Crookston's Origin Story

Anyone who knows me knows that there are very few things in this world that I love more than my dog.  Crookston is my fur baby.  He causes me more stress and joy than a dog should, but he's mine.

The thing is, I post a lot of a pictures of him on my Instagram.  Followers know that very few days go by without a new photo of my pup, what they may not know, is the restraint I exercise.

I could post numerous pictures of this pup, daily.  He's so photogenic...well, maybe not.  Crookston is more often than not, under my foot, which means I catch him being awesome quite a bit.

I decided to throw a couple of Crookston's beauty shots up here for those who think, "More dog pictures," in terms of how to lead a happier and healthier life.

Since I posted a crap ton of pictures, it only seems fair to break them up with a bit of verbiage, the back story on this little pooch and how he came to ruin my life for the better:  I was in college and living in a house with five friends.  That year for my birthday, my mom bought me the book, Every Monday Matters.  The book essentially gives you 52 good deeds that you can turn any Monday into a good day.

I cheated and just leafed through the book.  One Monday suggested adopting a pet, so I called my mom and warned her.  It was her fault after all, she'd bought me the book.  She laughed.  I wasn't allowed to have pets where I lived and her and my dad had a dog already.  There was no question that another dog didn't fit into either of our lives.

Except the seed had been planted.  I started browsing Petfinder and looked at our shelter and many surrounding ones.  I went out to the local Humane Society a time or two, but didn't really click with any of the dogs.


Then I saw that the town of Crookston's Humane Society had a litter of puppies that'd been dropped off.  One of the little furballs was this orange puff and I wanted to meet him, if only to cuddle him.  I talked my roommate, Alison, into going, though it wasn't that hard, and she and I made the 20 minute drive.

Boy, were those puppies cute.  The little orange guy wasn't even the cutest one.  There was this one puppy who was running around, all spotted with brown and black flecks and he looked like he belonged on a billboard for adorable dogs or insurance or something.  Alison quickly decided he was the one I should get.  But my eyes drifted back to the orange puff I'd come to see.  He was more lethargic than the other puppies and seemed timid. 

I may have gotten a little ahead of myself.  The Crookston Humane Society continually shuts down due to lack of funding, so it is far from a nice place, in my personal opinion.  I looked around and almost cried.  I wanted to take all of the animals home.  I wanted to find them warm, loving places away from this concrete building.

By this time a volunteer came over and interrupted our puppy bonding.  I asked her about the little orange puppy and found out he'd been close to his sister and she'd been adopted, so she thought he was just missing her.  I ate that up.  My parents had a dog already and here was a puppy who could form a loving relationship with other dogs.  I was sold.

I called my mom and after begging and a little crying over how horrible the Humane Society was, she agreed that we'd take him for the weekend and see how he got along with their dog, Bebo.  I think we both knew there was no way he was going back.  I took DC (the shelter named him Dirty Copper) home and the rest is history.  Obviously, his name was changed because what kind of person names a dog, Dirty Copper?  I moved out of the house later that year and moved home to be with my dog.  Crookston and I are a set and I don't think I'd be able to live somewhere without him and vice versa.
And for anyone who's wondering about the adorable puppy I passed on: turns out he was adopted by a family who's daughters had been conjoined.  The puppy was a gift after they'd been separated from one another, how cool is that?  Everything happens for a reason and that puppy found an amazing family.  Crookston lucked out with me though, because I tolerate his weirdness since I often find myself relating :) 

I'm Not a Lady: A Love Story

I do not dress like a lady.  Yes, I work in a high school so I have to dress with a certain degree of professionalism, but no one would ever accuse me of dressing like a lady.  Ladies wear flowers and chiffon.  Ladies wear soft fabrics that blow perfectly in the breeze and light colors that appeal to the eye.  I do not do this.  I wear leopard prints.  I wear bright colors, or black, but not much in between.  I wear loud clothes.  People sometimes see my outfits and ask if I'm wearing them as a joke.  This is how I dress.  This is who I am.
Sometimes though, I fall in love with something soft, and delicate, and it's so beautiful that I can't live without it.  This blazer was just like that.  I saw it used on an advertisement for a local boutique and just assumed it was sold out.  Two weeks later when I went into the store, I casually looked around and did not see it.  I told myself that sometimes things, clothes, just aren't meant to be, and I left feeling only slightly disappointed.

