on learning how to love again

I will admit, I have been in a bad place since Daisy died.

The perks of spending most of your late teens/early 20s suffering from depression is that you get really good at it. I can go to work, I can smile and say good morning, I can laugh at your stupid jokes, I can come home and make dinner and everything can appear perfectly normal. But if you would look into my soul, you would see a barren wasteland. I feel somewhat dead inside. And in those quiet moments, when I’m driving home from work…when I’m getting ready for bed…when I’m sitting on the couch on a Friday night, I break down a bit.

It’s getting better. Time heals all wounds, right?

Dogs also heal wounds.

We started to look for another dog pretty soon after, probably too soon after. I just needed something to focus my energy on and we wanted to get another dog eventually, so it seemed like a good idea. It was a terrible idea.

We would search the rescue sites daily looking for a dog that would work for us. We wanted something medium-sized, preferably female, somewhere around 3-5 years old. We submitted application after application and half of the time heard nothing back. The other half of the time we did hear back, but we were 3rd, 8th, 45th on the list to look at the dog. I was getting discouraged, I was getting even more depressed. I wanted a dog, I will love a dog more than anyone else even knows is possible, why can’t I have a dog? We expanded our search from only females, we expanded from medium to all sizes, we even looked at puppies. I told Keith I would take any dog but a yellow lab. Maybe one day, but not yet.

I started to consider getting a puppy from a breeder. If any lab breeders had actually had available litters, it would have been a done deal, but none were up for grabs.

And then my friend Amber, knowing my plight, mentioned that a friend of hers was trying to rehome a husky puppy, were we interested?

Of course. I knew nothing about huskies, I did not want a puppy, but I needed a dog and it was becoming impossible to find one.

Amber hooked me up with Sarah and we set up a meeting a few days later.

We met Sarah, her boyfriend, and Meeko at a dog park in Murraysville. Sarah owned the mom and one female from the litter. Meeko had been given away as a pup but had recently been given back. He had been kept outside and she just wanted to find him a loving (inside) home.

I will admit, it was not love at first sight. He felt a little standoffish. He didn’t really want anything to do with any of us, he just wanted to run around with the other few dogs that were there.

But there were no red flags, this was a dog that needed love and a home, and we had a plenty of both. I turned to Keith, “I think we just got a dog.”

We took him home and in the car decided to rename him.

“Loki,” I suggested, “the god of mischief.” While waiting the few days to meet Meeko, I did a lot of reading about huskies.

“It’s your dog,” Keith said.

So Loki it was.

The next few weeks were very trying. Loki is very high energy, Loki is also a puppy. I have never been solely responsible for a puppy and it was a lot to handle. He wanted to play all the time, which fine, okay. But he is also 50lbs. And can fit my entire forearm in his mouth, a skill that he would demonstrate time and time again. And bruise and bruise again.

He wasn’t used to being inside. He wasn’t used to us. He did remarkably well with house training, though. Multiple accidents for about 3 days and then only a few here and there for a week. He’s now fully trained on ringing the bells to go out. (And that training, I totally half-assed, but he was smart enough to overcome my laziness.)

There were multiple times where he made me cry. He wouldn’t listen to me, he would get entirely too worked up, he wasn’t Daisy.

Things slowly started to get a little better, but not great, and then one night we had a turning point which may have saved me from my breaking point. I was laying in bed, attempting to write a blog post…something about life after Daisy and I started to cry. And then I started to bawl and gave up. There I was, on the bed bawling my eyes out with the dog somewhere on the floor.

The next thing I know, he jumps up onto the bed, and instead of biting me or pawing at me, he wraps one paw around my waist and curls into me. I was stunned.

And remarkably, after that, things began to get better. The bruises began to fade. The tears began to dry. And in the barren wasteland of my soul, something began to grow.

Loki is a totally different dog from the one we brought home 2 months ago. He’s now my buddy. He’s still very high energy, but he can focus that energy on his dozens of toys instead of me. He follows me around the house, cries when I leave him, we take naps together on the couch and curl up in bed each night before Keith comes up.

