The wonderful blogger Jillian from How To Be Myself nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award! Jillian is my favorite blogger, so that means a lot. Her posts often inspire me to write comments gushing about how I can relate to what she’s written, because I often can. She’s awesome, yo.

beautiful-bloggerBefore I list seven random things about myself, as the award asks, and list seven bloggers I like, I have to point out that I’m writing this after midnight, and I’m rarely at work at this time. By “at work,” I mean in my basement at my work desk. I’ve been having sleep problems lately. I take enough allergy and asthma pills and enough melatonin to choke a horse, but I still don’t really get tired.

And I’ve suddenly become a worrier. We have this thing scheduled for Sept. 12 in which Mike and I will say mushy stuff to each other than host an amazing party (I hope) at a cool place. Then not too long after that, we’re going to Scotland, and we’re still planning that. It’s taking a little more time than I thought. Within those big things, there are a bunch of smaller things to worry about.

And then there’s work. It’s super busy all the time and it might get busier and I’m somewhat terrified (but working for a thriving company is way beyond good, especially after working for media companies). My volunteer job is on my mind, too — adoption applications I need to work on, emails I need to send, how we can get more cats adopted, an upsetting run-in I had with a potential adopter.

And I still haven’t solved the plumbing problem over at my rental property. There are people-specific worries, like about Mike and about Sassy, how her dementia symptoms have improved for the most part, but she’s still difficult. It’s not her fault. One of the reasons why I’m down here is because she’s asleep on the bed next to Mike and I couldn’t wake her up, and when I try to pick her up she gets upset and “nibbles” on my hand. She’s a biter, so that scares me. I can’t sleep on the six inches of bed she’s allotted me.

Plus I attended a funeral Friday for an 83-year-old woman who seemed simply wonderful, and that brought up a lot of feelings. I hate to see the surviving family members go through that. It sucks. And it made me think of my dad’s funeral 10 months ago and my mom’s 9 years ago. But those things are often on my mind, kind of processing in the background. Lately they’re more in the foreground.

Anyway, there are probably more than seven facts about me in what I’ve just written, but that doesn’t count. It feels good to type out my worries, though.

Before this post goes too far off the rails, here are my seven random things:

