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Valentine’s Day has never done much for me. When I was young enough to be excited about it, I didn’t have a boyfriend and felt left out when my friends got flowers or candy or cheap, gross perfume from the boys they were “going with.” By seventh grade, I was bashing it for the Hallmark holiday it was.

Once I found myself as part of a couple, though, my attitude didn’t really change. I think I might’ve gotten some flowers, but they just felt like a token. Almost like a “no thank you” serving — you know, when someone makes something you don’t like but you take just enough to push around on your plate and make it look like you ate some. I felt like I received flowers because that’s what was supposed to happen. And it didn’t feel special.

That hasn’t changed. It’s not that I don’t want to receive gifts, because I do. I really, really like flowers and don’t let anyone tell you differently. But I’d rather get a card or flowers or something because someone’s thinking of me, or because Jared knows I’ve had a crappy day, or because I’m celebrating something meaningful.

But! With all that being said, a little something did change for me at the beginning of this year. I still don’t want flowers on Friday, but I’m done bashing the holiday itself.

See, it seems to have become seriously uncool to set New Year’s resolutions. I feel like, everywhere I turned at the beginning of 2014, every time I asked someone whether they set any, they sort of scoffed and said, “Oh, no. No, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe in it. Why should I change things just because it’s January 1?”

I get that, but each time I heard that remark in its various forms, it dug a little further under my skin even though I know no one meant it as an attack. I like resolutions. I don’t think everyone needs to set them, of course, but I like the feeling of a January 1 clean slate. I mean, I try to live a reasonably healthy lifestyle and be the person I want to be, you know, most of the time, but that brand new year inspires me to look at how I can improve, and why I want to improve. And then I set goals and make plans and work toward becoming that person I want to be.

I don’t set “I want to lose 10 pounds” types of resolutions, but I might set an intention to cook a little more at home, use more fresh produce, focus more on nutrition, etc. Scoff if you want, but every year, by making these resolutions, I get better and better at things like this — things that are important to me.

Just because I don’t get sappy over Valentine’s Day, that doesn’t mean I’m not all for celebrating love. If February 14 kindles your romantic fires, then you know what? That’s awesome, and I’m honestly happy for you and I hope you have an amazing holiday. Really. (But, of course, make sure you show your special someone how much you care on other days, too. Just a little pearl of wisdom from someone who’s been happily married for about a decade.)

As for me, I’m happy to spend my Valentine’s Day with Jared and/or with friends. Maybe I’ll even cook (because I do that now) and drink a little wine and enjoy the love and friendship that’s in my life. So I guess maybe I do celebrate Valentine’s Day a bit; just in my own way.

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Last weekend, I went for a couple of bike rides with friends. I did basically the same route both times, and both times, had at least one asshole motorist. And I was grateful it wasn’t more, because sometimes? They’re everywhere.

Here’s the thing. If we rode three across and took up the whole road, I can understand honking to let us know you’re coming, or even, maybe, laying on the horn a little out of frustration if we’re on a stretch of road where you can’t pass. But the people I ride with don’t do that. The occasions on which people in cars were rude happened when we were riding either in a bike lane, if there was one, or on the very side of the road, single file, where there was no bike lane. THERE IS NOWHERE ELSE FOR US TO GO, YOU JERK.

Reading this post earlier today about a woman who was yelled at for walking too slowly with her toddler (yes, seriously) made me think about the weekend’s rides, and about some of the thoughts that went through my head as a guy in a huge diesel truck gunned his engine while passing us or a kid in a crappy black car blared his horn as he drove past us (going 30 miles over the speed limit, I’d guess).

These people, these jerks, they have no idea who I am. Who we are. This is not a huge community — chances are pretty damn good that we know somebody in common. They have no way of knowing that I’m not their sister’s friend, or their kid’s first grade teacher. Hell, I could be the girl who recommended that great beer to you the other night at the bar 5 miles from where you just tried to scare me off the road. You have no idea.

***

The other morning, I stopped at the grocery store on the way back to my house after a hard swim workout and a physical therapy appointment. I was in a rush, hoping to get home in time to make coffee and a little breakfast before work, but I needed food for said breakfast (and lunch, and probably a snack or two), so, at about 8:50 a.m., I found myself in the express check out line behind an elderly woman with a cart.

She’d clearly taken advantage of deals, loading up on several of many of the same things. Four packs of yogurt. Six cans of soup.

