Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Czara and The Bruise

I have two fur babies, Benny and Czara. Benny is a five and a half year old pit bull/ American Bulldog mix. We rescued him from an animal shelter a little over 4 years ago. We live right outside of Denver where pit bulls are illegal (I won't get on my soapbox today but trust me, I could) and there are many that need good homes. Rob and I decided we wanted a dog and while we were open to any breed, Rob had it in his head that he wanted a pit bull (we did research pit bulls extensively prior to coming to that conclusion). After searching a few shelters, we found Benny.

As we walked past "Pit Row" at Table Mountain Animal Shelter, we saw a little white paw pop out from under one of the gates. Upon peering inside, we saw the cutest dog with an enthusiastically wagging tail. Rob's heart immediately melted as Benny slid his paw out wildly, attempting to put his paw on Rob's hand. When we took Benny into the meet and greet room and he crawled into Rob's lab and fell asleep, we knew we had found our baby. The whole way home Benny sat in my lap, unaware that 65 lbs is a little large for a lap dog.

I will admit that it has not been easy owning a pit bull, though not for the reasons most may think. He is piebald, which means that he inherited a recessive gene that gives him white fur and predisposition to several medical conditions, including severe skin allergies. His allergies are so bad that he is on daily steroids.

Yes, we know that prednizone is a heavy duty medication and will likely shorten his life, but it is the only way we can provide any relief. In over four years we've tried just about everything else. Yes, everything.
The ban on his breed also proves a problem. We can't live within the Denver city limits, nor can we rent or travel easily with him. In fact, Benny was the catalyst that led us to purchasing a home at the age of 23. When we decided we wanted to move from the condo that we were renting from a friend and no where else would let us rent, we bought instead!

Benny is a sweet and low-key dog who would much prefer lounging to almost anything else. He loves sunbathing and cuddling and was pretty much fully trained when we got him. He loves other dogs and can't help but cry when he sees one. He is protective, but is definitely a lover and not a fighter. The tiny dog from across the street ran over to our fence a few weeks back, barking up a storm over something. Since every other slat was missing (it's since been fixed), Benny easily stuck his head through the fence and grabbed the other dog by his scruff and just kind of held him until the owner could retrieve his runaway. The owner's wife actually scolded her dog, saying that she wished Benny would have bit him so he would have learned his lesson! Not often heard in regards to a pit bull.

When Benny was about three, I got it in my head that he needed a puppy. So when a woman at work was giving away her litter of boxer/lab puppies, I jumped at the chance and took home the runt of litter, whom we named Czara. Again we did our research and introduced the two gradually, as recommended. Now I'm sure that it is much more amazing when you are talking about your human children, but seeing the way Benny interacted with "his" puppy made me feel incredibly teary and proud. He was so patient, so calm. He never minded her constant "arfing" or playful bites. When she crossed the line, he let her know in a firm but gentle manner. Yep, Benny basically trained his younger sister.

Now that Cara is two years old and no longer chewing on drywall and shoes, they are the best of friends. We have two kennels (we kennel during the day due to Benny's pill - it's a diuretic and the poor guy just can't hold it some days) but often we will find that if they aren't kenneled in their own crate, they both end up in the same one to nap in.

Czara is as energetic and playful as Benny is relaxed and low-key. She constantly wants love and attention and TOYS. Benny is emotional and easily gets his feelings hurt. Czara is emotionally intuitive and nothing can keep her sad for long. Benny takes after Rob a bit more and Czara, well Czara is a little more like me. I love Benny with all my heart, and Czara is my heart.

Here is our little family on a typical lazy night(please ignore the mess). We work really hard to make sure they are happy and mostly behaved. They are both really tolerant (I've never seen either snap at a person, at rarely at each other), great with other dogs, great with kids. The only problem we really have is their excitement! Both get really riled up when meeting new people and dogs.

Overall we completely lucked out by having two of the most perfect dogs for us that we could ever imagine.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home Ec

Long-winded story without much of a point, but oh well, you've been warned.

I really love cooking, baking, photography, crafting, all that goodness. My mom is exceptionally crafty and we did a lot of projects when I was younger. When I was really little, I wanted to be an artist. When I was older (high school on), I wanted to be a photographer. I almost went to college for it but then I wimped out. It's the opposite of that suburban stereotype, where the parents are telling the rebellious teen to be smart and study accounting because art school will get you nowhere... My parents totally supported me but my insecurities held me back. My parents, husband, and friends still hound me about trying photography as a side business, but I feel like I need to be in a different mind set before I can do that. Hence my effort to bring my creative side back out...

Rob is an extremely supportive husband who encourages me endlessly. He's bought me a sewing machine and a nice Nikon DSLR as Christmas presents and has never raised an eyebrow when I came home with stockpiles of crafting supplies that I never had the energy or drive to use. Recently I saw that L.A. from Freckled Nest was part of a new online sewing class. Rob totally encouraged me to sign up so I did.

I know how to sew and have made a few things around our house, but I do it so infrequently that I'm not very quick or precise. I used to joke that there was no way I could suck sewing because it's in my blood. So here's hoping that the family seamstress gene kicks in.

