Sunday, August 30, 2009


My timing is never very good. I nap away the afternoon (today was excellent napping weather), then get all motivated to organize the disaster of an extra room or vacuum the dog-haired living room at 10 PM. Not the best plan. So, the extra room stays a mess, I put off vacuuming for another day, and I go to sleep (soon! I swear!) in order to wake up early to start the new week. How did it get to be Sunday night so fast? I guess I'd better get used to this again. Summer vacations can be deadly.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Working Girl

I started my first real-life, grown-up job this week in my chosen profession and it feels good. As I stood on our porch this morning, looking out on the mountains with Jasper by my side, I felt for the first time that I've EARNED this. I am working to support the life I want and contributing to our household to make this all possible. It feels very good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Jasper is one big mystery to me and I love finding new pieces of the puzzle. All of his little quirks feel like clues to his past. Some can be reasonably interpreted (his crazy barking at two huskies indicates some kind of past bad interaction with a husky), but others will likely always remain mysterious (he only poops in bushes, and only bushes of a certain height. Was this trained? Just a quirk?).

As many people close to me know, right now I am consumed with trying to figure out his breed. Because we adopted him from a lab rescue, they have to say he is 100% labrador retriever. Which, I guess, he could be, but after having him for a couple weeks, I highly, highly doubt. For one, he is the worst retriever ever. I can only get him to chase a ball with a LOT of coaxing, and only in our apartment.

No, his obsession is the hunt. Finding critters, knowing where they are and chasing them are his main goals in life. He also points, not beautifully, but definitely a very still point, and can occasionally follow a scent trail pretty well (this morning was very god because it rained last night, so the smells were nice and damp).

We realized just how MUCH he loves critters when he woke us up at 3:30 in the morning a week ago because (we figured later) he heard or smelled a raccoon in the dumpster. And then he would not settle down for another two hours. That was fun. And then again when a cat was right outside the door. He was calm, but clearly excited and interested, when he could see the cat, but when I opened the door to show him that the cat was gone so he would stop whining, he completely lost it. The poor baby looked SO worried and concerned, ran back and forth between the two windows he could see out of, looked at me with panicked eyes and whined and barked even more. Clearly, it was the KNOWING where the prey was, not the getting it that he was most concerned with. Yeah. Not exactly typical lab behavior.

Based on this behavioral stuff, with the addition of his very un-lab-like body (very lean, with muscular legs and a thin, curling tail), I've decided that I think he is black lab and English coonhound. (The obsessive hunt for the raccoon the first night put the thought in my head, though his body had always made me think "hound" for some reason). I really have no basis for this thought, other than lots of pictures on the internet and guesses.



Whaddya think? Seriously, I'd love to hear opinions. Other ideas?

Sometimes, I think it's kind of like horoscopes. You can find shades of your dog in the description of any breed and make it fit what you want. When I read that English coonhounds love the couch, it seems like another piece of the puzzle, since sleeping on the couch is the only thing that will calm him down when he is riled up about a critter. And he loves, LOVES going out for night walks, which is apparently when raccoon hunting happens (since they are nocturnal and all).

Really, he could just be a super-mutt who likes to sleep on the couch and knows that animals are more active at night, but having an idea of a breed behind these odd quirks somehow makes it seem to make more sense. I like trying to make sense out of him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Birthday Update

It's my birthday and I'll do what I want to, DOOO what I want to... you would do too... OK, that's enough.

So, what did I do? Not a lot, but that was fine with me. My lovely, darling brother called me at 8:30 this morning, thinking I was 2 hours ahead, not just one, which is an understandable mistake, except that he READS THIS BLOG and therefore knew that sleeping in was on my list. Sigh. Well, 8:30 will definitely be sleeping in, hard-core, after next week. Le boo.

I also went shopping at JoAnn's for crafty supplies (fun!), then came home and worked on the pink and orange quilt and quickly remembered why I had made so little progress before. Cutting takes FOREVER! I'm trying to be very precise and good so that this quilt might have a hope of turning out a little more even than all of my past endeavors, but I still manage to get the cuts just a little bit off. But I did get one more fabric all cut.

While I cut, I watched The Princess Bride and listened to the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack at least three times through (not while watching the movie, though).

Jasper and I took two medium-length walks, and explored some neat area right by our condo. He was also mistaken for a puppy ("He can't be more than one yet"). Since this is not the first time, I do wonder how old he really is.

I got a great haircut by a new stylist, and I keep swinging it around and feeling generally sexy. Always a good sign.

We had dinner at home, but I didn't have to cook and we went out for ice cream after, and I even got a special birthday scoop! I was tempted to get the Birthday Cake ice cream, just because, but I don't really like birthday cake, even in cake form.

All in all, a very nice birthday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Grand Birthday Tradition

Last year (maybe the year before?), I decided that on my birthday (which is tomorrow!), I will only do things I *want* to do and avoid things I *have* to do if at all possible. Mainly this is because I often postpone pleasure because I know I should be doing other things, and then I never seem to get around to the things I REALL want to do. When I did this last year, the feeling was incredible. Yes, I didn't get a lot "accomplished" that day, but I think we all deserve one day a year where we don't need to feel like we need to be productive (very different from simply not being productive).

So, in the interest of accountability (and also because I am excited for tomorrow!), here is a general list of things I want to do tomorrow. Of course, since I get to do whatever I want, I may not feel like doing any or all of these when the time comes. Thats the beauty!

