Tag Archives: entertainment

And I get a new name!

Having realized that structure is essential to my mental well-being and that getting out of the house is absolutely vital for my sanity – and thus the general health of my marriage – I have made big plans to leave the house today.  I wrote down time frames and everything.

It seems, however, that I am out to get myself, and I make little deals with myself all day to get out of actually stepping through the threshold and out into the world.  Example:

Me1: “Bird, you will walk the dog at 2pm and then get your butt to the library and apply for some jobs and graduate schools! Okay?”
Me2: “Sure!  That sounds fine, and totally reasonable, except I just put in this banana bread and I can’t very well leave it baking alone in the house.  How about I walk the dog at 3?”
Me1: “Well, fine, you can walk the dog at 3, but then, to the library you go!”

I’ll spare you the whole monologue, but let it suffice to say that it is 4:27 and I am sitting in a rather comfy chair in my dining room.  Foiled again!

But here’s what I am doing: setting things up that I just cannot get out of.  For example?  Roller derby.

I know, I know, we broke up.  We broke up twice, or maybe three times now.  Yes, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship.  But you know that first true love who you promised to always love, forever and ever, no matter what, even if you married other people and had families you would always love each other at least somewhere in your heart?  Well, Roller Derby and I did that.

While I’m not skating right now and I’m unemployed, I realized that I sort of need roller derby, especially since otherwise, I would never leave the house. So, as a former coxswain, I have decided to be a referee.  I have been to 3 scrimmages in this role, and you know what? It’s kind of awesome, and not enough people talk about how awesome it is.  It’s roller derby without getting hurt; it’s roller derby without the jitters before the whistle blows – because, ahem, I am the one blowing the whistle.

I have a ton to learn: the rules, in detail, the hand signals, how to skate while paying attention to whether other girls skating are following those rules, all while not falling over or getting run into or skating into the coaches yelling at them from the sidelines.

Anyway.  I don’t have much to say beyond that I’m excited, that I am leaving the house, and that, while my heart has been broken once or twice (or, um, three or four times) by roller derby, I’m still really, really excited to be a part of it again.*

Now tell me: what do you do to get out of the house?  How do you keep from going crazy?  If you think I’m not going crazy, just wait for the video on tomorrow’s Flying Dingo.  Yes, a video… of dog boots.  Coming soon from a Crazy Near You.

*Side effects vary, but already I’m working out religiously, because how can you not want to be in shape when surrounded by women made entirely of muscle and brute force?  I feel better already. Also, now I don’t have to feel sad every time I see that I still have a Roller Derby tag on my blog. Woo hoo unexpected side effects!

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Yes, I am technically comparing myself to the dog

Back when I first got Daphne, I suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.  Like, yes, I did know how to have a dog, essentially: you feed it, you walk it, you teach it to behave the way you want it to.  This is sort of like saying I know how to have a baby: you feed it, you change it, you try to figure out why it’s crying and how to make it stop.  I still don’t have a baby, so I have no idea how accurate that is, but I suspect it’s an understatement.

In order to figure out how to have a dog and that I wasn’t Doing It All Wrong, I started to read a ton of dog books.  My all time favorite is Jon Katz’s book Katz on Dogs.  Okay, it’s a corny title, but I love me some Jon Katz.  He has written a ton of books about dogs; the first one I read was The New Work of Dogs. Basically, this guy gets that dogs are really important, but also that they are not people, they are dogs.

Why am I writing about this on my real blog instead of my dog blog (um, haha, remember when I said I would stop plugging my dog blog soon?  I guess it’s not soon yet.)?  Because there’s one thing he wrote about that I keep thinking about.  I can’t find the exact quote, but he basically says that crate training your dog gives it a job to do.  The dog knows that while she’s in her crate, her job is to sleep or to chew the chew toy in her crate.  If you leave her home alone outside of her crate, she has no idea what her “job” is, and that’s when she gets destructive.  Maybe her job is taking apart your dining room table, one sliver of wood at a time; maybe it’s trying to find what components make up the soles of your favorite shoes.  The idea is that dogs aren’t destructive just because they like ruining your stuff, but because they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing; they need the rules and structure (and quiet time) that a crate provides.

You guys, I need a crate.  I really, really need a crate. I’ve enjoyed this time of unemployment, but I’m finding myself suddenly feeling a little bit lost, a little drifty.  I need structure, rules.  Someone, tell me what to do?