The thing about great pieces though, is that they're often displayed.  Stores use them to draw us in and get us excited.  I was leaving the store when I saw the blazer, my blazer, on a front window mannequin.  So I went back inside. 

I strip mannequins all the time.  I work in retail and understand the excitement that people experience when they check the tag and it's their size.  I was in that magic moment.  The mannequin was wearing a larger-than-mannequin top and it just so happened that it was my size.

Being the psycho that I am, I stripped down to my tank top in the front of the store (dressing rooms be damned) and threw the blazer on.  It worked.  It was love.  True love.  The kind of love you think you'll only ever read about in Shopaholic books

So even though I'm not a lady, I own a few pieces that might make you think otherwise.  I'm generally loud, and in your face, and sarcastic, but if you dig enough in my closet, you're bound to find a few surprises.

February Goal Review

I am amazed at how quickly this year is flying by.  The thing is, I'm so busy with work(s), school, and having a bit of a social life that I'm really bogged down mentally.  It feels like I just wrote my January Goal Review.  Before we're halfway through March, I thought it'd be a good idea to recap how my 25 before 26 goals are coming along.

1.  Etsy shop- vintage
No progress

2.  Collection of short stories- ready to submit
Really no progress.  Was/am a part of a writing project where I was paired with a senior citizen in the area and am currently in the finishing stages of my creative fiction piece about his life.

3.  New tattoo
Done (2/21/14)
Went in with a friend for her tattoo on Thursday and talked with Darin about my next one.  He agreed that if I wanted it healed by summer, sooner was better.  He also happened to have a cancelation for the next day so I decided to go for it.  I find that the things in life that are meant to be usually have a way of revealing I took the sign and jumped in feet first.

4.  Finish framing prints
No progress.

5.  Blog redesign
No progress.

6.  Buy nice camera
I've done a bit more research, but nothing concrete.

7.  Learn how to do my hair
No progress.  Thinking I want to learn how to French braid my hair.

8.  Go on a trip somewhere new
About two weeks ago, my best friend and her husband came to town and they mentioned this hiking trip (Four Pass Loop) they had planned in Colorado.  It was going to be the two of them along with his brother and sister-in-law.  Luckily, they didn't mind the idea of me fifth-wheeling and I was invited.  So, fingers crossed that I actually start working out to prepare.  Roundtrip tickets are only $200, so it's kind of hard to pass up.  I've never been to Colorado before and this trip would knock out a few goals.

9.  Bring Crookston to dog training class
We're enrolled and about halfway done!  He's not really any better...but whatever, still counts.

10.  Figure out Spanish creds
I've yet to enroll online.  Once I take a real step forward on this one, I'll count it.

11.  No credit card debt
I feel like I'm working on growing, not shrinking.

12.  Send more letters
January: 1 package, 2 postcards, 3 letters.
February: 1 postcard, 6 letters.
Total: 1 package, 3 postcards, 9 letters.

13.  Create realistic workout plan
I was thinking about Roller Derby being my new, and awesome, workout.  But it's been a week and my tailbone still hurts and according to the internet, it can take 6 months to a year to that makes me nervous.

14.  Learn to crochet
No progress.

15.  Grow closer to God
Still reading my Catholic book.  Lent will be a good motivator, nothing like God peer pressuring you into a better person.  I've also looked into joining a Young Adult group at my church.

16.  Complete a 5K
No progress.

17.  Volunteer
I've officially completed orientation at the Mission and have the go-ahead to start volunteering.  Jenna, my sister, also went through orientation so it'll also be a bonding experience.

18.  Finally go to the drive in theater
This is a summertime goal.

19.  Renaissance Festival

20.  Read 40+ books
I just realized I haven't finished a book during February.  I've started and done work on some, but no actual finished books.  I even lost one that I just had a chapter left to read.  Ugh.