  1.  I don’t really cook but I watch a lot of cooking shows and so I’ve given some thought to my favorite “flavor profile.” It’s the thing I crave all the time, tomato and cheese. Specifically, sundried tomatoes (with fresh basil from our basil plant) and vegan Diaya cheese, either mozzarella or cheddar. And some bread. So, basically, some sort of pizza or sandwich. I don’t eat much dairy anymore and I don’t even miss it because Diaya cheese is better than “real” cheese, to me. (I know what you’re thinking. I KNOW. I know. The “real” stuff is amazing, too.)
  2. If given the choice between two superpowers, flight or invisibility, I’d choose invisibility. I’d be ethical about it, though. I wouldn’t use my power for personal gain; I’d use it to expose corruption and help solve crimes and be a champion for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Kind of like being a reporter, but a secret and super powerful one.
  3. My last professional haircut was in March 2011. I hated what the hairstylist did, so swore off salons. Now, my hair is pretty long and I wear it in a topknot six days out of the week, so I lose track of how long it really is. Every few months I give it a trim and I’ve had no problems. I learned how to layer my own hair watching YouTube videos and I actually really enjoy the whole process. I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was a child, continuing all through high school, college and post-college life. But, like I said, it’s really long, so any mistakes I might make are not noticeable. You should totally try it! Think of all the money you’d save!
  4. I’m not shy but it’s hard for me to approach people who I consider to be cool/important. I saw a mayoral candidate at a beer garden a few months ago and I wanted to go up to him and tell him he has my support, but I got scared. Last week I saw this locally famous artist at a coffee shop, and today I saw him at a different coffee shop. Mike and I are getting married next month at his signature art installation, Philadelphia Magic Gardens, and I quite admire him, but I didn’t say anything to him either time. I’m writing all of this for accountability purposes because the next time I run into Isaiah Zagar, I will say hi to him and tell him about our wedding plans. I’ve heard he stops in when weddings are taking place, so it would be cool we could hang out with him that day.
  5. IMG_6370A few weeks ago I bought an expandable back scratcher at CVS for $3.99 and it’s the best $3.99 I’ve spent in a long time. My back is usually always itchy and I think it might be some weird mental thing, but whatever. I’m always asking Mike to scratch my back, but now I can be more self-sufficient about it. I started throwing it in my bag before I leave the house in case I get itchy when I’m out and about.
  6. Recently I thought about giving myself a middle name since my parents didn’t bother to do that. I thought Samantha would be a nice middle name, and entertained the thought of demanding that people call me “Sam.” But I looked into the requirements and decided not to bother. Aren’t middle names kind of silly and pointless anyway? Even if you have a cool middle name, I’m sure you don’t get many chances to even mention it to anyone. It makes me think of people who spend a ton of money on extremely fancy, expensive underwear. Why go through all that effort when it’s hidden?
  7.  Watching “The Real Housewives” has led me to wear less makeup. I’ve been wearing makeup since age 11 and I’ve been partial to the smoky eye and red lipstick even on a Sunday afternoon. But I’ve been noticing that women who wear a lot of makeup, like the Real Housewives, tend to look older than they really are. So I’ve been wearing less and less. I wrote a few months ago about how I’m not really wearing makeup to the gym anymore and now I’m experimenting with toning it down even during non-gym time. And a funny thing has happened. I’m beginning to see that I really don’t need as much as I always thought I did. The exception is eyebrow powder, though. I really can’t ever go without that. (Right, Jillian? ;))

So now’s the time for me to nominate seven people for the Beautiful Blogger award. The way it works is that these seven are supposed to list seven things about themselves then nominate seven people of their own. But whether they do that or not, I encourage everyone to read all of these blogs, like, today.

Okay! Let’s get started!

  1. Gin is My Comfort Food. This is one of those blogs where the writer really takes you through all her ups and downs in life. And she loves gin!

  2. Krissy’s Thinking Again. Krissy’s thinking provokes my thinking, and that’s always a good thing.

  3. 35 and Molting. Becky’s writing is touching, honest and funny. In her blog she shares her now-unfolding story of her new life in Florida and the experience of being a mom to a child who is now 18.

  4. Love-Nourish-Preach. Rachel is a vegan and animal lover, and her passion comes through beautifully in her writing. She posts recipes and shares her feelings on the same causes I care about, and she’s such a positive person.

  5. Drink the Day. Jacqui kind of reminds me of Martha Stewart, but cooler and with better hair. She shares lots of recipes (I’m dying to make those sundried tomato puffs!) and OOTDs and tutorials and crafts and other DIY stuff, plus she opens a window onto her life as well. I’m a fan.

  6. Jardin D Fleur. Such a great writer, such interesting, funny, poignant stories of someone who’s living life to its fullest.

  7. Big Girl Panties: Volume 1. I know this lovely lady in “real life” and she’s beautiful through and through. She punctuates her life with animals and sign language and lots of exclamation points.



About a year or so ago I noticed that my dog Sassy had lost that spring in her step. She wasn’t as eager to go out for a walk, which had always been her favorite thing to do, preferring to nap and snore (loudly). Mike and I just attributed to her becoming lazy. The vet last year said since she’s an old girl (she’s 15) she was probably just slowing down, like people do.

