State of Justine, October 2014

When I first went to type the title of this post, I almost wrote “November 2014.” So that should give you an idea of what to expect from this post.

Aannnnnyyyyyway. Here are a few things going on that I just couldn’t make warrant full posts.

1. I went camping. 

This looks more dangerous than it actually was.
This looks more dangerous than it actually was.

Like, over a week ago. Obviously, nothing earth-shattering happened. But it was nice being in the woods. It was also Bogey’s first time camping. He loved it, but was EXHAUSTED by the time we went home. Guess it’s hard to get by without your usual 8-hour nap every day.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I like the above shot. I’ve always been a little bit afraid of heights, but every year we hike this gorgeous area called Mohonk. It’s a literal rock scramble, and occasionally you’re clinging to a fairly slippery boulder trying to launch yourself over a narrow (but deep) hole in the mountain. I’m never exactly terrified for my life, but there are times I feel uncomfortable about the fact that I could get hurt.

At the end of the day, though, I like to chalk it up as one more thing I do that scares me or pushes me out of my comfort zone. No point in getting complacent at the ripe old age of 27, right?

2. I ran my fifth half marathon.

So fast. So tough.
So fast. So tough.

This was the first distance race I’ve ever done without really training for it. Granted, I work out 5-6 days a week, and I have a full marathon under my belt, but I was a little nervous considering I hadn’t run more than eight miles in one stretch since April.

Things went surprisingly well, though! I finished in under two hours, which was a relief after the bust of the Philly Half and my unpleasant Paris experience. It’s always nice to run a full race without ever wanting to die at any point.

Plus, this race gave you a crown and a glass of champagne at the end. So I didn’t hate THAT.

3. Bogey had his first tick.

This picture has nothing to do with the tick. But how cute is that face??
This picture has nothing to do with the tick. But how cute is that face??

I woke up this morning to our usual cuddle session, but got distracted by a pill-shaped mass clinging to the tip of his right ear. Surprise, surprise, our little fuzz face had an interloper.

We did the classic hold-a-blown-out-match-by-the-tick’s-head and then removed it with tweezers. We’re not quite sure when he picked up his little parasite (maybe camping? but that was a while ago…), so now I’m keeping an eye on him for any signs of infection. So far, though, he has been acting the same as always.

It’s weird having this little life form that we feel so responsible for. Like, we love the crap out of that dog. The thought of something happening to him kills me. Yet another reason why I firmly believe a dog is a great preview into parenthood. (I know, I KNOW that having a kid is a million times more complicated. I’m just saying it’s similar.)

So that’s pretty much everything of note. October is going to be busy, and then we take our California Adventure in November. December (I’m hoping) will be nice and quiet.

What have y’all been up to?

What we talk about while our dogs sniff each others’ butts

When you tell people you are thinking about getting a dog, there are a lot of things they will warn you about.

It’s a lot of work. They will inevitably destroy your stuff. (Remind me to tell you about the new ink stain on our couch, courtesy of a certain fuzzy-faced culprit.) They have expensive medical bills. They need training. They bark. They pee on things.

The list goes on.

One thing no one warns you about? You’re going to have to get over any social anxiety you have about chatting up strangers.

Because, here’s the thing: My dog? My dog may not always love new people, but he loves new dogs.

Bogey thinks every other four-legged thing is his best friend. He tries to play with other dogs, but also cats and even squirrels. The only animal he shows an ounce of aggression toward is birds. (Seriously, he seems convinced he could catch one if I would just let him try.)

This is great because I don’t have to worry about him inflicting harm on another living thing (unless it tweets). This is sometimes annoying because we have to stop and meet every. Single. Other. Dog.

In the month we’ve had the Bogster, Joey and I have spoken to more people in our neighborhood than we had in the entire first year we lived here. Sometimes (and I’m doing the momma humblebrag thing here) it’s just people telling me how cute he is. Seriously. He’s that adorable.

"Oh, hi. Just sitting here. Being the cutest freaking thing you've ever seen."
“Oh, hi. Just sitting here. Being the cutest freaking thing you’ve ever seen.”

The rest of the time, though, they also have a dog and Bogey wants to be their best friend.

I mean, it’s fine. These encounters rarely last more than a few minutes. There’s always some awkwardness as the dogs immediately start to tangle their leashes. And the conversations are usually some (slight) variation of this:

{Bogey spots a dog and immediately starts straining toward them}
Me: Oh! Is he friendly? (indicating the other dog)
Them: He’s friendly!
{dogs sniff noses and then IMMEDIATELY butts}
Me: They’re so shy, right?
Them: (polite laughter) I know!
{pause for sniffing}
Them: What kind of dog is he?
Me: Cavalier/cocker spaniel mix.
Them: Oh, I love his coloring. (ed note: This is not me bragging. Literally everyone says this.)(Okay, bragging just a little.)
Me: What’s yours?
Them: [insert breed]. How old is he?
Me: Eight months.
Them: Oh, he’s a baby!
Me: Yeah…how old is yours?
Them: [insert age]
Me: Oh, that’s great. (ed note: What, Justine? Why is that great? Shut up.)
{more leash shuffling and sniffing, possible dog tussling}
Me: Oooookay, Boges, let’s go. (Literally DRAG Bogey away from his new soul mate like the heartless wench I am. But, dude, life must go on. Especially if I’m holding a bag full of your poo and just want to get to the nearest trash can without interruption.)