21.  Print more photos
No progress.  My albums are all full so I'll need to buy a new one and then I'll fill it up.

22.  Create more
February was evidently a lazy month.  I didn't create much...if anything.

23.  Go camping
Summer goal.  If I go on the hiking trip, this one will also be knocked out.

24.  Make a quilt
I've actually been thinking a lot about this one lately.  March may just be my starting month.

25.  Get my passport
No progress, but a friend wants to go to a concert in Canada, so I need to get on it.

Student Playlist

I mentioned on my twitter that a student wrote down a bunch of songs for me to listen to that he thought I'd like/he wanted to talk about.  Instead of YouTube-ing each one individually, I threw them all onto a playlist on Grooveshark.  Here it is for anyone who is interested in what "the kids" are listening to these days (obviously that last sentence was supposed to be read in an old person voice).  Enjoy!

Roller Derby Girl

I've been doing a lot of thinking about roller derby as of late.  A number of years I went to a bout and had a fantastic time.  I even mentioned in that post that I wanted to join but couldn't find any information about the team.

So I recently, randomly, started thinking about roller derby again.  I've been looking for motivation to start working out again, and thought that I needed something different and fun (I tried Zumba for a few months last year and it was not for me).

One night my mom randomly brought up roller derby.  She said she thought it'd be fun and made some other quick, light comment that I'm sure she didn't think twice about.  About a week later, I randomly caught Whip It on TV and decided it was a sign that I should at least ask the local team about tryouts.

After a bit of back and forth on the Sugar Beaters Facebook page, I decided to go for a practice and see what I thought.

Now I haven't skated in years...many, many, years.  We're talking, third-grade roller rink birthday party, years.  But I still thought I'd be okay.  I mean, how hard could it be to skate on four wheels?

Hard.  Not as hard as the concrete I smashed into as I fell thirteen seconds into my night.  But hard.

After that initial fall, I was pretty sure my tailbone was broken.  I sat there, these strange women I'd never met gathering around me to make sure I was okay, and I thought about taking the skates off and just being done.  If I couldn't skate ten feet without seriously hurting myself, what was I doing?

But somehow I was encouraged to try again.  I was taught how to fall properly so that it didn't hurt as much.  I spent the next hour practicing skating around the outside of the mapped out rink while the ladies on the team had practice inside the blue lines.

About an hour and fifteen minutes into my reintroduction to skating, I was practicing stops when I started to fall back again, as opposed to the preferred falling forward method.  I twisted my hips so I'd land more on my side instead of on my tailbone, again.  So, of course, I ended up doing another bad thing and falling on my arm. 

At that point, one of the gals, probably sensing my physical pain and anguish, told me that I had done a fantastic job but could take off my skates and just watch the rest of practice if I that's exactly what I did.  I'd skated longer than I'd thought I could but had no idea how to gauge if I should keep going or if it was a, go until you're dead, sort of thing.

Long story, short: I liked roller derby.  I liked it a lot.  I'm planning on going back at least for a few more practices until I'm allowed to scrimmage with the team.  Despite the pain I feel sitting, standing, walking, etc, it was worth it.  Roller derby might not be for me in the long run, but for right now, I'm having a good time.

Tattoo Inspiration

So everyone says that once you've had a tattoo, you've been bitten by a bug that will never be satisfied.  While my first tattoo was not painful by any stretch of the imagination, it did not leave me planning sleeves or extreme back pieces.  This is not to say that I don't want another tattoo, because I definitely am planning on getting another one before I turn 26, but it isn't out of a deep-rooted obsession, more out of promise fulfillment.

Before I even had my first tattoo planned and scheduled, I'd talked with a friend about getting matching tattoos.  This was a number of years ago and neither of us had any ink.  He casually mentioned, while driving me and a friend around, that he was thinking of getting a piece of silverware or something similar on this leg.  We were both in a wedding together and spent a lot of time joking about tattoos, YOLO tramp stamps were an option, and I made the comment that I'd get whatever he'd get--if only because I think I needed that pressure or push to take the initial tattoo plunge.