Loki is a totally different dog than Daisy. He loves other dogs, he loves the park, he will chew on squeaky toys for hours when Daisy never wanted anything to do with them. He does not let us sleep in and he has no fear. But I think his differences have helped my healing. I have not once felt like I replaced Daisy because he is her polar opposite.

I will never in my life stop loving Daisy, but there might be room to start loving one more.


#mcwed, part 1

As of today, Keith and I have been married for a month! It’s hard to believe it has been that long. People keep asking me if it feels any different and the answer is a big fat no. I guess when you have lived together for 5 years, have a house, a dog, joint bank accounts, a little piece of paper doesn’t change much. I finally got my new social security card, so I’m in the process of officially changing my name, and that’s the only part that feels a little different. But enough yapping, let’s get to some pictures! I’m not going to *try not to* post them all here, just some highlights. The rest will end up on facebook.

The day began early. I woke up around 7:45, grabbed the bag I had packed, smooched the still sleeping Keith, grabbed Daisy, and my father in law picked us up.

Got to my in-laws approximately 3 minutes later, and Ashley was already there, prepping her hair supplies. She got me in some hot rollers while we waited for the rest of my bridal party to arrive. Jonathan and Tiffany arrived and Jason arrived and my very own reality show was born.

All photos by hot metal studio.

Getting Ready
Keith’s mom putting some finishing touches on our cake.

Getting Ready
Getting beautified while Jason films on.

Getting Ready
Brittney is the brow guru and this photo is proof.

Getting Ready
Ryan and Elyse brought champagne.

Getting Ready
This one makes me laugh.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready
Daisy was bored.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready
Daisy gets all the love.

Getting Ready
Jonathan snuck down to take some pictures of Keith. Man my grey walls look good. I wish I had remembered to take those sheets off the couch though.

Getting Ready
I love this one. Daisy loves her mama.

Getting Ready
Hair time!

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

I started to get a little nervous about time at this point. For some reason I thought my wedding would be the one wedding to actually run on the schedule I had set it. I enlisted my mom and Brooke to help me get my dress on.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready
This is my, “I hope it zips” face.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Getting Ready
Then Ashley came up to put my veil on, and show Brooke how to remove it.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Then I got my lips on and Ryan, Jason and I zoomed up to the barn to meet Keith.

…to be continued.

a night’s tale

One upon a time there was a beautiful dog. She lived in a house with a woman, three children and a bulldog. The bulldog’s name was Ug (I am pretty sure this is true, but I also could have made it up) and the beautiful dog was named Daisy. The woman decided that she didn’t have time for Daisy anymore (but apparently still had time for Ug), so she made plans to get rid of Daisy while she was on vacation. She passed off Daisy to a friend of her father, Terry, who Keith’s mom worked with. We got an email asking if we were interested in a 3 year old golden retriever. Of course we were! Then it got changed to a 5 year old. Of course! No, not a golden retriever, a lab. Sure! (We later were told by a vet that Daisy was closer to 8 than 5, but whatever.)

We went to Terry’s house to meet Daisy and fell in love immediately. We made plans to come back 2 days later to pick her up, giving us time to buy everything we needed. When we picked Daisy up, Terry’s wife cried and we lived happily ever after.

Aside from the first two weeks that we’ve had Daisy, she hasn’t been crated, but rather lives as a wild dog. She is a pretty perfect dog, she doesn’t chew or eat things and she didn’t have an accident for a good 2 years and I think up until this summer she had only had 2-3 total. She also was on an amazing schedule of going out around 9pm and then not again until morning.

All this changed last summer. For about a year now, she has woken me up almost every single night to go outside. Which yes, I would much rather her wake me than have an accident, but wake Keith! Instead, she comes to my side of the bed and either a) makes the most irritating groan/grunt/whine sound known to man b) licks my face if she can reach it c) if all else fails, jumps up on me.

The past few nights she has woken me up literally 45 minutes after I had fallen asleep and I was so annoyed I threatened to leave her outside. I didn’t mean it, Daisy, I swear.

The most irritating part is that I wake up, come downstairs, let her out, hook up her lead…and then she just stands there. Staring off into the night.