I had my great How to Be Unemployed Tips last week, and I maintain that they are good ones.  But I’m also discovering that they are not enough for me.  How can I have Time Off if I don’t have some hardcore Time On?  So here’s my public declaration: starting Monday, I will Do Better.  If no one else is giving me structure, I will make some myself.  Remember, world (and self), the time you spend being unemployed is finite, and you will miss it when it’s gone.

What are your tips for keeping your sanity?  Does anyone want to plan my days for me?  Yes?

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In which I answer some questions

Apparently, I’m taking the Pet Blogger Challenge:

The Challenge, as I understand it, is a time for bloggers to reflect on their blogs, why and how they write them, and… share?

At first, I though this was silly, because I don’t really care about why other people write, I just want to read their entertaining, witty, educational, interesting work.  So obviously you don’t care either (because I generally assume that I’m writing for an audience of me).  But then I noticed a lot of really interesting answers popping up on the blogs I read, and while I’m not yet a “pet blogger” (I think), I did start thinking about what my answers would be.

1. When did you begin your blog?

I started last January. And just to double check, I looked at my first post – happy belated birthday, blog! I started writing here on January 8th of last year.

the first picture I posted on the blog

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

Turtle and I had gotten engaged a few months before and I had been reading wedding blogs for awhile.  There was a lot that I was thinking about weddings and wedding culture and I really wanted somewhere to participate in the conversation.  At the time, I didn’t find a lot of writing that resonated with me; I couldn’t find anything written for the audience of me (planning a small, gay, non-WIC wedding), so I decided to be that writer.

3. Is your current purpose the same?

I am trying to remember that purpose when I feel like I’m in a slump.  Like, does anyone else really care what specific method I used to teach my dog to go into her crate?  Well, the answer is that I would care, so yes.  But I really don’t care about the sewing pattern you used for something – that just is not my thing.  Please don’t expect to see any sewing patterns shared here.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I started blogging when I felt like it, which was anywhere from daily to weekly.  Since participating in NaBloPoMo and writing daily in November, I realized I do enjoy a regular schedule. I also enjoy reading blogs that I know post regularly, so I’m trying to follow their example.  Realistically?  I am not going to be able to post every day, but I think I can handle every weekday, so that’s what I’m aiming for.  Since starting Flying Dingo, this may change.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)?   If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?

I love having somewhere to dump my thoughts, to be sassy if I want to, and to have such awesome support from readers!  It’s really created an important community for me here. I look forward the comments and the ensuing conversations.  I love finding out that someone whose blog I love is reading my blog.  I love when people I know in real life say hi and sort of mumble, “I stalk your blog.”  I know, it’s sort of awkward, but it makes my day.  You know me and you like my writing?! Super extra happy points.

7. What do you like least?

I have a hard time when I’m not inspired to write something, but I feel like I *should* write anyway.  I love knowing that posts on some of my favorite sites will be up by 7 am, and I want to provide the same thing; what is hard is when I’m not inspired until mid-morning.  Really, I know 3 hours doesn’t make a huge difference, but I feel bad about it.  Sorry.

8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?

I hope to find a little more direction this year.  Now that the wedding is over, I need something to focus on; it seems to be The Beast these days, but I’ve turned to Flying Dingo for that, and I hope to keep writing here about terribly entertaining things like how we keep the heat at 50 degrees during the day (yes, my fingers are freezing right now) and how I reffed my first roller derby scrimmage last night.  What, I didn’t mention I was considering joining the ref team?  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that later.

this is me blogging, right now. and by blogging I mean defending my lap from Jake. Yes, it's 53 degrees in the house now, and the warmest spot around is on my lap where the computer is cozy.

Thanks, all of you, for reading and commenting and saying hello!  You’re the best. For serious.

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The Thrill of the Chaos

Some people enjoy the Thrill of the Hunt or the Thrill of the Chase… it seems, my friends, that I enjoy the Thrill of Being Ridiculously Busy.

though I am capable of relaxing! see??

Since I’m leaving my job in less than two weeks, and I know it might take me a long time to find another job, I decided to start stocking up on money-making activities here and there.  I mentioned I was looking for something extra and a friend called me when her company needed some data entry done; I put up my petsitting cards at a local petstore (guys, I know it’s owned by PetCo, but I love UnLeashed – such a good petstore!) and now I’m walking and doing some positive-reinforcement training with a puppy in town on top of my regular clients; I stopped in at my favorite cookie-only bakery (okay, so there’s only one of those I know of, but it would be my favorite even if it wasn’t the only one) to buy cookies and on a whim asked if they were hiring – now I’m working there a few hours a week.

sky's the limit on insanity!