A few years went by and we lost contact.  But then a chance run-in at a restaurant in a city where I didn't live and he was moving away from, caused us to reconnect.  He brought up the matching tattoos and said he was still game if I was.

This time though, I was the one in control.  He told me to pick whatever and he'd get it's identical twin tattooed on his body as well.  Again, a lot of time was spent joking about potential tattoos; I mentioned Justin Bieber, my name, things I thought would be funny on a guy's body.  We never seemed to make any serious headway on our matching tattoos.

Last summer he got his first tattoo on the top of his leg and a few months later I took the plunge and got the little guy behind my ear...and by little guy, I mean small tattoo, not a tattoo of a small person.

Then winter came and we lost Jeff.  After his funeral, a couple of us were sitting in a diner talking about memorial tattoos, partially joking, partially serious.  Everyone was sketching tattoo ideas onto napkins that were based on his nickname.  But the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about my friend was the moon.

tatuaje pequeno de luna
During many of our texting conversations, Jeff would talk about the moon, stating whatever phase it was at that night.  It came to be that when I'd look at the moon, I'd think of him.  Now that he's gone, this still holds true.  Whenever I miss him, all I have to do is look upward and I don't feel quite so alone.  Now that Jeff is gone, it only seems fair to get a tattoo with him...for him...and now the choice is pretty obvious.  Who knows, maybe I can sneak a YOLO somewhere on the moon's surface.

Mayday, Mayday: It's V-Day

Today is Valentine's Day and all around the blog-o-sphere are people expressing their love for this holiday.  I do not personally celebrate Valentine's Day, but I enjoy how happy it makes people.

I don't support the Valentine's Day holiday as I perceived it in high school.  High school caused my feelings of disdain to grow for this "Created by Hallmark" occasion.  I remember the over-the-top gestures of love (was it really love, guys?) and the exclusivity of "I have a boy/girlfriend."  I didn't really date in high school, and when I did toward the end of my junior year, I chose to abstain from the celebration.  I didn't want to be one of "those people."

As I've grown older, I've found that I no longer hate V-Day.  I tolerate it.  I mark it on my calendar and smile for others as they squeal over flowers, chocolates, teddy bears, cars...I don't know...whatever gift their significant other felt obligated to get for them.  I find happiness in their happiness.  But I don't celebrate it.

People assume that being single is the only reason not to enjoy the holiday and maybe when I was in high school, that was true.  But I'm older now and have experienced a few February 14ths with boyfriends and a few without and my opinion has never changed.

The problem is that when I say I'm against something, or don't really like it, the universe plots against me and makes sure that I have the most spectacular holiday/event ever.  For example, a number of years ago, I told numerous friends that I wasn't into Halloween...and that year I had four costumes.  Good play, Universe.

So here I am this year, apathetic to Valentine's Day and the outpour of love from my friends has been tremendous.  From a Galentine's Day card (a holiday I know I'll go all out for next year) to a few legitimate Valentine's Day cards from friends saying how much they love me.  Let's not forget the funniest FB post from one of my best friends, how can you not feel loved?

Dating: AKA Being Too Nice

Not a lot of people know this about me, but this year (well, these past few months) I decided to give online dating a try.  A friend of mine had been doing it for a few months and wasn't seeing much success so decided to pull me in as an objective third-party to see what parts of his profile could use some updating.  After playing around on his profile and learning how and what constitutes a good e-mail (and also being weirded out by the whole "winking" feature), I decided to go for it...what did I have to lose?

Within minutes of posting, my profile, sans photo I might add, started having the success that had alluded my friend.  Evidently this was a small pond and being female made me a big fish.  I updated my profile, adding personal information, pictures, and doing the things numerous coworkers suggested (one met his spouse through the site and the other coworker met her boyfriend of about a year on there).  And I met a lot of people.

The thing about online dating is that it's hard to shut people down.  Sure, I'd receive ridiculous messages from men twice my age and I also received the generic, "Hi, you look cool, check out my profile and let me know what you think" messages.  Those were easy to ignore.  But I also received funny, thoughtful messages from men who didn't exactly fit my preconceived notion of who I was looking for.

