the vortex is strong

We are on day 2 of cold weather.

No, no. That’s wrong. Cold would be pleasant.

Outside the walls of my house lives a life-threatening, melt-your-face-off arctic tundra only seen in movies about plane crashes with one lowly survivor who has to trek thousands of miles across ice-capped mountains while her nose turns black from frostbite and the wind burns her eyes off. And then she falls into frigid water through a crack in the ice. And then she dies.

Yesterday morning, I put Hazel in jail with puppy pads in the hopes of not having to expose her whopping 9lbs to a cold she’s never felt before.


And yesterday morning I learned that my stubborn dog is too well potty trained to pee in the house. Once upon a time, a dog named Hazel and a big brown bear met in the arctic and took a little stroll…


Murphy is totally laughing at her. Or me. I can’t tell.

Tuesday night I got the call that school was canceled until Friday (thank jebus because the thought of the bus stop was terror-inducing) and all midwest offices in my company have been closed. Though when you work remotely there’s no such thing as a “closed due to weather” day so I’ve been chugging along in my 14 layers of clothing, piling doggies on top of me like electric blankets.

I made the mistake over a week ago of going to the grocery store at 3pm on a Friday when we were expected to get a foot of snow overnight. Everyone else had the same idea except the store managers who only had 3 registers open for the entire town.


So this time around I decided it best to live off of rations that have been hiding in my freezer and cabinets for some time now. You know the stuff… cup-o-noodles, packets of powdered mashed potatoes, bacon bits… 2 days of freezer-burned chicken patties dipped in soy sauce has been better than the 1 hour I waited in line with a 7 year old eating cheez-its straight from an unpaid box in the picture above.

Yesterday, my west coast work peeps told me I should throw boiling water. I wasn’t sure why I’d want to do that considering I actively try not to fling burning stuff anywhere. And then I realized they meant throw it into the polar vortex…TO TRY TO KILL IT. So I did. I tried to kill it. And instead I made snow. As you can see, we didn’t need more snow (but it was still cool).

I shared that with my work peeps in Ft. Lauderdale and according to one, the whole office said “OH MY GOD” as they sat in their “chilly” “60 degree” “winter”. Picture those quotation marks there as very dramatic air quotes coming from my very dramatic bendy fingers. Summer and I were going to try the “blow bubbles and watch them freeze in the air” trick, but…


…the vortex had already snuck into my garage and got to them first. Frozen solid. They say this death-weather-fuckery is supposed to break soon, more snow is coming because… well, why the hell not? And by Monday it’ll be a ridiculously glorious 50 degrees, the snow will melt and the flooding will begin.

I’m not leaving my house until May.

Everyone is welcome.

Bring wine.


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one and done

I used to want an entire clan of kids. I always pictured a house full of rambunctious little ones who would play together and fight like cats and dogs and bike ride around the neighborhood and hit each other with their cabbage patch kids. You know, much like my childhood.

Us then circa 1985:


Us now:

sisters now

And by my mid 30’s I knew that was never going to be my reality given the fact that:

  1. I didn’t have my first kid until 33
  2. I was married to a man older than I who said he wouldn’t have kids past 40*
  3. I was divorced at 36

And a few years ago that reality completely crushed me. With Summer, I absolutely loved being pregnant and I wanted to grow me some babies at least a few more times. When she was a baby, I sucked the life out of every minute of the day with her. Man those squishy thighs…


May 2012

Her thighs, not mine.

And don’t even get me started on the toddler phase when they fall while standing still, walk like Frankenstein and give you vice-gripped neck hugs that make you worry your eyes will pop out of your face.


October 2012


April 2013


February 2014, just 3 months after moving into our apartment

Then came preschool and kindergarten, and my little baby started getting longer and leaner and turning into a legit little human noodle.


October 2015

And now standing tall at 4′ and able to touch my forehead while standing on her tippy toes (psht, I never claimed to be tall) I look at her face and can picture exactly what my one and only baby will look like as a teenager. And it’s terrifyingly beautiful. 

