weeks of hospital visits, I'm glad that he's home. Probably not as glad as he is.

So... on another note - I've been volunteering at the Butler County Humane Society. I actually just designed their newsletter and I'm working on updating a few brochures for them. Not to mention the animals. Yesterday I took this sweet girl Lexi, a Lab/Boxer mix, out for a walk. Lexi was returned to the shelter not too long ago after an older couple adopted her. See, Lexi is a wonderful dog. She knows her given "shelter name," she knows commands like "sit" and "heel," she doesn't jump up - she's generally very calm and sweet and lovable. She's strong - which I learned from taking her for a walk in the snow - but it's been a while since I walked any fully grown large dog. Her problem is, she doesn't like other dogs. She needs to be the only pet. I guess she got into it with a neighbor dog, and that's why she was returned. A bummer for everyone at the shelter, who thought she'd hit it off with someone and found a home.

There's another dog that I'm loving there, Astro. He's a coonhound mix, and there's just something about him for me. He's not my type as far as dog looks go - but his eyes and his demeanor draw me in. He's so calm and so sweet. His personality tag says "couch potato," so I know he'd be the dog for me... if only I were allowed to have a dog. BUT - that's the reason I'm there. Because at least I'm allowed a cat, and I can spend time with Astro and Lexi and Red, who is another beautiful boy that I LURVE...

At any rate - every time I leave the shelter, I feel good. I leave with a warm heart and hands that smell like puppy, and that's one of my favorite feelings.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Heart to heart

Gawd. What a weekend I've had. It started, like most weekends do, on Friday. My mom called me at work to tell me she had taken my dad to the emergency room. He apparently had a heart attack a few weeks ago after shoveling snow and didn't realize it. Since then, he's been feeling sick. They did some tests and found out that it was his heart. After doing a heart catheterization they found 2 blocked arteries which required double bypass surgery. Good times.

So the surgery was yesterday, and all went well. My dad is in recovery in the ICU, and will probably be in the hospital for the rest of the week. The good thing about it is, I'm seeing a lot of family, including my brother and two sisters from the Carolinas. And nieces and nephews.

Hospital. It's such a dirty word. I've had my fill of hospitals for the rest of my life, I'm telling you. The next time I have a baby, I may just do it in my bathtub.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kitty Meow

you should probably know about the ways cats think...

Have I talked about how much I enjoy having a cat in my life again? It's been a good 8 years (longer?) since I had to give up my baby kitty Garcia, because my dad's entire face swelled up in his presence. Which was his house. Where my dad also lived.

Out of all the members of my family, Boots is most affectionate with me. Possibly because I provide the good scritchins behind the ears and the yummy morsels of food that she yowls for. Yowls. And rolls around on her back. Like the cat guidelines thing that I linked to, she likes to supervise me in the bathroom, especially in the shower. She's usually very mellow and mild mannered - she lets Lyric manhandle her without much thought, but typically after about 2 minutes of being dragged around by her neck she'll resume hiding under the kitchen table. Since Ryan's been off work, he tells me what goes on in the house every day, like how many times Lyric has pooped and the extent of the stinkiness of it, or "that cat is going fucking nuts right now," meaning that the cat is playing. She doesn't just play - she goes slightly insane. I've actually witnessed her climb the curtains after taking a flying leap for them. I thought she may actually break the window.

I haven't gotten many good Boots pictures lately, but I'll post some soon.

Miss Kitty