A gentleman who was 38 (13 years older than me for those keeping track) quoted the book that I'd mentioned last reading on my profile along with a number of kind, and insightful, questions.  I felt the need to respond because if that guy could take the time to write me, the least I could do was reply.

But when could I stop?  When was I allowed to say, thanks, but no thanks?  A lot of the guys I was messaging back and forth felt more like pen pals than potential dates.  I liked learning about them, but wasn't overly eager to meet them in person.  This was something new though, so I told myself I had to go outside my comfort zone.  So I agreed to dates with guys older than what I'd stated I was interested in, I agreed to dates with nearly every guy who mentioned my dog (because he really is the most important thing in my life), and I agreed to dates to just be nice in general...because it's hard to connect with someone online, so didn't they deserve a chance to make a real-life impression?

I had some great dates.  There were dates where I spent most of the night laughing and the waiter long forgot about us because we spent too much time talking.  There were dates that left me floating for days, imagining the next one, and eagerly waiting for a text message.  And there were also bad dates.  Dates where the guy I was out with finished one drink after another and refused to take a cab home or accept a ride home from me.  There were dates where I was insulted personally.  There were dates that made me call my friends seconds after they ended because "this doesn't just happen to me, right?"

The worst dates in my mind weren't the horrific ones though, because I love having a story to share as much as the next guy.  The worst dates were the ones where the guy was nice, we had a lot in common, but I just wasn't feeling it.

There's something really difficult about not connecting with someone.  After one of these dates, I told myself that maybe it was because it was our first date.  Maybe the next one would be better.  But then the next date would come and I would sit there, having an okay time, talking about our lives and sharing stories, but not caring whether or not he got up and walked out of my life forever.  I thought that when you felt this way it was because you both weren't connecting.  The trouble I learned is that sometimes, okay is all that a guy wants.

So I fielded calls and texts from sweet guys who really did have a lot to offer.  I kept returning text messages because, "it's not like he did anything wrong."  I didn't want to be an adult and say, "hey, thanks for dinner, but I'm just not feeling it."  There's something horribly gross about telling someone that you're not into them, especially when it's just a feeling.

Just a feeling.  As a female, I have to apologize for my feelings all the time.  I have to worry about how everyone else feels, all of the time.  I was raised by my family, and by the state of North Dakota in general, to be nice.  And it's not nice to ignore someone who likes you.  We're taught that we need to give people numerous chances.  We're taught to let people down gently.  We're taught that we need to almost care more about other people's feelings than our own.

I wish I could say that I had an epiphany one day and decided I was going to be accountable for my own feelings and share them with another person no matter how it made them feel...but it wasn't me.  It was those damn coworkers who asked me, point blank, if I was trying to keep this guy on a string for later.  After immediately feeling defensive, I realized that that really is what it seemed like.  I was too nice to let him go so that he could find someone who liked him for him...and that's not very nice at all.

Typewriter-Week 5

I'm done with my typewriter quotes and thoughts. After a month of doing one every day, I thought the first few days of February would feel weird without my typewriter sitting in the middle of the floor. Maybe it would have felt weird, but I moved my typewriter from my bedroom floor to my closet floor where I won't trip over it daily. Even though it's over, there are still days where I find myself wanting to write a letter on the beast. I've almost pulled it out a couple of times, but for the most part, I've just been so busy that I haven't missed it too terribly much. All that's left are two quotes. The last one ended up being one of my favorites from the entire month. Feel free to look back on the intro, week 1, 2, 3, and 4.

January 30
January 31

Looking back, I thought it was pretty cool that I did something for 31 straight days.  I tried to decide what to do for every day of February (as you may recall).  Originally, I was going to do something with my birthday-deadline goals but then it was February 2nd and I hadn't done much of anything productive.  All I'd done was taken a selfie each that's what I'm doing.  Selfie a day for the duration of February.  It feels a little vain so I'm not posting very many of them to Instagram.  I've also decided I'm not just doing pretty selfies, some of them have been pretty ratchet so far.  Here's to self love in February!