So I’m basically working four jobs through Christmas, and yes, I am a little bit stressed out, but also – I feel SO GOOD.  Every free moment is a moment I could do something with.  Quick! I have five minutes while the water boils for tea! Time to make that Christmas ornament I’ve been putting off! Okay, here’s another ten minutes before I have to leave: I’ll put tape on the windows and put the plastic up in a few days when I have fifteen minutes to spare.  I am getting an absolute thrill from being so damn busy.

At the end of the day, I am exhausted and usually either asleep or incredibly grumpy (sorry Wife!) by 9:30 at night, but I also feel so productive.  Maybe I don’t have a Thing, but maybe my Thing is trying to keep my head up without losing my shit.  In a good way.

It's all a delicate balance, sort of like a giant chess game. Like THIS giant chess game.

Are you someone who prefers to be busy than, you know, relaxed?  What do you do when you have too much time on your hands?  Does anyone besides somewhat crazy me ever actually feel like they have too much time on their hands?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Hopefully my posts don’t start sounding a little manic as these jobs pick up… please tell me if they do.  Or just sit in the corner being quietly entertained by me, and occasionally check in with my wife to make sure she’s doing alright.

*All photos from our Awesome  Honeymoon, which I may or may not someday get around to telling you about.  Er, about which I may or may not someday getting around to telling you. Yeah.

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Sunday Selections

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  You all are probably either having Thanksgiving on Thursday or having it in a completely different month, but where we are Thursday is inconvenient.  As you are reading this, I am probably frantically trying to make two pies.  Last year we had Pear and Fingernail Pie; this year I’ll be more careful peeling the fruit and hope for only pear and apple.  Wish me luck.

In the meantime, here are some websites and pictures that I have thoroughly enjoyed that you should probably look at.  Happy Sunday!

I absolutely love Leah’s site Thx Thx Thx.  I think it makes me more grateful for a lot of little things, and it’s a good way to kick of a Thanksgiving post!

What does it mean to be a lesbian?  Here’s a great video.

Okay, I know we all love Harry Potter, and I am sad I haven’t been able to see it yet (but thankful that I can continue to look forward to seeing it!).  You know who else we love? Hermione Granger. Or, um, Emma Watson and her sassy new hair:

Other thoughts: Marriage is so gay.  Some engagement pictures to illustrate that fact:

Thanks for sharing these, Colin and Robin!  Photo by Louis Stein.

Check out some secrets of a happy marriage, or appreciating choices, or loving where you are.

And! My possibly-all-time-favorite website is kicking off Operation Community. I might have mentioned A Practical Wedding once or twice. It took me awhile to articulate what APW and Team Practical mean to me, but I finally summed it up in this comment:

APW isn’t about weddings, at least in my life. It’s about the conversation and the women and the affirmation, and sorting it all out through talking and getting feedback rather than sitting on it by ourselves. Reading APW made me so much braver about my wedding, but now that the wedding is over, I feel so much braver about everything else.

Next, I bring you a favorite picture from this summer: my wife (then-fiancee) meeting my grandfather for the first time at our family reunion.  One thing I am incredibly grateful for this year is my family, both despite and because of all of the ways it is shifting and growing and all of the ways we are learning to define and redefine it. I love you guys a whole lot.

I wasn’t going to turn this into a big thank you or Thanksgiving post, but the truth of the whole thing is that I am really grateful for this blog.  Sometimes I call it silly, sometimes I brush it off, but it has been incredibly important to me over the last year for planning, for connecting, for feeling like I am a part of something, even if it’s just a little piece of the sane-wedding-planning-corner on the internet.  Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments, thank you for giving me a reason (or excuse) to keep writing.  You guys are awesome.

you make me smile. thanks.

 

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Battling Boston on Bicycle

I love riding my bicycle like whoa.  I love being out in the world, and feeling like I have really been everywhere I travel.  You know, when you fly and there’s a layover in Chicago, even if you spend an hour there, you haven’t been to Chicago.  That’s what driving is like.  Just because you drive through Porter Square every day doesn’t mean you’ve been to Porter Square.  But do it by bike? You’ve been there! You can slow down, walk, window shop.  You feel the Porter Square breeze in breeze.  You can really be there.

Besides that, gas is apparently over $3 right now, and since I got my tires changed my mileage is decreasing rapidly.  I am not willing to drive around when 1. it’s just me in the car; 2. it’s still light out; and 3. exercise still provides endorphins.  With all the holiday petsitting I have going on this week, I not only have the opportunity to make a little more income, but also to gain about a million endorphins.  If you could count them, which I have decided you can.  Please don’t correct me.

me, on endorphins. (I hope you all appreciate how willing I am to post embarrassing pictures of myself.)