Maybe she misunderstood the 10 items or less, I thought to myself. Maybe she thought it only meant 10 different items.

Slowly, she pulled more and more items out of her cart and handed them to the young man at the cash register, who smiled gently at her while making pleasant chitchat, occasionally flashing me an apologetic look.

“I’m sorry, dear. Nobody was in this line when I came up here,” the woman said as she turned to me with a sheepish grin, handing her third bag of salad to the kid.

I smiled back, but in my head, I couldn’t help thinking, Shouldn’t the cashier say something when someone comes up with a big cart like that?

Almost as quickly as the thought presented itself, I nearly slapped myself. Maybe this is the most exciting thing she’ll do today. Maybe it’s a big deal to go to the supermarket. You don’t know her, and you’re not in that big a hurry, you ass. You are not that important and the world will not end if you’re five minutes late. Shut it.

And then, she pulled out her checkbook. To write an actual check.

I smiled at her again, perhaps a little strained this time, as she took her cart full of groceries and started shuffling out toward the parking lot. As I lifted my basket up and handed items to the cashier, he said, “Thanks for your patience.”

I was about to say something along the lines of, hey, no problem, not a big deal, when he followed it up with, “That was my grandma.”

He blushed.

I blushed harder as I stammered, “Sure, you’re welcome. That’s great that she got to come in and see you.”

 

This was a hell of a wake up call. The next time I find myself biting back potentially hurtful words, I’m just going to ask myself who the person I would say them to might be. Someone’s grandma. Someone’s boyfriend. Someone dealing with a bigger struggle than I’m facing. Someone who probably needs a smile more than they need a talking to.

And maybe, just maybe some of those aggro drivers who think my bike and I have no place on their roads will think of that as well.

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I’m injured. And I’m not very good at it.

It’s a stupid knee injury (nothing actually happened other I played sand volleyball a couple weeks ago, and it hurt a little on the first jump and hurt more on subsequent jumps, and when I finally decided it was time to sit out, it had started swelling) that came at a stupid time — just weeks out from TriRock Clearwater (aka the race I planned to absolutely KILL this year). I should be hitting a really strong groove right now, and instead … well, sure am swimming a lot.

Even though it’s definitely improving — I was able to do four whole minutes of running on the treadmill yesterday! Whee! — it’s still making me feel lame in a lot of ways. Literally, of course, although I’m not terribly gimpy at this point, but also, ugh. So many of the social things I do revolve around running and drinking, but since I can’t run right now, I’ve cut out drinking, and since I’m not running or drinking, I’m a little LOT less fun than I like to think I normally am.

I’m not feeling all that fierce, is what I’m saying.

fierce fund blue wig project

I find that a little fake hair goes a long way when I’m feeling down. Especially when it’s as part of the Fierce Fund Traveling Blue Wig Project

But, that got me thinking — is fierce a feeling, or a state of being? Can you only be fierce when you’re feeling that way, or if you’re fierce, are you always fierce, just sometimes moreso than others?

I have no problem saying it: That's effing fierce.

I have no problem saying it: That’s effing fierce.

I’m going with the latter, because earlier this year, when I completed the Leadman Tri — you know, that time I ate ice out of my sports bra — I was the fiercest of the fierce, as far as I’m concerned. I signed up for a race that scared the hell out of me. I committed to not only completing challenging distances on race day, but to doing some really intense training leading up to it.

And on race day, despite nerves so out of control they brought tears to my eyes, I jumped in that water and started a journey that would take me almost seven hours (no, really — I finished in 6 hours, 59 minutes and change) and make me a different person than I was when I woke up that morning.

Those who have gotten to know me over the last few years might think, “Well, that’s great, but you’ve always done this stuff. You just took the next step.” But the thing is, I haven’t always done it.

In fact, in high school between my asthma and some volleyball-induced back issues (maybe I should just quit it with the VB, huh?), I was really, really not a runner. Training the summer before my senior year to run two consecutive miles in something like 19 minutes in order to make the basketball team was miserable, and I couldn’t possibly fathom why people would run just to, like, run.

(And let’s not forget, I didn’t pick up a bike or start learning to properly swim until about three years ago. So, sure, I’ve been athletic for basically my whole life, but a serious, hardcore endurance event? So far outside my comfort zone it made the trip to Phoenix look short.)