Summer 2nd Grade

 September 2018, 2nd grade

From sad-at-what-could-have-been 36 year old me to happy-courageous-strong 41 year old me, something in me has changed. I can’t pinpoint a specific moment but rather I think it was a slow ascending climb into acceptance that Summer will forever be my one and only. I have lots of moments these days that make me happy for the little one that she is but excited for what’s to come. When she’s reading a Gerald and Piggy book in her high-pitched Piggy voice I wish for her to love Gerald and Piggy books forever and to read them to me when I’m 95 and don’t get out much anymore. It’s the moments I look at her toothless grin and think, “once her adult teeth come in her face is going to look so different from how I’ve always known it.” And also, you’re welcome tooth fairy, you can now put all of your fucking kids through college.


The moments when I’m around her dad and his 2 month old son* I realize that wow, I would not want to be taking care of a baby full time right now. And even though I end up one step closer to knee replacement every time Summer falls asleep in the car and I have to piggy back her lifeless sack of potatoes body up 3 flights of stairs, I know someday I’ll look back at that second grade picture above and think, “man, she was soooooo little.” So yeah, enjoying us as a duo I’m very content with her being my one and only… enough to permanently declare it to the world.


Me and my baby. I wouldn’t want it any other way.


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why did the turtle cross the road?

This one is for my friend, Michele.

The other day I went to bed angry. I woke up still angry the next day.


All morning I was fuming about the fact that the night before, I was text-shamed and sworn at for being incompetent because of a minor scheduling oversight on my part. I was also told what was expected of me moving forward. And as I read it my eyes rolled back so hard, I was looking at my brain.

Top 3 reasons this pissed me off so bad:

  1. Nobody has the right to talk to me (or anyone) like that.
  2. I don’t like this person.
  3. It is no secret that I am Wonder Woman and quite competent thankyouverymuch.

Disclaimer: this did not happen at work. My work peeps are amazing.

Also disclaimer: if I’m only as good to you as I am perfect, then I am of no use to you at all. Good day.


That morning, I shook my head in annoyance. I guffawed at the sheer ridiculousness of how some people choose to swear at others and expect a good outcome. Yeah, I said guffawed. I smirked at the thought that one innocent oversight amongst years of greatness at this one task was berated and bullied rather than accepted and forgiven. Life doesn’t flow well when people act that way, and when they do they should expect nothing less than dismissal from me. I fumed. I balked. I was annoyed.

Around noon, I ran to the store to get a few necessities, and on my way back about a block from home, I saw something in the road. I pulled up to it. And suddenly my eyes popped out of my head, I grabbed my phone, opened my window and said softly, “hey buddy,” and then I snapped a pic of the cutest freaking turtle that has ever crossed a street. I could never again say that I have never seen a turtle cross the road. That stinkin’ little turtle made my day.

I’m fully convinced that he was a sign from heaven to let my anger go. After that moment, no one could ruin my day anymore BECAUSE I SAW A FUCKING TURTLE AND IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME. I felt like Randy with the coyo-tay in the Netflix show, Love.

Anywho, thanks little buddy. I hope you got to the other side.



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I had mentioned that we had to say goodbye to my sweet Princess in March and early on, people asked if I was going to get another doggy. Early on, I said no.

Oh silly me. Say hello to Murphy…


About a month ago I went on and set up an email alert with vague criteria – young, adult, or senior, within so many miles, a handful of specific breeds. And I started getting daily emails. I looked at every single one of them, read every single story and those stories convinced me that a rescue was my route to take because holy hell some of the lives these little pups have lived. THEY NEEDED ME. And 12 days ago I got this email…



I checked out little Murphy’s profile.

Meet Murphy

This little boy owns our entire heart. He’s the most gentle, loving, tender pup who came from a horrific situation where he was treated terribly. He is unbelievably  loving, gentle, and grateful to be loved on and treated kindly. Murphy is great with children and other animals, crate trained, walks nicely on leash, quiet, loves to be held, and is pure perfection. He seems most comfortable with women, but we believe he could build his confidence around men with a person who was exceptionally gentle and reassuring. Murphy is around 2-3 years old, 10lbs, and looks like a long-legged shih tzu mix.