So here are some tales from the 12+ miles I rode today:

  1. I stopped at a light on my way out of Cambridge.  There was a bicycle coming up behind me; I had seen his lights approaching when I had turned onto Mass Ave.  I braced myself as I stopped at the light, and decided not to yell at him.  Today, be nice! was my thought.  Well! He never whizzed by me – he just stopped behind me, and when they light changed to green, we both continued on our way.  I wanted to thank him, but that’s always awkward; let it be known that I flung grateful endorphins at him, at least in my mind.
  2. It was getting dark out, and I was well-lit (of course, because I’m amazing like that.  And also I don’t want to die because a car didn’t see me.). I was taking a right on a green light, and there was a bicycle riding along the sidewalk… who rode right off the sidewalk and almost into me! Luckily, I was in a good mood, so I responded by calling (not yelling), “Hey, please watch out for other bicycles!”  To which the lovely gentleman – who, by the way, did not have ANY lights – responded, “Ehhhh, shaddup!”  Um, to which I responded, “No, you shut up!” and then rode away as fast as I could.  He wasn’t moving very fast, but I was taking no chances with an angry Bostonian.
  3. I stopped at a light at a very busy intersection near our house and waiting for my green light.  There was an older woman walking along the sidewalk.  And then! Out of nowhere, a bicyclist on a very fancy bike in very fancy spandex FLEW THROUGH THE INTERSECTION. He did not even hesitate, or look both ways, or anything!  And in my shock, I yelled (yes, this time I yelled), “It’s a red light!” He sort of waved over his shoulder, but was already gone.  And before I could consider whether I was being a jerk by yelling after him, the little woman said, “Good for you, honey!”
  4. Lastly, I was riding along the road in the bike lane when a truck pulled out and nearly cut me off.  He stopped and as I rode by, navigating around him, I said, “Thank you.” You know, for not killing me, but also for watching out and seeing me and stopping for me.  And he said, “You’re welcome,” and we both meant it, and it was nice to be friendly.

I used to say that riding a bicycle in Boston was sort of like falling in love: you keep your eyes open, hold on tight, and hope you don’t get hurt.  It’s not all up to you.  You try to make good decisions and be smart, but you also count on other people to, you know, not slam into you with their thousands-of-pounds-of-metal-on-wheels.

an accurate depiction of how bicycling in Boston often makes me feel.

Do you ride?  If so, how do you deal with the rules (stop or don’t stop?), the people who interpret them differently than you (a la “the red light is just a suggestion for bicycles”), and the people traveling differently (walking, driving, skateboarding, etc.)?  If you’re not riding yet, what is keeping you off the roads?

PS A few of you might have been expecting an early morning post; sorry for the delay! It had a lot to do with my inability to see the screen, but guess what! Problem solved!  Here is photographic evidence, taking with the assistance of my lovely wife (featured behind my head. Thanks, wife.):

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Silly Saturdays, or How to Dress Your Dog

A couple of days ago, Megan (aka Mrs. Guinea Pig!) posted about her sister’s cute dog and her awesome (um, somewhat shark-like?) cats.  She made a neat video of her cats “foraging” for food, which is a kitty entertainment and weight loss technique that we often suggest to people at the cat-only hospital where I work.  It’s awesome to see it in action; it seems to really work!

Anyway, Megan’s cool video inspired me to try to use the iMovie on my computer, which I never really considered before.  Here is my choppy video, which is not very high quality but is high entertainment (for me, at least).  Warning: the language in the music is not safe for work or for children, so either mute it or just consider yourself warned.

Some background: The first winter I had Daphne, she did not adjust very well. Her paws cracked and bled in the snow, leaving a trail of little bloody specks everywhere she went, and she spent a lot of time shivering. That said, she loved playing in the snow.

I know, she doesn't LOOK maladjusted...

Solution? Dog booties and, of course, a jacket.  She adapted pretty well to the booties, and we’ve had to use them a couple of times since then when she cut her paws (on glass once, on rocks another time) and we needed to keep them clean and dry.

Hardcore dog boots, with the same soles as Merrells. Seriously.

The jacket? Well, it did not go over so well:

A few months later, we tried a t-shirt…

She did much better then, but maybe because she appreciates higher education.

Anyone else clothing their dog?  Anyone else embarrassed about it?  I have to say, we got a lot of flack for our dog booties at the dog park…

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