Girl, if you wake me up from a dead sleep to pee, you better RUN out into that yard and pee. Instead she’ll stare up into the sky, sniff around a little until I finally growl, “Daisy, go!” Then she’ll run out and pee. Or run out, pee, and then stop dead in her tracks and stare. Which freaks me the hell out. It’s pitch black back there*. Sometimes she will bark and that chills me to the bone. Is it a deer? A white walker? A serial killer?

Other times, she’ll come back and then stare out to the road and her hair will all bristle up, okay that is definitely a serial killer out there.

So then I have the fun game of grabbing her, unhooking her, running inside and locking the door before I get murdered.

And then I have to go upstairs and try to fall back asleep with my heart pounding out of my chest.

I told Keith I was going to train her to pee in the bathtub and he said that was disgusting, but hey, mama needs her beauty sleep.

i'm supposed to do what out here?

i’m supposed to do what out here?

*There is a man installing a motion sensing flood light as I type this. I might still get killed by a white walker, but at least I’ll see it coming!

pluses and minuses

+/- Wedding stuff is coming together. I have been incredibly stressed out about this. I am making paper flowers for decorations and although I had a bunch, I figured I needed 2-3x what I had and I just wasn’t sure it was going to happen. So I took about an hour this weekend and made a mock tablescape (the fact that I know the word tablescape kind of makes me want to puke). I laid out an assortment of flowers, counted them, did it again, counted again and now have a number of how many flowers I need. I then decided to bag them up by table. Turn out I have enough flowers for 3 complete tables. And I have 13 tables…wompwomp. I also was able to make 5 partial bags and put little cards in there with what they need. So then I’m sort of kind of halway done! Ish! Then I was able to make a list of all I need and I only need 292 more flowers! (Kill me.) This is about 20-30 flowers a week and it might be doable. If I get close, I will just put less on each table, it’s not an exact science. Knowing this number though was a huge help and now I am working toward a goal. Only time will tell if I actually make it!

wedding stuff. helper dog. #daisygram

daisy is a great helper

+ I also decided to outsource our wedding invitations. I have been pretty set on making them myself but I just couldn’t get anything that I loved. So I found someone on etsy who will make the digital files and I can print and cut them. I already have gotten back two proofs and I’m totally in love. Grace & Guy is the shop and they have been so great to work with.

+/- I took Daisy to Petco on Saturday. She really, really needed her nails cut and I figured she could get a bath while she was there. Keith was at a basketball game, so I had to take her on my own and she broke my heart. We get into the store and there was another dog in the little grooming room so I decided to wait outside of it. Daisy was shaking so hard, you could probably see it from 10 feet away. I felt like the worst human in the world. The other dog left and I went in and said that I was there for a bath/nail trim but she’s too scared, just trim the nails. The groomer convinced me that she would be okay and I hesitantly agreed and left. And felt horrible the whole time I was grocery shopping. But I picked up a wonderfully fresh and clean Daisy and I think she has forgiven me.

so fresh, so clean, so traumatized by the trip to the groomer. #daisygram

i don’t always make this face, but when i do i break hearts worldwide.

+ The semester is almost halfway over and I am excited but already dreading summer semester. Currently there is only one class I can take and I need two to graduate on schedule. On Monday, I am off work but have class and I was able to schedule 3 meetings to determine my future. I have a meeting with Career Services, my Anthropology advisor, and an advisor for the School of Education. I guess I’ll find out for real on Monday what my options are, if I am actually on track and maybe if there is something else to take this summer. Having one summer class would be a blessing, but that would push me back a whole semester, so it’s not really an option. Ugh.

monday prepper

So I was off work yesterday and accomplished so much that I deserve another day off just to keep my momentum.

Yesterday I was woken up by Daisy/the smoke alarm. A few weeks ago one of the smoke alarms in the basement was dying and it took me a little while to get around to changing the battery. Daisy acted weird that entire day, hiding and shaking and I never connected it to the smoke alarm until she followed me down to change the battery, it beeped again and she took off running. Poor baby.

So yesterday the alarm started chirping and Daisy was in our bedroom and freaked out. I went down to get a new battery and figured I’d let her out while down there, when I unhooked her from her lead to come back in, she bolted back into the yard. Pretty sure her thought was “I’d rather live in the yard than go back in where that terrifying noise is.” I finally got her back inside, changed the battery and went back to sleep.