Yeah, 2 days later:

This poor little guy had experienced so much shit at the hands of a terrible person for his 2 – 3 years of life, and it was time to change that. This was how they found him, he was in Alabama:


Burned, matted, abused and starving.

Getting to know him over the last week and a half, I can tell you that all this little sugar pie wants is love and food, two of the most basic rights no doggy should ever be denied. He is a handsome, smart little man who wants to only do right by us, already learning to sit, be quiet, and not jump up like a crazy man each time he realizes “WAIT I’M GETTING ANOTHER MEAL? THERE’S FOOD AND THEN MORE FOOD AND SHE JUST KEEPS GIVING ME MORE FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD I DON’T HAVE TO STARVE!?!” He was a blank slate having never been taught how to be a dog – the first 2 days we’d be strolling along and he’d just poop on the sidewalk and keep walking like it was nothing while I picked it up and looked over my shoulder hoping no one saw. He barked at the strange people in the rectangular box hanging on the wall in the living room. He had no idea what a toy was. And today, there is already so much more light and life in his eyes than when we first met.

He has a warm, goofy little face with an under bite and eyes that look in 2 different directions:


We’re not sure what mix Murphy is, there’s definite shih tzu in him, but he has really long legs so I believe he is part giraffe.


He’s already gained a few pounds in less than two weeks, well on his way to pampered chubby puppy. His burns are healing beautifully. And his stinky dog smell has vanished with a whole lotta doggy shampoo and a homemade haircut that was done in small sections each day as he learned to trust me more and more (though a professional cut is definitely in order because DOG GROOMER I AM NOT). This was his pre-mama shag:

at the shelter

Only his top half was that long though, the shelter had shaved from his shoulder blades down to treat his burns so he had a nakey back, legs and butt. He looked a little scrappy before I got me mitts on him.

Hazel has warmed up to him slowly, aka she’s pretending he’s not here, although a few times now she’s egged him on to play with her. And Summer loves him except for the few times she has startled him by quietly coming around the corner which makes him bark for a second which makes her scream and jump on furniture which makes him run in circles thinking she wants to play which makes her scream more which makes me a little…




I’m excited to see what he looks like at a normal weight, and to see his reaction to snow for the first time this winter. But what I’m looking forward to the most is a few months from now when we’re all settled in and life feels normal and predictable for all of us again 🙂


Welcome to the family and your happily ever after, Murphy ❤


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how I gave my dog a black eye and then her butt exploded

One night a few weeks ago around 8:30pm, I was getting Summer ready for bed when Hazel, wanting to play, brought me a tennis ball.

So I grabbed it.

I threw it.

She got it.

She brought it back.

I grabbed it.

I threw it.

And she got it.


I had beaned her directly in the eye with her most favoritest non-human thing in the history of life, basically the equivalent of someone punching me in the neck with a pound of bacon. My poor doggy immediately started crying in pain and rubbing her eye on the carpet; meanwhile, me…

Im sorry

I found the number for the 24-hour emergency vet and they told us to come in. When I got off the phone, my sweet little Hazel <who couldn’t open her eye at this point> brought me back the ball to throw again and so I did what any normal person would do in that situation – I ripped that stupid yellow furry squeaky tennis ball to shreds with my bare hands, gathered the remains and lit them on fire, threw them out the window and ran over them with my car.



I called Scott and luckily he was able to pick up Summer, so I scooped up my little Hazy and got ready to go. While carrying her, I discovered a little bump by her butt that I hadn’t noticed before and figured I’d have the ER vet take a look at that, too while we’re there. HER EYE WAS THE CONCERN HERE PEOPLE, not a little butt pimple. Remember that.

We arrived at the vet around 9:30 pm and were told that it would be a while before we could be seen because a bunch of critical patients had arrived before us. Totally fine, the future of my dog’s eye was in jeopardy, I would wait as long as necessary. As I found a seat, I looked around the waiting room and there were a half dozen people with sullen looks on their faces. There was a man-boy holding a puppy with what he thought was a broken leg. I noticed a candle on the front desk with a note that said, “if this candle is lit, someone is saying goodbye to their loved one.” Heart. Strings. Tugged. The candle was lit, and a moment later a woman came out of a room sobbing. PSA – if you ever have to go to an emergency after-hours vet, it may possibly be one of the most depressing places you’ll visit.