Hand to God, I have had that exact conversation no fewer than 12 times since we got the dog. Bogey always acts mildly traumatized when it’s time to say good-bye, but it’s nothing compared to when he meets an unfriendly dog. He’ll do his usual choking-himself-with-the-leash-to-get-to-the-other-dog-quicker routine, and then if the dog snaps at him or barks aggressively, he immediately regrets his life choices and backs up until he’s sitting on my shoe. He’ll glace up at me with this incredibly concerned look like, “What the heck, Mom?”

But he’s young. Eventually he’ll learn the world is not full of best friends like he thinks it is.

Honestly, I don’t mind having 2-minute conversations with fellow dog owners. It’s cute when Bogey and another pup bond immediately. It’s the people who use the dogs as an opener for an actual chat that I get testy with.  (Which is probably the most cynical, New Yorker-esque thing I’ve ever said. But what do you expect? I’ve been here half a decade now.) Or the people who want you to continue to chat like nothing is happening while you juggle leash handles and try not to act nervous about their 50-pound dog who “isn’t mean, he’s just playing when he barks and growls like that!” Riiiiight.

There will probably come a day when I don’t feel at all weird chatting someone up while our dogs stick their faces in each others’ rear ends, but I’m not quite there yet. The point is, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, prepare to make a lot of friends. A LOT. Like, all the friends.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
“Let’s go find some pals.”

Random thoughts I couldn’t flesh out into full posts

– As I’ve mentioned before, we recently hired a dog walker to give Bogey a break around lunch time. And, you guys? I can’t say enough good things about the company. They are prompt, responsive, and incredibly nice. Whenever our usual walker (Emily) has to miss a day, she always arranges for someone else to come take care of our boy. Plus, getting a text every afternoon about how he’s doing is the best. I especially like when she includes a photo.

This week’s Bogey adventure? We’re attempting to let him hang out in the living room during the day instead of the bathroom. There’s more space for him to move about, and it’s cooler now that the weather is getting warm. The downside is that there’s also more for him to get into, but we’ve been leaving him out for an hour or so at a time with success, so hopefully he continues to just chew his toys and not our stuff.

– My hair is FAMOUS.

– I don’t have any good updates for my Spring Simplification List, but I do have updates on the meal planning!

For the last week and a half, Joey has been a dinner machine, and the results have been pretty great so far. He feels more organized because he doesn’t have to think of things to make every night and already has shopping lists pre-written, and I feel better because I’m helping and lists are involved. Win-win!

So far, the best dinners he has made have been the Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza (which he made on tortillas) and the Shrimp, Leek, and Spinach Pasta. You guys. That pasta. If I ever had any doubts about marrying Joey, that dinner wiped them all away. So. Good.

Up this week is a stovetop avocado mac and cheese we’re both pretty excited about. I’ll let you know how it goes. (And if you have any good simple/healthy-ish dinner recipes to share, we’re all ears! Leave a comment below.)

That’s all she wrote, folks. What’s going on with you?

Two weeks of Bogey

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe we’ve only had Bogey for less than two weeks. He’s already become such an integral part of our lives, I can’t really imagine going back to how things were before we adopted him.

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I think pretty much anyone who has ever gotten a puppy would agree that it’s a lot of work. I cracks me up how the things we’re experiencing parallel what my friends and family with children have told me about raising kids. I discuss sleep schedules, training methods, feeding routines, and bowel movements pretty much every single day — I don’t even bother to remark on what a weirdo I’ve become anymore. But while getting a dog has meant sacrificing a few notches on the “look how cool I am” pole, it has also meant just about everything about my life is a little bit better. (Besides, I was never that high on the cool pole anyway.)(Cool people do not use the term “cool pole.”)

We’re still learning about our little guy every day. He’s pretty much housetrained (6 days accident-free!), he’s getting better and better at walking on a leash, and he’s even starting to tackle “sit” and “stay” like a pro. We started using a dogwalker last week, and it has made such a wonderful difference in his energy level and general obedience.

I mean, it’s not all sunshine and roses. We’re still learning to sleep past 5:30. We’re still working through his teething/nipping stage. He still manages to find tissues in the trash and chew them to smithereens if we don’t catch him first.

But it’s nothing that I didn’t expect to experience when we finally adopted a dog. And the positive things Bogey brings to our lives (lower stress levels, more general contentment, an unlimited amount of snuggling) far outweigh any negatives.

Bogey and I spend mornings together. We’ll take a few walks, I might give him a bath if the weather has been especially grimy, I give him breakfast, and we snuggle before I have to leave for work. By the time I put him away (he hangs out in the bathroom until his dogwalker arrives), he’s calm and practically falling asleep anyway. Honestly, that’s the greatest way I can think of to start my day.

The more we get to know him, the more I feel like we ended up with the perfect dog for us. It’s like I’ve always said: Dogs just make life better. And that little dog makes me so happy.

I know, I know, I’m being a total mush ball. Sorry (I’m not sorry).

But, you guys. The weather is getting nice, and I have a puppy. Life is pretty good right now.