  1. Buy thread to finish tying Peter's quilt.
  2. Work on my pink-and-orange quilt that I haven't touched in months.
  3. Organize some of my crafty things and fabric.
  4. Make and eat my favorite chocolate cheesecake (but not all of it!).
  5. Read.
  6. Play a game or three on the Wii. I love it but never get around to playing it.
  7. Maybe go for a drive in the mountains.
  8. Work the blog posts about the kitchen (and others) that have been languishing as drafts for too long.
  9. Sleep in.
I realize I am very lucky to be able to do this, and recognize that this might be the last year I can, since I start work NEXT WEEK. (Sorry, I will NOT be blogging about work. I have no desire to be dooced.)

What about you? What would you do if you had a day to do exactly as you pleased?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jasperillous Espinoza von Tragerberg Smith the Third

I promised you the sweet story of how we met our Jasper, and so I shall relate it. Here is the long version, even though the short version is nice too.

As already discussed, we decided to go backpacking in the Rockies near Boulder. Based on the suggestion of the Forest Service worker, we decided to go to Jasper Lake for our first (and actually, only) night. On our hike in, we met some friends of ours from Linguistics hiking out with their dog. We had heard about him as a puppy, but never got the chance to meet him. As Peter and I petted him, we mentioned how excited we were for the day we would get our own dog, as we had been waiting for this since moving to Boulder almost four years ago. (Foreshadowing!)

We made it to Jasper Lake, fished, got bitten by mosquitos, woke up very sore and decided to cut the trip short and hike out, rather than continuing on. Instead, we took a lovely day hike straight up the side of a mountain, wherein we watched a group of 8 backpackers and a dog almost fall down the rocky slope, and watched a pack actually fall hundreds of feet with baited breath before we could confirm with our binoculars that it was only a pack, and not a very-probably-dead person lying at the bottom.

On our hike out, only a mile or so from the lake, I heard a woman say something to the effect of "Anyone want a dog?" I was thinking it was more along the lines of a joke, like when your kid is misbehaving and you jokingly offer them to a stranger. But no, this woman, Becca, was a foster mom to this dog, whose name happened to be Jasper, just like the lake we had just come from. He seemed very calm and sweet (of course, this was probably six miles into a hike, so most dogs would be at that point!) and she proclaimed him the best dog she had ever fostered. Even better? When we expressed concern that we lived in a condo, she said she did as well and since Jasper was a fence jumper, but had a great temperament, they thought a condo would actually be preferred. She got my phone number to text me the website of the rescue group, and we headed off on our merry ways.

The entire hike down, Peter and I were thinking about Jasper off and on. Could this work out? Could we have just met our dog? All of the reasons we had for concern (condo, lack of time for training, leaving for vacation in a week) had an easy answer with Jasper (fence jumper, only needs fine tuning for training, Becca would love to watch him while we were gone). For some reason, the name of the rescue group, Safe Harbor, stuck in my mind as well. As soon as we got home, I looked them up.

Immediately, I was nervous. "Must have a fenced yard" was right there on the front page. Would they let us be Jasper's parents? Becca said a condo was OK, but what if she was mistaken? We filled out the online application (which was full of seriously intense questions, many of which we didn't have an answer to) and waited. Nothing. A few days later (or less?), Becca let me know Safe Harbor had not gotten the application. Huh? So we filled it out again (thank goodness auto fill remembered most of the answers!). Still nothing, she said. She gave me a number to call so I could fill it out over the phone.

At the end of the phone call with the volunteer slash adoption coordinator, the woman said the next steps were either to adopt Jasper or to foster him for a few days to see how it would go. Woah! At the beginning of the conversation, I wasn't even sure if they would let us have him! Now we could just have him?

Before we did that, we went over to Becca's to see him again, since ten minutes on the trail after many miles of hiking may not be the best indicator for compatibility. At her place, we were even more in love. He seemed to recognize us, or at least sense us for the petting-suckers we are, and stayed by our sides the entire time we were there. He even graced us with his funny smile he gives when he's really excited or happy (like baring his teeth, but friendly and goofy). We were hooked.

A few days later, we met with the Safe Harbor rep, signed some contracts promising to be good to him and he was ours! With all of the stars that had to align for this, it really does feel a little bit fated, or at least, very, very lucky. I honestly still can't believe that he is ours.

Even as I type that, I have a cold little icicle of fear in my heart because one of the things the rep told us was that since he was not surrendered (he was found in Nebraska covered in ticks), theoretically his owner could come back and claim him. Since he is such a good dog, it's clear he was not a stray his whole life and I'm terrified that he jumped a fence somewhere and has a home that misses him terribly. On the other hand, he could have been abandoned by a family overwhelmed. Impossible to say. I just hope that Safe Harbor's record of never having a dog reclaimed holds true for us and he gets to stay with us forever.


Update! I officially, officially submitted my thesis (though of course it needs one tiny change, so I'm STILL not totally done!). HOORAY!!!! Once it is all done, I will be thrilled beyond measure. As of today, it should all be taken care of, but I thought the same thing Friday and again on Monday.

We went backpacking this weekend in the mountains not too far outside of town and had an incredible time, complete with adventures, fish and chance encounters with friends. We had planned to go for two nights, but it turns out that a five-year hiatus is not good training for backpacking, particularly at high elevation, so it turned out to be a good thing for our bodies that we headed back early so Peter could work on project for his summer class. The hips, they still hurt!

Unlike many people, we did not move to Colorado specifically for the outdoor opportunities, but they are a lovely benefit that we don't advantage of often enough. In an effort to correct this, I pretty much demanded of Peter that we go camping/backpacking at least once this summer. And so we did!


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Lots to write about

Just got back from a great weekend with the girls, including soaking in a hot springs with a surprisingly respectful nude man, many bottles of wine, and lots of great conversation. Also, we have an adorable, wonderful new member of our family sprawled on the floor, listening to both of us clacking on our computers.

Working on a post that has lots of pretty pictures of our previous weekend adventures, plus the heartwarming story of how we met our new "fur-child." Stay tuned!