I held onto my Hazel and checked her eye periodically. It seemed to maybe possibly be getting a little better, it wasn’t fully closed anymore but she was squinting and blinking it pretty rapidly, the white of her eye was bloodshot. So I held her. And we waited. And for an hour my guilt-ridden apologies dripped all over her head as I whispered I’m so sorry over and over. But then, suddenly the quiet sobs in the waiting room were overrun by the sound of a car screeching to a halt at the curb and a woman running into the building…


The receptionist sprung into motion.

“Do you need help? How much does he weigh?” she asked.

“Yes, yes I need help! He’s about 80 pounds! He’s in the backseat! I’ve been holding something on him but it won’t stop!”

“Get a gurney!” the receptionist yelled. Another woman in scrubs ran out of the back with a doggy stretcher, opened the front door and suddenly multiple voices were screaming, “GEORGE!”

I was sitting in a chair facing the window and I watched it all happen in slow motion. Someone had opened the car door to get to George. George jumped out of the car and clearly frantic, started running. INTO TRAFFIC. At the exact same time, a speeding car came flying by with no knowledge that George was about to run directly in their path and by the grace of God, the car missed him by an inch. The owner and tech managed to get George to run into the waiting room while blood poured from his neck; he had been in a dog fight and he ran frightened and hurt and panicked all around the waiting room. They got him on the scale while his blood sprayed all over the wall, and they then rushed him into a room in the back. Suddenly it was silent again.


Holy hell, the waiting room looked like a slaughterhouse. The receptionist asked George’s owner if she had been there before, the woman said unfortunately yes. Her account was pulled up, the receptionist took a step back and said to the woman, “I’m sorry, the doctors have put a flag on your account to refuse treatment due to multiple non-payments of previous services that were sent to collections.” Um, that’s not what you want to hear when your dog is bleeding out in their ER. Husband then comes in clearly in shock, wife fills husband in on the situation, husband tells wife they have cash, wife doesn’t know where, husband says in the dolls in the closet the cat sleeps in, wife says she has no idea what he’s talking about, husbands says he’ll go get it, wife says no she’ll go get it, husband says he wants to, Jaime is not buying their little show.

At that, I assessed my current situation: 10:30 pm – pets are being put down, critical patients are in the back, George! and me with my dog and a future black eye forever scarred by the murder scene on the floor… It was time to go.

We excused ourselves, got back in the car, and went home.

Our vet was able to get Hazy in 3 days later. Her eye was still squinty but had definitely improved a bit every day. Her butt on the other hand, that bump slowly swelled from a pimple to a grape. Google told me it was an impacted anal gland and that it should be checked soon because it could rupture. I read horror stories from people whose dogs that had happened to, some overnight while the dog was sleeping under the sheets with them.


I prayed morning and night that her butt wouldn’t explode and by Thursday’s appointment it hadn’t, hurrah! We made it to our regular vet, a tech walked in and asked to take a look. She was facing me so I couldn’t see what she saw but she definitely made a face.

“Um, this is going to have to be shaved and cleaned and she’ll need antibiotics, I have to take her in back right away!” And as she was walking out with Hazel under her arm, I noticed it. HER BUTT WAS BLEEDING. Her butt bump had literally exploded when the tech was looking at her and I guess if it was going to happen, I couldn’t have asked for a better time and place. 20 minutes later I got my doggy back with a shaved bum and relief on her cute little face.


We now have a standing appointment once a month to have her glands expressed so this doesn’t happen again. They told me it’s actually very common in little older dogs but so help me, this will not become “common” in my house.

The moral of the story is – if I hadn’t nailed Hazy in the eye with a tennis ball I may not have noticed the butt bump when I did. Had I not noticed the bump when I did, I may have noticed when it was too late. If I had noticed when it was too late, I would probably be buying a new bed which would be a pain because I just bought mine in March. Accidentally hit her in the eye = everything happens for a reason. The end.