I work from home and I spend practically all my time under the same roof as Sassy, so it was hard to notice when things really began to change. Also, she’s always been a very anxious, nervous dog, and that’s one of the symptoms of dementia, so it was hard to identify what’s normal for her and what’s not. Here are some unusual behaviors we noticed:

  • She needed help in finding her way out of her crate when the door was wide open
  • She pooped on the kitchen floor immediately after getting home from a walk
  • She’s easily startled
  • She seems to not recognize our regular walking route. She’s walking with less confidence and seems unsure as to where to go.
  • The big one: Pacing. She can pace the floors for hours, both day and night. (And the clicking of doggie nails on the wood floors and the clanging of her collar tags is enough to drive anyone mad!) This is what opened our eyes to the fact that something isn’t right with our pup.
Notes I jotted down about what we’d observed in Sassy.

I read about a medication created to treat canine cognitive disorder, selegiline (brand name Anipryl), so I made a vet appointment to ask about it.

I described her symptoms and the vet agreed that she seems to be showing signs of dementia. She said she could be a candidate for selegiline, but suggested first starting her on supplements to see if that would work. She sent us home with a big bottle of omega 3 liquid, which we squirt on her food once per day. The vet said to go on Amazon and buy a bottle of Cell Advance, an antioxidant meant to improve the immune system, and she gets one capsule per day.

She’s only been on these things for a few days and it could be our imagination, but she seems more on the ball and less confused and more active. Then again, she has good moments and bad moments, so it could just be that we’ve hit a string of good moments/days. Either way, I’ll take it! (As I’m typing this, she’s pacing, and pacing, and pacing… Spoke to soon?)

It’s so heart wrenching to watch my best buddy get old. I just want her to have a happy life and I’ll do my best to make sure she has one.

Here’s a really great video on what canine cognitive dysfunction looks like. Sassy isn’t quite this advanced yet, but watching it was helpful.

Have you gone through this before, or are you experiencing it now? I’d love to hear about it!

Waiting for the vet to come into the examination room

I was inspired to write this by Mama Kat’s writing prompt, “something embarrassing that happened at school.”

I was 15 and in sitting in the front row of my 10th grade English class. Suddenly, I felt something — got my period unexpectedly in class. Now, this is something that happens in life, but at that age, I was still learning how to manage things. Even though I was wearing black pants, I didn’t want to stand up because I was afraid people would see, so I acted like everything was just fine.

When class ended I gathered my stuff slowly and left the room last, then rushed to the restroom. Afterwards, I confided in some friends and they assured me there was nothing was visible on my pants because they were black, so that made me feel better.

The next day, the teacher, Mrs. Wierman, a.k.a. the dreadful human who taught me how to analyze Beowulf, came up to me before class. She was a small woman with short, curly gray hair and glasses and she must have been close to retirement at that point.

Kids were getting settled in their seats and chatting to each other when she put both of her elbows on my desk, leaned into me, and hissed, “Did you ‘get sick’ on your chair yesterday?” Her tone was accusatory and I wanted to disappear.

I said, “No, what do you mean?”

“There was a stain on your chair and the person who has this seat after you refused to sit in it. She created a big fuss over it!”

“No, I didn’t get sick on my chair yesterday.”

She looked at me with a skeptical smirk and walked away without another word.

I knew what she meant — there must have been a blood smear on my chair and I didn’t realize it. But I don’t consider that “getting sick,” I got my period, which is a normal thing, and I had a mishap, but I wasn’t sick.

Still, I felt so humiliated that tears came to my eyes right there in class. I don’t think anyone saw, which would have made things so much worse.

I think if she had phrased her question differently and had a less accusatory tone and approached me in a more private manner, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I probably still would’ve cried, though.

What the fuck, though? Like, why even say anything to me? I was shamed because I was a teenager who had an “accident” that came as a normal and natural consequence of being female. Even though it was so long ago, I’m still pissed about how ashamed she made me feel.

If I hadn’t thrown my yearbooks away years ago I would’ve included a photo of her with this post to shame her right back for being such an asshole. But instead, here are my cats Magilla and Kevin playing with a tampon.

If you’d like to share something embarrassing that happened to you in school, I’d love to hear about it!