Woke up at 9am, did a little reading, made myself a delicious breakfast of leftover carnitas topped with dippy eggs, some guacamole and tapatio.

leftover carnitas + dippy eggs + guacamole + tapatío.

I had a million things I wanted to do yesterday but I figured I’d do some food prep and laundry first. In two hours in the kitchen I was able to make breakfast/lunch/dinner for the entire week.

Breakfast = Pumpkin protein muffins

pumpkin protein muffins

They aren’t the most amazing thing in the entire world but they are good enough that I ate them every day last week and plan on eating them all this week as well. Seven ingredients (because I add chocolate chips) and made in one bowl. I also was able to get 12 muffins, using a 2TB scoop. They are best if you pop them in the microwave for like 30 seconds before eating. I’m a fan.

I also made lunch for myself for the week = Honey Sriracha chicken thighs + cauliflower rice

sriracha honey chicken thighs + cauliflower rice + broccoli

I’ve also made these before and they are great. I doubled the sauce this time and didn’t baste them, just saved it to pour over. (That broccoli is frozen, not moldy, haha.)

Dinner for last night was Smoky Maple BBQ chicken + veggies.


smoky maple bbq chicken + onions, peppers, sweet potatoes

Basically marinate the diced chicken in 1/3 bottle of sauce. Cook with chopped veggies (I like doing onion, pepper, zucchini and sweet potato but I forgot the zucchini) in oven til chicken is cooked through. Once chicken is done, take it out and broil veggies for a few minutes. It is seriously the easiest thing I make but seriously delcious. “Recipe” from The Dolce Diet book.

I also made Southwest meatloaf for dinners. It’s similar to my beloved Pioneer Woman cajun meatloaf but paleo. (I don’t eat totally paleo but lean paleo-ish.)

southwest meatloaves after

I couldn’t yet make the guacamole to top them with because my avocados weren’t ready.

So there we go. A week’s worth of food in two hours. If only I had every Monday off to prepare like that.

After that I finished up some laundry and even whipped out the paintbrush. I did another coat of white on the living room bookcases which haven’t been touched since January of last year. I figure I won’t be able to spend an entire day painting anytime soon, but I can spend like an hour every weekend and maybe finish painting by 2018. It looks like the bookcases are going to need yet another coat and that is kind of infuriating, but whatever. One coat at a time.

xo, daisy

_MG_0771 copy

pluses and minuses.

+ My Japenese Society class is DONE. Took the final Monday night. Hooray.

– Only two of our grades (50%) have been posted. I could either get an A or fail the class (probably not fail), but no idea what my grade is.

+ My Archaeology professor graded all of our 8 page papers in one week.

+ I got 100% on the paper! Wooooo! (Probably related to the above plus, but that works for me!)

– I have my Archaeology final tonight.

– I have a wicked headcold and wasn’t able to study last night. I still have a few hours left today, but it’s not looking good.

+ I can miss 5 questions on the final and still keep my A, so that’s encouraging.

+ Christmas shopping is done. We’re still saving for the wedding, so Keith and I didn’t buy for each other and only for our parents. (And Bradley). Still waiting on Bradley’s gift…I got him a custom book that has his name included in the story. Looks adorable, but I wish I knew when it was coming!

+/- Decorated for Christmas last weekend, planned on putting a few outside lights up (around the door/porch) and can’t find our extra lights. I’ll have to hit up a sale after Christmas, but it looks nice inside!

photo 1

– We will definitely need a bigger tree someday, but I’m not worried about it for now. Maybe when we have kids.

photo 2

+/- Daisy helped me decorate. I kept trying to get her in the picture but she kept inching closer to me. Instagram sure makes my dark grey walls look good, though! (Martha Stewart – Zinc)

photo 3

+ Ahhh, love this pup. Even if she’s not the most cooperative photo subject.

+ Last week, driving to class, I saw this house on Fifth and my jaw dropped. It was wrapped in a GIGANTIC bow. I’ve been trying to figure out how I could get a picture of it and lo and behold, my friend Rachel posted a picture to Instagram. I love it sooooooooo much. (On Fifth in Shadyside-ish)

photo 4

+ That’s all, folks.

family yearbook

It should come as no surprise that I take a lot of photos. (Mainly of Daisy.) I also don’t do anything with these outside of posting them online and then they just languish on my external harddrive. For a long time now, I have wanted to get a bunch printed and throw them in a photo album. I LOVE looking at old photos and figured I needed to get on the ball with creating some sort of physical representation.