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movin’ to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches

It’s been just over a year since buying the house and moving up to farm country, and I think I can safely say Summer and I are happily settled into our new life. Summer survived 1st grade and riding the bus, she is currently enjoying day camp adventures, and now at age 7, her teeth are rapidly falling out of her head one by one. I love when teeth dangle by a disgusting skin string like her top middle tooth right now that is just barely hanging on and IS NOT AT ALL WHERE IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE. Heebs. The tooth fairy is making a killing around these here parts, I just hope her current dangler doesn’t fall out tonight because the tooth fairy gave up her last few bucks 2 nights ago. Other updates… We lost our amazing doggy Princess on March 2nd – saying goodbye to her after 16 years was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. That’s a story for another day. Overall though, I’m happy to report the house is still standing, we had an amazing family reunion in Austin, TX a few weeks ago, and we’ve been sucking the life out of the summertime by exploring our town on long bike rides, going to the pool, drive-in dinners at Dog n Suds, post-dinner treats at Tastee Freeze, perusing the farmers market every Wednesday, I could go on and on. It’s crazy, waking up here every morning still feels like I’m on vacation and I am so grateful for all of the happiness life has given me this last year.

That’s enough sap for now, moving on…

So one of the cool things about living in the middle of nature is all of the critters that I never experienced in the city. Since moving up here, we’ve spotted a turtle climbing up someone’s front steps. One night I had a bunch of little frogs on my driveway and luckily my sis and brother-in-law were over because one hopped into a corner of my garage and I made Ryan rescue it. The frog was so happy that it peed all over his hand which is a ironic because I pee when I’m happy, too. I had mice in my garage when I first moved in that I fixed with some foam hole-filler-upper-goodness. And after one of my neighbors told me there used to be meerkats living in the hill behind my house, I mistakenly convinced someone that “NO, NO, THOSE AREN’T CHIPMUNKS OUT THERE ON THE HILL, THEY’RE ACTUALLY MEERKATS!”

Yeah, they totally weren’t.

We have lots of bunnies and deer, eagles and hawks and herons, and I’ve heard coyotes, frogs and owls at night. It’s all very different and pretty cool. I only have but one complaint.

The bugs up here are worthless giant blood-sucking, stinging, biting demon assholes. I literally broke out in a sprint across the courtyard today with Hazel while we were chased by SOMETHING THAT FLEW OUT OF THE SEWER AND LOOKED LIKE A FLYING FISH. And if the neighbors were watching, well, they would have absolutely done the same. This “bug” had 2 large black balls on each side like giant fish eyes and a stick straight worm body. I mean, I *guess* it *could have* been a dragonfly but if it was, it was the ugliest mother fucking dragonfly Jebus has ever created. Last summer, and I unfortunately will never forget this moment, I was sitting at a stoplight with my window open about halfway. I looked out the window just in time to watch one of these stupid fish-dragons fly directly at my face through the open window. In the .042 seconds it all happened I managed to 1. not get my finger on the right window switch to close it, 2. flail my other hand in a swift flapping motion that helped exactly zero people, and 3. stare directly into the bug’s giant side-eye as it freaked out, turned, and flew right back out the window. I no longer drive with my windows open.

The spiders up here are hairy and plentiful.

The mosquitoes will bite through anything and they’ll wake you up out of a dead sleep by high-pitched bzzzzzzzzzzzing in your ear.

I think there is an active wasp nest being built inside my bedroom wall, I can hear them.

I am now the proud owner of a Tick Tornado after an hour of gagging and flailing and fighting a tick latched onto poor Hazel’s neck 2 weeks after applying K9 Advantix II.

tick tornado

And most unfortunately, I can now say that I PULLED A TICK OFF MY HEAD AND THREW IT ACROSS THE ROOM. Keep the tick in case it needs to be tested for Lyme disease, they say. A tick will die after 48 hours of no food, they say. This disgusting little vampire lived in a jar on my counter for almost a week before I stuck him in the freezer and shut the door. Now, I’m not one for torturing anything living but this is my warning here and now to anything or anyone who decides to try to bite my head and drink the sweet sweet nectar of my scalp. You will die.