So, here’s my thought — the choices we make (and actions we take) are the things that define our fierceness. Having done a race that scared and challenged me changed who I was gave me a new found confidence and strength. Even if I don’t feel quite the same way right now, there’s something to knowing it’s there. It’s in me. It’s in my heart, and it’ll be back. I’ll be back.

Because, I mean, come on. We can’t all be at our very fiercest all the time, can we? So let’s celebrate the moments of fierceness we all hold dear. I’ve shown you mine. Now show me yours!

*****

This post is part the Clever Girls Collective Fierce Fund Traveling Blue Wig Project (hence the blue wig, although, let’s be honest — I can never say no to fake hair), which is currently deciding which of three awesome non-profit organizations should receive this year’s $20,000 #FierceFund. If you have a second, check it out and cast your vote — this is an amazing group of women doing fabulous work to help worthy causes, and I’m honored to have my story included.

I did not receive compensation for this post (unless you count the wig).

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Florida: Because nothing goes together like beach volleyball and thunder storms!

Florida: Because nothing goes together like beach volleyball and thunder storms!

I’ve made it no secret that I’m a little bit out of love with Florida right now. A week in Canada (yes, I really went, and yes, I’ll eventually edit and share photos … probably) reminded me that it’s possible to walk five feet without creating a line of underboob sweat and now that’s basically all I can think about.

But, you know, I’m an optimist. Most of the time, anyway. So I’ve come up with a few slogans that the Florida Board of Tourism will probably want to look into licensing* from me to increase summer travel to the state. I mean, COME ON. These are gold.

Florida: We hardly have any sinkholes!

Visit Florida, where only half of the snakes are venomous and/or deadly!

Florida: Because sweaty is the new sexy.

Summer in Florida: Hey, it might** not rain!

Florida: Perfect for people who hate feeling dry!

Florida has it all! Saltwater, freshwater, sharks, and alligators!

Florida: Because that “dry heat” is for pansies.

Florida: We’ll let you wear jorts!

Why Florida? Because you didn’t want to be outside between noon and 6 anyway.

Florida: Get a close-up view of the country’s craziest news stories!

Florida: Where else can you get a 2nd degree sunburn on a cloudy day?

Florida: Almost nobody gets eaten by alligators anymore.

Florida: There’s no better place to play Old, Asshole, or On the Phone***!

Florida: Things really heat up at the Early Bird Special. (No, really — it’s RIDICULOUSLY hot at 4 or 5 every day.)

 

Umm, how many more months until it starts cooling off?

 

* For licensing opportunities please contact me at zomfgFloridaIsSoFreakingHotKillMeNow@aol.com

** It will definitely rain, unless you’re in the eye of the storm.

*** A favorite driving game in our household. You see a car being driven like an idiot is at the wheel, slowing down and speeding up, or cutting in and out of lanes, and, before you see the actual person, you guess what they’re going to be: Old, Asshole, or On the Phone.

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I haven’t spent much time in my hometown since I moved to Florida 13 years ago. I don’t have any family there and most of my friends have moved away, and, I don’t know, I guess there’s not much of a draw for me.

But there’s another place that felt a bit like home when I was a kid, and it has a big draw. We spent a week or two every summer in Wawa, Ontario, at a place called Whitefish Lodge. My parents loved it for its solitude, remote location, and incredible fishing. I liked it because the town has a big Canada goose statue and people talked funny.

In fact, my parents loved it so much that, for several years after retirement, they became official snowbirds, spending the entire summer in their cabin near the lake and winters down here. They sold their place a few years ago and have said every summer since, as they packed their car to head back up to Whitefish Lodge, that this would be the last summer. Definitely the last summer. They have other things they want to do, and the trip isn’t as easy as it used to be, etc., etc. And every summer they’ve gone back again.

No, I don't intend to recreate these poses this year.

No, I don’t intend to recreate these poses this year.

This summer, Jared and I are joining them for a week. We’re going to hike and kayak and read on the porch. Jared’s going to fish with my dad and I’m going to do yoga on a stand up paddleboard out on the lake. (Well, attempt it, anyway. I fully anticipate falling into the chilly water a few times.)

I’m nearly beside myself to go back, just one more time, to a place that holds such strong memories. Knowing it’s likely my last trip there is a pretty sweet impetus to do all the things I’ve wanted to do, and it’ll be great to share that with Jared.

