Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Helping a Friend: I May or May Not be in a Commercial

What do you say when your friend asks you to help her film a commercial on a random Saturday morning? Apparently, I say yes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekend Away: In Defense of North Dakota

Two weeks is longer than I am comfortable without having a new post. In my defense, it has been very busy around here. Nick started his MBA which has triggered my own desire to go to graduate school. This past weekend close friends had a wedding reception (wedding happened earlier this summer in Africa, which you can read about here)and the two day celebration coincided with a second set of good friends coming to visit from out of town. And the weekend before that, I went on a road trip with my friend Sam to North Dakota.
I had never been to North Dakota and I really wanted to go. I really want to go everywhere. I want to see as much of this world as I can and I think it's silly to not see every state in your own country. I have been to 26 states now, including the big ND. I think North Dakota is beautiful. It is completely underappreciated.

I am strugglnig now to find the right words to explain it to you. I often find that happens to me when talking about landscape. It amazes me how far you can see and how little is there. I mean that in the best way possible. Farms and shelter belts

sprinkled around fields of corn, sunflowers, wheat, and soy beans, just to name a few. It is a place where cows and turkeys out number humans.
To get to where we were staying we drove four hours West on a higway and then turned onto a much darker, more remote road for another hour and a half. At one point, Sam pointed out lights on the horizon. She said that was our destination and it was twenty miles away.

I took over 100 pictures, mostly from a car window and we were there for 48 hours. I could not stop. The fields,

the clouds,

the sunset,

it is something to be appreciated. The weekend in North Dakota was a great reminder of how many places there really are to see and how much travelling I really need to do.
I think Northen Calfornia is next. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Boys: The Search for Duke and Toby

Yesterday I spent lots of money, time, and sanity at the vet. On the drive home as the boys finally settled down, I started thinking about what it took to find our dogs and how having them the past year, really has changed my life.

I grew up with dogs. In my whole life there was only a one year long period in which, I did not have a dog. It was very difficult. I became puppy obsessed. The way others pine for babies or marriage, I was for canines. I had puppy-fever.

It wasn’t too difficult to convince Nick what needed to be done. The hard part was finding a dog. It seems like for most people they go out to "just look" and magically come home with a fury bundle of joy. Not us. Nick is an engineer and therefore a lot of research went into it. He started reading giant textbook like material and learned as much as he could about breeds, training, etc. Meanwhile, I became addicted to sites like and fell in love day after day.

When Nick finally decided we were ready to become dog owners, we went to a "Puppy Meet and Greet". It is exactly what it sounds like.

It was simultaneously the best and worst way to spend a Saturday. You spend the whole time playing with insanely cute puppies but you leave empty handed, wishing you could take every last one home with you. If you are looking for a dog and live within an hour on Minneapolis, I strongly recommend this shelter. The people who run it, truly care for the animals they help.

We found a puppy that we thought would be perfect for us. We spent time playing with her and set up a time for the shelter to come see our home to make sure it was fit.

Within an hour, of leaving Nick's throat started to close. He had trouble breathing and was completely stuffed up. A week later Nick's doctor confirmed that Nick was highly allergic to dogs. The doctor recommended that we not get a puppy. Nick recommended that we look into hypoallergenic breeds.

I was not happy about the idea. I wanted a dog that could protect me and all I could imagine was a little puff ball that would be better in my purse than on a leash. I finally swallowed my ideas of what I thought I wanted and started looking at the possibilities.

I found miniature schnauzers to be a hypoallergenic breed that was known to be very sweet but protective. I saw a picture of a litter that was just born and fell in love. Nick was hoping for a West Highland Terrier. He grew up with a westie (as they are commonly called) and his whole family just absolutely loves the breed.

I was really hoping to get a rescue dog but after so much time and effort, I was exhausted and just ready to have my dog. I scheduled an appointment with a breeder and the day before we went to go meet the puppies, I received an email from Nick’s eleven-year-old cousin.

She was explaining that her family was moving to Germany on a military assignment and were going to have to give their dogs up for adoption. She went on to say that she knew Nick and I had been looking for a dog and was wondering if we would be interested in taking their dogs. Toby, a four-year-old miniature schnauzer and Duke, a ten-year-old westie. The exact two breeds we had been looking for.

It was a rescue of the best kind. We have had the boys for over a year now and every day I fall in love all over again.

Toby is a rascal. He is so much trouble but he is also the most loving dog I have ever known.

Duke is our old man. He’s stubborn and quirky but mellow and sweet. Everyday when I turn down my street after a long day at work, I feel my spirit pick up when I remember that as soon as I open the door, I will be greeted by those cute faces and wagging tails and for that I am so grateful.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change: Going All Out

So something happened today. I don't know what but it's as if a match was lit inside me. I'm so fired up. Something seemingly small happened at work and it was, as they say, the straw that broke the camel's back.
I went home last week to Boston and it became strikingly clear that something had to give. A change. I felt it but was not quite sure what to do with it. The feelings made being in Boston hard and leaving, even harder. Since I have been back I have been tossing thoughts in my head. On the bus, I sit and dissect my life. I look at each piece of it. Is this working? Is this what I want? What to do? How to change? What to change? You know how when something is going on in your life it seems as though the whole world is making references to it. That's how it is. This morning I was on the bus reading "The Secret Life of Bees", (great book) and a line in it was,

May was saying that when it's time to die,
go ahead and die,
and when it's time to live, live.
Don't sort-of-maybe live,
but live like you're going all out,
like you're not afraid.

Today something pushed. It's not like everything is clear but it's starting to make a little more sense. I hate that I have to be at work right now, in a cube, staring at spreadsheets because all I want to do is go home and make things happen.
I know I am being vague right now but it is not as a teaser. It is because I am writing this as it develops. I don't think it will be one change, I am hoping for a series of changes. A series of steps that bring me somewhere new and exciting. When I write things, even just to myself, it makes it real. Sharing it with whoever reads this, makes it even stronger. Hopefully that strength will carry me when I don't feel as excited as I do right now. Carry me through the mornings when the guy at the coffee shop does not add a shot of espresso to my coffee. Wish me luck. I promise to update with more detail. When there are details.