And then, a year or so ago on Young House Love, they posted about their “Family Yearbook.” Bingo. Part photo album/part scrapbook/part yearbook, I knew this was the way to go.

I got a bunch of photos printed through Snapfish earlier this year, so decided to go with them for that reason alone. Also, I know they send out a ton of coupons via email so I figured I could snag a good deal.

I won’t lie, compiling 4 years of photos was not exactly fun. I first went through Lightroom and flagged all the photos I wanted to include. I did all sorts of photos, ones of us together, ones of Daisy, ones of places we went. I wanted to try to capture the whole year. After exporting them, I uploaded them to Snapfish by year. And then I just built the books! It’s super easy, just drag and drop. I spent a lot of time configuring page layouts, but the more I did, the faster it went.

I also added labels here and there where things weren’t totally apparent. I could have gotten a lot fancier with this/made it more scrapbooky, but I kind of just wanted to get it done.

I chose the 8×11 books and they start at 29.99, but each set of pages you add after 20 add to the price. I had quite a few pages by the end, but I also had a 50% off coupon, so I figured even if I doubled the price, it wasn’t bad.

I had 3 books in my cart when I got an email for 60% off and I knew it wasn’t going to go any lower, so I hurried up and finished my other 2 books. I wanted a book of engagement photos and I knew that would be the most expensive (I had 100+ photos) so I really wanted to get it in with that deal.

I finished them last Sunday and they were on my porch by Wednesday. I was blown away by how fast. And also blown away by how awesome they are.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

I put a picture of Keith and me* on the front, and then Daisy on the back. (Except for 2009 which was before we got her.) I also did a mix of layouts for the pages and kept the photos in chronological order (Snapfish makes this easy), so it had more of a yearbook feel.

I am super happy with how they turn out and feel good that I finally DID something with all my pictures. I am already itching to compile the 2013 book and maybe I’ll start early so it isn’t so daunting.

I would definitely recommend them, but I would also recommend putting the books in your cart and waiting for a 60% off coupon. It was a pretty decent investment to do 5 books at once, but I’m so glad I did. Also if I keep up on it and wait for another 50-60% off coupon, I’d spend probably $30-$40 a year which isn’t bad for a year of memories.

*The only thing I’ll change next time is to not put such a close-cropped photo of our faces on the front. 8″x11″ of my face = pretty much lifesize and a little scary. Maybe I’ll appreciate it when I’m like 83.

a celebration of thanks: days 6-8

See, I knew I’d fall behind.




Day 6: Your Children

I currently don’t have any people-children, by my Daisy is surely my child. (My child that I can leave home alone for several hours at a time, but my child none the less.) I always had dogs growing up, but I never had my own personal dog until Daisy. And don’t get me wrong, I loved all of our dogs growing up, but I never knew how much I could love a dog until Daisy. Keith and I really lucked out with her. She is so calm and quiet. She is very needy attention-wise, but refuses to be a lap dog. Or even a couch dog. You can get a few minutes of couch time with her but then she’s off to cooler pastures. But oh how I adore her. My heart is so full of love for her, I feel like it can explode at any time. If you’re not a dog person, or a cat person, you really don’t know what you are missing.



Day 7: A Failure You Have Had

How about my first semester of college? I was always a great student, teacher’s pet in elementary school. I graduated highschool with honors, I don’t have any idea what my GPA was, it wasn’t a 4.0 but maybe a 3.8? My senior year I took 4 AP classes (Stats, Lit, Spanish, Psych) along with other honors classes. And then I went to Pitt. And the siren song of my single dorm room and the complete freedom of being on my own for the first time ever (and depression, if we’re being honest) got to me and I chose to sleep through a lot of my classes. (As a high school senior I thought, “School starts at 7 now, I can handle 8am classes all week!” HA.) I wasn’t even out partying, which is probably the saddest part of all. I didn’t drink until I was 21, so my sleeping through classes was purely sleeping.