Gotta run, time to drown myself in bug spray and take Hazy out. AND DAMN IT THIS JUST HAPPENED, think she’ll believe the tooth fairy raided my purse and wrote a check?…


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the only christmas card

This is for my former boss, Bill. Remember Bill?

I sent him a Christmas card last week that said “Merry Christmas Grandpa” because, well he’s old. And with the card, I enclosed this letter and photo to him. I want the world to know how awesome he is…

My Dearest Grampa Bill,

Do you like the card? I picked it out myself. You’ll also be happy to know that you are literally the only person I’m sending a Christmas card to mainly because I wanted to tell you a story…

The other day I went to Target. I wandered the aisles in search of stocking stuffers. I found some.

I also found a large bottle of Pinot Grigio, 2 sets of under cabinet lights, 2 throw pillows, 6 pairs of socks, snow boots, one of those lightbulb grabber pole thingies for high ceilings, a blanket, 2 ornaments, curtains for Summer’s bedroom, a sweater, a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and the most glorious pair of pink fuzzy slippers money could buy.

And as I walked to my car after dropping $200 on a whole bunch of shit I never knew I needed, I had a thought that made me realize I needed to write to you.

Five years ago, I handmade all of the Christmas presents I gave to my family, not because I was feeling extra crafty that year. I was married to a man who kept his money to himself while I was broke with every penny I made at my job going toward daycare and my half of the mortgage. Needless to say, a spool of yarn and teaching myself how to knit 5 scarves was much cheaper than anything I could have found at a store. But the other day as I loaded up my trunk full of presents for me and my family, I was not anxious. I was not scared of what else that money should have gone towards like I would have been five years ago. I was actually in awe of the fact that $200 didn’t hurt me, I was able to use my debit card instead of charging everything, and I knew that I still had enough money in the bank to pay for groceries and another large bottle of wine after I polished off the new one that night for dinner.

I mean with dinner.

No, I don’t.

I think back to the last five years – married, house-poor, new baby, new job title, divorce, calling a cozy little apartment home for four years, and now a pretty new house for me and Summer that I bought on my own with no child support, no co-signers, just me. I did that. But you know what?

You did that.

With one phone call you made to me on that fateful morning, one small leap of faith you took on me to join your team, you changed my entire life in ways you may not even realize. You were with me the day I rode the train home by myself from the city after a judge freed me from a bad marriage. You were with me the day I signed my apartment lease to start my new life, knowing I could afford the rent on my own. You were with me every time I was able to write a check for daycare and kindergarten. You were with me the day I realized I’d be just fine without a child support check every month. You were with me helping me save every penny I could for four years to make a new life for me and my baby now. You were with me last spring as I walked through houses for sale hoping to find one I could be proud of, and you were with me the day I found my beautiful house in a safe neighborhood with a school district that would help Summer grow and excel. You were with me when I unexpectedly had to buy four new tires a few months ago. You were with me and my doggy when I paid the vet $400 at what was supposed to be just a checkup. You were with me the day I painted every inch of the walls in my house just because I could, because they were mine. And you were with me at Target the other day, whispering in my ear that it would be ok if I added those pink fuzzy slippers to my cart, to go ahead and spoil myself a little because it had been way too long.

You were with me because you made it all possible.

I don’t think about what life would be like right now had you not called me that day asking if you could tuck me under your wing and add me to your team, because life right now is too good to think dark thoughts of what could have been. Instead, I hold my head high knowing I am strong, I am independent, I am a good mama. I have a happy, healthy little girl who sleeps soundly at night and tells me I’m her most favoritest person in the whole wide world while patting my cheek. And I close my eyes every night knowing I am safe, I am ok, maybe a little drunk, and I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And it is wonderful.

You did that.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love Your Amazingly Fierce, Young, Humbled and Grateful Granddaughter,


Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 6.15.53 PM


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