Aside from that, I’ll be forced to unplug — no phone, and no internet in the cabin — and, WELL. I know how this goes, and I know that, after about a day, it will be SPECTACULAR.

Is it weird to be this excited to basically say good-bye to something that’s been so important to me? Or maybe it’s just that I’m thankful to get the chance to say it. At any rate, man. I can’t wait.

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I like to cook. I hate to bake. Cooking is a lot like writing — so long as you have a general idea of what you want the end to look like, you can play around with exactly how you get there. Baking? That’s pure math. You need exactly this amount of these ingredients and you have to mix them properly, then bake at the right temperature, and then you should come out with the right answer/delicious baked good.

“Should” is sort of the operative word, here.

With that introduction, I present my easy step-by-step instructions for super delicious lemon basil cake bites.

cake bite-text

You’ll need:

1 box of Trader Joe’s Vanilla Cake Mix

However many eggs and milk that requires (do not ask me, I don’t remember, so just read the back of the box)

Lemon curd (also probably from Trader Joe’s unless you have another one you dig)

Fresh basil

A special cake pan with a pretty flower design

Step 1: Follow the instructions on the box

Follow the directions perfectly. Do not mess around here — add exactly the amount of milk and eggs required, mix for the specified amount of time. Do not screw it up. Before you pour your batter into your fancy schmancy pan, grease the shit out of that thing. Don’t hold back with the Pam.

My fancy schmancy pan.

My fancy schmancy pan.

Step 2: Bake it up

You’ve followed the directions without a single mistake, so just pour it in the (well-greased) pan and set it to bake for the minimum amount of time — 40 minutes, I think. Take a shower, do some yoga, whatever, but make sure to congratulate yourself on doing a great job on the mixing part. You might even start thinking now about how you’re going to present the cake so you can take really great pictures of it and share that shit on Pinterest. I mean, your guests (because, obviously, if you’re making this, you’re having people over, right?) are going to be FLOORED at how great this is.

Oh, also? Make sure to start this just an hour or two before your guests arrive. You know, for maximum freshness and stuff.

Step 3: Check it, rack it

If your experience is like mine, you’ll take it out at 40 minutes, stick a toothpick in, and find that it’s perfectly done. It’s a beautiful golden brown on top, and the toothpick comes out clean. Try not to hurt your shoulder patting yourself on the back at this point, but, you know, go ahead and give yourself a little pat. You’ve nailed it, right? Now all you have to do is wait for it to cool.

Step 4: Choose the perfect place to display it

I pulled out a gorgeous bamboo cutting board that was an ideal size — just a little bigger than the cake, and a great complement to the natural flower design on the cake. God, Pinterest is going to go CRAZY over this cake.

Step 5: Dump it onto the platter

Now is the moment of truth. Make sure to gently loosen it all around the edges, line it up with your chosen platter, and then turn the pan upside down and dump the cake out.

Step 6: GODDAMMIT I AM NEVER BAKING AGAIN

Once half of it comes out in a plop and the rest sticks to the bottom of the fucking pan, the fun really begins. For starters, you’re gonna want to find another way to display it, because, as is? It looks TERRIBLE.

Step 7: Have a drink

Once you’ve stopped screaming obscenities at the oven, pour yourself a drink. Maybe an extra one, too, depending on how high your sights were set on this being a fabulous dessert.

Step 8: Invent cake bites!

Cut up the parts of the cake that are reasonably salvageable into small squares. You know, the parts that at least mostly have a top and bottom that will sort of stick together. Arrange them on a plate, cover each with a dollop of lemon curd and a few snips of fresh basil.

Fresh basil! Doesn't that make everything fancy?

Fresh basil! Doesn’t that make everything fancy?

Step 9: Tell everyone who saw it go down to tell your guests that this was the plan all along

No need to admit failure now. Lie, lie, and deny, baby.

Step 10: Get drunk and tell everyone about how you failed at baking a cake and so, CAKE BITES

Please. It’s not like you’re going to keep that story to yourself.

 

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I’m not sure* who had the bright idea to schedule a vet appointment at 9 a.m. on the Monday morning leading up to a short holiday week, but, I’m the first to admit that really, that’s just asking for trouble. Still, I woke up plenty early, giving myself and Rudi** plenty of time to get ready and out the door long before we were due at the vet’s office. I even managed to trick Hollie into staying in the bedroom with Jared so she wouldn’t bark when we left. Basically, I nailed it.