*My great-grandmother was a seamstress back in Italy (so were her sisters, mother, and grandmother). She moved to America in the early 1930s and when WWII hit she volunteered to sew soldiers' uniforms as part of the war effort. Eventually she had her own custom wedding dress shop in Jersey City that she ran from the '50s until the '70s when my great-grandfather fell ill. She also made all the wedding dresses in the family until she died in 1996 (side note: one of my mother's favorite memories of her was the time that she and my great-grandmother designed her wedding dress. The took the train into New York and visited the garment district where they hand picked each and every piece of material, each and every embellishment).*

My great-grandmother taught my grandmother to sew who then taught my mother. But my mom never had as much time as she wanted to sew so she's at basic skill level (albeit ahead of me). And I'm pretty much self-taught. We always talked about taking a class together, but we haven't had the time yet. Hopefully I can teach her some of the new skills I pick up in L.A.'s class.

And hopefully it inspires me to get back in the crafting groove.

Oh, and the only relevance to the picture is that is my sister in a costume that my mom made (originally for me). And that's my dad. Don't judge him, it was 1991. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I had a really hard time falling asleep last night. I took a quick nap around 8:30 (15-20 minutes), and I was sure that I would be out like a light come 10:30. Then I decided to watch the next few episodes of True Blood on DVD (I really like that show and I can't explain why, I just do). It's hard to sleep after you see some weird-ass shit go down.

So anyway, fast forward to 12am or so, and I am lying awake in bed next to my sleeping husband, thinking about a million things all at once. I find myself talking to myself quite a bit. Actually, it's more like I am talking to an audience, except one that lives inside my head. I craft essays, present ideas, talk through issues as though there is someone else listening. I guess it's therapeutic because I can't quite seem to stop. The topics are usually esoteric, maybe that's why I never bother putting pen to paper. At least in my head I feel interesting and relevant, even if that is never quite the case.

Of course now that it is morning, I can hardly remember what it was that I was even thinking about. I hope I'm not the only one that does that. I've always kind of lived in my head, and that's not a bad thing until I decide I want to rejoin the real world. Then I always feel just a little out of place.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I just came across this website and it is certainly perfect for me...a person that carries a notebook filled with lists EVERYWHERE. I've only created one list yet, but plan to spend many an hour with my new time suck in the future.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer To-Do- List

1. Go to California - I'm originally from Fremont, CA, which is right across the bay from San Francisco. Rob and I usually go to CA a few times a year. Everyone assumes that he is from Cali too, which is funny since he was born here in Colorado and grew up in Minnesota. That impression must have something to do with the Highway 101 and palm tree tattoos... oh, and the Nor-Cal and Santa Cruz stickers that litter our vehicles.

2. Go to Ikea while in California - Closest Ikea to Denver is in Salt Lake City. No thank you.

3. Eat a snow cone - need I say more?

4. Drink sangria - need I say more?

5. Go tubing in Boulder - never been, but it looks fun. If this last one doesn't happen, I can't complain. I've had a pretty good summer so far.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Highway 101 by Social Distortion

Take a drive baby up the coast, yea highway 101
I’ll pass Ventura and Santa Barbara too, just as fast as my motor runs
Gotta pocket full of memories, some happy and some are sad
Gotta girl standin’ by my side through the good times and the bad

Listen to the boulevard, listen to the falling rain
I believe in love now, with all of its joys and pains

Sick boy, sick girl, looking nice dressed up on a Saturday night
Take a walk downtown for a while and chase the pale moonlight
I can still hear the mission bells and the train rollin’ through your town
Gonna leave this world behind, we’re Southern California bound

Chorus: x 2
Listen to the boulevard, listen to the falling rain
I believe in love now, with all of its joys and pains
Follow the palm trees under the California sun
I believe in love now, I believe in love again


El Camino Real, Take me home

Okay, so maybe it's about time that I try this blogging thing in earnest. Here goes nothing.

I'm at a point in my life where things need to change - 25 going on 45.

I mean, it's nice to have nice things; my husband and I own a house, two hot rods and two toyotas, and toys like snowboards and cameras. We are by no means well-off, but I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that we are lucky, especially with in the current economy.

But we have suddenly reached the conclusion that we are empty and unfullfilled. We did what was recommended for success; We got decent jobs and bought a house, got life insurance and a savings account. Hardly anyone warns that with responsibility comes the "golden handcuffs" - now we feel that we are living to work and not merely working to live. I am at a crossroads in my job where it is time for me to buckle down and jump in or else run screaming from cubicle-land. I'm opting for the latter.

I could go on for days whining, but I won't. I know this blog will lack focus for a while, but I guess that is my right. And I know it will be self-absorbed at times, also my right.

I had a hard time coming up with a title, and my husband still isn't sold on Highway 101. It's the title of a Social Distortion song, "our" song.

"Take a drive, baby, up the coast, Highway 101" It's a love song but it kinda fits.

There is another song though, that incorporates Highway 101 and is perhaps more appropriate for this post - El Camino Real by Lee Dresser. It's a pretty rare song from the early sixties. We first heard it this year at VLV13.

"El Camino Real, take me home, back to Monterey, cause I didn't have much luck down in LA"

I may not be from Monterey (East Bay Baby!), but this is about me going home. This is about me eschewing common sense and popular opinion and getting the hell out of Dodge. Not quite sure how, but we are considering everything. Renting out our house and packing up the pups for a life of beach-coming and swap-meet rat-ness? Sounds good to us. We are just looking to find ourselves in the process.