I even almost slept through my Stats final. Whoops. And then I got my grades for the semester. I can’t remember what the break-down was but my GPA for my first semester was under 2.0. I know this because I got put on academic probation and had to go to the Academic Resource Center where I sat there and felt smarter than everyone in the room. Which I may have been, but I was also lazier than everyone in the room and that was pretty damn stupid. The next semester my grades were up and continue to climb. I’ve retaken all of the failed classes, which wasted time and money but at least it helped repair my GPA some. I now have over a 3.0 and get mainly A’s with a few B’s thrown in. I can’t take back how stupid I was Freshman year, but I can make for damn sure I don’t let that happen again.


Day 8: A Success

I’d consider my entire life right now a success. I have a decent job, a wonderful fiance, a wonderful dog, a great house, some disposable income, good grades and my sanity. I’ve had a handful of rough patches in my life, but it has been pretty smooth sailing for the past few years and I have no one to thank for that but myself. Sure I have support of family and friends, but I have had that in the past and still managed to let depression get the best of me. At some point, shortly before I met Keith, I put my foot down. I don’t have time for that. I have always felt like depression was kind of like a blanket. A blanket that is so warm, so comforting, but is also slowly suffocating you. The more you wrap yourself up in that blanket, the harder it is to ever take it off. But you can! Once you take off the blanket, you realize it’s a balmy 75 outside and you didn’t need the blanket in the first place. But you know the blanket. I still have some bad days here and there, but they do no lay me up like they used to. I can also feel it coming on sometimes but refuse to let it. I may have reached some form of self-actualization, to be honest. I am a success.


(If you have never experienced depression, or even if you have, you should read this post over at hyperbole and a half. I have never read something that I have identified with so much. Except the corn. I’ve never had a corn moment. Mine has always been a slow spiral out just as it’s a slow spiral in. And I also didn’t really talk to people while depressed. I would just lock myself in my room. I was a real pleasure to live with.)

Okay this got a lot deeper than planned. Here’s a puppy chaser.


I spend a lot of time thinking about what Daisy would have looked like as a puppy. Probably like this.

from geek to geek

In somewhat of a mood today but I am trying to get better with posting. Trying for a MWF goal and since today is W, here we go! Just a few random points.

1. I’m done running. For some bizarre reason I want to be a runner. I see people running on the streets and just think “Man I wish I could do that!” I tried. Three different attempts at Couch to 5k, each lasting longer than the last…each giving me barely any satisfaction. Sure I liked that I ran…after I ran…but the entire time I was going, I hated it. HATED it. It was boring. Music didn’t help, podcasts didn’t help, Zombies Run didn’t help. I was still going though. Then I hurt my  foot. Still no idea what I did to my foot, my doctor ordered x-rays and they showed nothing, but I’m still having pain. Was told to stay off my foot and figured that I’m just done. I’m signed up for the Color Run on Saturday, so I’ll do that and then I quit.

2. Decided since I am officially quitting “running”, I can devote time to weight training with Keith. Day 1 was Saturday and we did squats among other things. My legs still hurt today. I could hardly walk the day after. It was a good pain though. I also don’t mind weights as much as running. Maybe because Keith is there too? I will admit I didn’t hate running as much when he ran with me, but he also hates running, so it’s just not gonna happen. So look out. Pretty soon* I’ll be able to beat people up.

*Or in like 7 years. I actually had to take all the weight off the bar for one exercise since I couldn’t lift the weight + the bar. Pretty pathetic.

3. I was just thinking the other day about how many classes I have taken since I’ve been back in school and I was pretty shocked to see that I’ve gone through 15 classes. Currently enrolled in my 16th and 17th. The Spring schedule gets posted on Friday and I can’t wait. I love picking out new classes. Pretty much hate going once they start, but it’s fun to see what the possibilities are. Also figured out that of my 15 classes, I’ve gotten 10 A’s and 5 B’s. Pretty damn good. Only 8 classes left. Then I have to figure out what I am doing with my life. Grad school? Student teaching? Running off to Nairobi to be an archaeologist/start a real Jurassic Park? My options are endless.


4. Daisy says “No more school, mom, you’re smart enough.”