As I pulled out of the neighborhood, patting myself on the back because I’d even left myself enough time to stop and get coffee, I heard a weird thump thump thump noise coming from the back of the car***. I pulled over and put on my hazards and proceeded to look under the car. You know, like I would know if something was off.

(Here’s where I should say that, while I don’t consider myself particularly girly — I’m not afraid of spiders or big bugs and I don’t think anybody would call me a delicate flower when it comes to my workouts — I … don’t do car stuff. I mean, I HATE doing the whole throw-my-hands-in-the-air-and-call-for-a-big-strong-man thing, but cars intimidate me. There’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong and since I don’t understand it well, I generally prefer to let someone who knows what’s going on step in.)

So, I look under the car and don’t see anything, so I think, “Hey, maybe something was stuck under there, like a bottle from someone’s recycling or something, and it dislodged when I stopped.” And at this point, I was running out of time to stop for coffee, so I hopped back in my car and headed toward the vet’s office, bummed that I won’t have time to stop for coffee now but glad we’ll still be able to get there on time. Because, you think the idea of something being wrong with my car stresses me out? Not compared to the horror of being late. *shudder*

A few miles later, just on the other side of the halfway point, I hear the noise again — maybe even louder. THUMP THUMP THUMP. So I pull into a neighborhood, and, yes, call my big strong man.

Me: The car is making weird thumping noises.

Jared: Have you checked the tires?

Me: To … see if they’re still there? Um, they’re there, for sure …

Jared: *sigh*

Me: And also I don’t have a flat! Is that what you meant? That’s what you meant.

We decide I should keep driving, albeit slowly (I only heard the noise when I went over 35 mph) to the vet, and Jared would meet me there and see what he could figure out.

I arrived with no further incident (unless you call driving 35 mph down the road an incident, which I’m inclined to do), stopped the car and walked around to let Rudi out. And that’s when I saw the problem: A plastic bag on with some leftover veggie dogs in it, stuck underneath the roof rack.

Jared and I had gone to a pool party the day before, and we’d grabbed the leftover veggie dogs because, well, most people aren’t all that into them, and who am I to waste veggie dogs? I would be a fool to do so!

Not sure who tucked them up there coughJaredcough, but considering what I was CERTAIN I was going to have to spend to get my car fixed, you can imagine how happy I was to see that the only problem my car had was some leftover veggie dogs on the roof.

(Shame to waste them, still, but far better than what I would’ve had to pay to get something fixed. And far less embarrassing than taking it in and having them present me with a bill alongside my leftovers, right?)

Rudi dog

All was well at the vet, if you don’t count the fecal sample extraction. (Rudi totally counts it.)

And, for those of you wondering, Rudi was totally fine — just an annual appointment, and she was a very good girl who made everyone fall in love with her and give her treats.

*Fine, I know exactly who it was. Me. Damn you, Past Kristen.

**If taking one dog to the vet equals 1 unit of craziness, taking two dogs at the same time is some sort of equation with an exponential nature of the like that I can’t even fathom because I didn’t pay attention in algebra (except for FOIL — that, I remember), but let’s just say it’s waaaaaay more than 2x the crazy. So, unless I have an army to back me up, it’s one animal per visit.

***Yesterday — literally, yesterday – I was thinking about how happy I was that my car, even though it’s a few years old, was holding up fairly well. So basically this was all my fault.

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The other day at swim class, we worked on backstroke. And by “worked on backstroke” I mean I tried valiantly to keep from crashing into the lane rope while also not drowning. It didn’t go all that well, but I survived.

Part of the problem was that I kept laughing mid-stroke, which, well, was sometimes due to the fact that I’d crashed — yet AGAIN — into the lane rope, but also because I kept thinking of the video below.

See, our coach kept giving us drills focusing on rotating our bodies but not our heads, and also, trying to find a rhythm. And I had this going on in my head. Also it was 6 in the morning. You can imagine how this went.

H/T to The Bloggess for sharing this video.

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This year started out with a big, sweaty bang. I signed up for two serious races (a long course triathlon and a half marathon) taking place in the spring, which meant that from January until mid-May, my ass belonged to the gym. And the pool. And my bike. You know what I mean.

I followed a pretty intense training schedule leading up the Leadman 125 Tri in April, but, happily, it absolutely paid off. I finished my first serious, major, for-real-I-am-not-even-joking endurance event with a smile on my face and, well, maybe not a spring in my step, but I didn’t shuffle across the finish line, either. It was incredible. Hell, it was life changing.

I took a few days easy after the race and then jumped right back into training for the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. I upped both my running and my wine consumption in the month between the two races (which, for the record? Not the greatest idea to book two races like this so close together, but I had friends involved in both and just couldn’t say no), and set a goal to finish without hating life (which is more than I can say for any other half I’d done before that). I not only finished happily, but I set a PR. And then I drank ALL THE WINE. It was a big win for me, for sure.

Go Team Wine O! (It's legit. We had shirts.)

And now everybody’s asking what’s next.

I’m not totally sure. I’m planning a sprint tri over the Fourth of July weekend, and hoping to kick a little butt in the swim portion of an Olympic distance relay triathlon later that month, but as far as The Next Big Thing? I’m just not sure.

I want to tackle a half Ironman distance race, for sure — after the two races this spring, I know I can do it. But I need to decide which one I want to do. I’ve kept the training up, for the most part (although I’m certainly a little more lax about some of the longer workouts right now since I don’t have a Scary Freaking Race staring me down), so I should be able to prep for one with two or three months’ notice, but … I don’t know. Do I do it soon, while I’m still pumped up from the spring races? Augusta is in September, which is definitely doable. Or do I hold off until spring? Or next fall? Or …

Sheesh, you want to talk about first world problems? Which big fancy race do I do next? Wah, wah, wah. I kind of want to slap myself. But I also want advice — have you done a half Iron (or similar) distance race that you absolutely loved? What made it perfect for you? (Or, if you did one and hated it, I want the scoop on that, too.)

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We have a new cat! Well, not new in the sense that she’s new (she’s 2 years old) or even particularly new to us (we adopted her around Thanksgiving last year). But, she’s new to Jeez-o-petes. Of course, considering I haven’t posted anything since October, I guess a lot of things are new to Jeez-o-petes. I mean, babies have been conceived and BORN since I last wrote anything here.

Whatever. I’m back. With a cat. (You know how I roll.)

So, sure, I could just tell you about her, but I figured, hey! I’m a journalist, right? Why not do an interview? Happily, she agreed to participate for a small fee (wet food for dinner instead of kibble), and so, let me present our newest addition: Trixie.

Me: Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Trix!

Trixie: How long until dinner?

Me: Hahaha, that’s funny. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Trixie: I wasn’t actually joking, but fine. Um, hi, I’m Trixie. I started out on the street and still totally have all my moves, so you best not cross me, woman.

Me: Noted.

Trixie: And those dogs? Tell them, too.

Me: Will do. Now, how do you feel about your roommates, Rudi and Hollie? What’s your relationship like? I’ve noticed that you’ve actually rubbed up on Rudi a time or two recently.

So close, yet so far ...

Trixie: The black one, Rudi … she’s okay. But Hollie? *mumbles under breath* Where did you find her? She’s … got a lot of energy. And good grief, is she loud.

Me: This is true. But, it must be said, Trixie, you’re quite the talker. Why do you have so much to say?

Trixie: Why is my bowl empty so much? And why do you get to eat all the cheese? LIFE IS UNFAIR.

Me: Umm, your bowl is empty because you throw half to the ground while eating it. What’s up with that?

Trixie: Lady, I’ve watched you eat pizza. I don’t really think you have any room to talk.

Me: Hey, let’s change topics! Trixie, what’s your stance on laps?

Trixie: I don’t trust them.

Me: So, the other night when you actually laid on my lap for a minute …?

Trixie: It was a mistake. Let’s never speak of this again. Now, seriously, woman, where is my tuna? And could I get a nibble of that cheese, you think?

 

Trixie was adopted from Puppy Hill Farm Animal Rescue, an organization for which I’m a volunteer and a board member. Trixie was found behind an apartment building with a litter of kittens and was available for adoption for months before Jared and I found her and brought her home. She has a few quirks, but she’s been a great addition to the family. She loves hanging out in the kitchen and chatting us up when we’re making dinner. She bats at Hollie every chance she gets, and I give it another six months before I find her cuddled right up against Rudi. It might be another six months before she’s totally comfortable cuddling up with Jared and me, but that’s okay. We’re not going anywhere. And Rudi is the best snuggler in the family, anyway.

 

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