Little Miss Ladybug and a Saturday tribute song

As expected as it is to mourn the loss of something or someone important, there’s a secondary mourning that happens years after the original loss. It’s the sadness that comes from not being as sad anymore because so much time has passed. It’s probably guilt about moving on and not taking the time to remember, combined with the sadness of knowing that life has gone on and everything will eventually be lost. So it is with Molly.

Molly died in 2006. It’s sad that she’s gone, and sadder still that she’s been gone so many years that I don’t think about her every day anymore. So much time is moving far too quickly. But, it’s good to think about her and remember how special she was.

Here are a few of my best Molly memories:

Barley and Molly. She had the best ears.

• She pooped on my dad. When my ex and I would go to Duck football games, my dad (who lived about a mile and a half from me at the time) would come by to let Molly and Barley outside to go to the bathroom. Molly was extremely skittish, so I told my dad that if she didn’t want to go out, he shouldn’t worry about it. He could just let her stay inside and I’d take care of it when I got home. However, he didn’t listen. Determined to let her out, he cornered her and picked her up, at which time she started crapping. I don’t think he ever tried to make her go outside again, however.

• She was perfectly chubby. One of my favorite things to do with Molly was roll her on her back and roll her back and forth by rubbing her tummy. I called it Rolling the Dough and we had a song to go along with it. I’d roll, roll, roll the dough and she would kick her legs and let her tongue hang out. If I tried to stop before she was ready, she’d blow dog snot on my hand and insist we roll more dough. It was adorable. She was old and dying of cancer, but she loved to roll the dough.

• She was a princess. Barley and I have always done a lot of hiking, but Molly was old and not accustomed to a lot of exercise. Still, she always wanted to go. When she’d get tired on the trail, she’d look at me with her big eyes and I’d carry her for a while (as long as my arms would hold out, see the point made above). Then, she’d get down and walk a little more, and I’d carry her a little more, taking turns until we got back to the car. She loved to be carried. She’d put her paws and her head on my shoulder and look behind me like a baby. A lumpy, hairy baby. The best kind.

I only had Molly for about a year, though I knew her for much longer. I took her into my home, put her on a diet and exercise program, and loved her very much. I had expected to have several years with her, but by the time the vet found the cancer, it had already spread through her bladder, abdomen, and lungs; there was nothing anyone could do. So, I had to let her go. It was very hard, but I love thinking about her and remembering how special she was. It’s funny, but I never actually called her Molly very often. I called her Lady, Ladybug, The Miss, Missy, and all kinds of nicknames. In spite of everything, she was always so funny and full of affection. She loved to roll in the grass and sleep in the sunshine. I miss her.

To honor two of my favorite ladies, Miss Molly, who’s been gone a long time, and Miss Etta James, who died this week, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs.

A snow-tastic few days off for almost everyone

We’re having the worst winter storm I’ve ever seen. Record-breaking snow, ice, wind, you name it. It’s been a wild few days. Thankfully, I haven’t had to drive to work and I’ve avoided the worst of it. I was even able to get outside yesterday for a lovely walk in some very deep snow in my neighborhood. Today, however, is a mess. There’s ice everywhere and it’s impossible to walk around, let alone drive. Dougal won’t pee because he can’t get sure enough footing to make it happen. Poor kid. I’m just trying not to fall on my ass or, worse yet, take out another knee.

My snow dogs

That said, I love snow and snow days. I’m a natural hermit. I love doing my yoga videos in the living room, playing cards, watching court shows, and being a bum. Here are a few things I’ve learned during my two days of unscheduled time off:

• The oven timer is a dieter’s friend. I’ve discovered that setting the oven timer is a great way to keep me from snacking on my days off. I set the timer for three hours and don’t eat anything until the alarm goes off. That way, instead of focusing on eating well for an entire day at a time, I really only have to make it through the next three hours. It’s working so far. It’s getting me through these unstructured days without stuffing my bored face.

• TV news is out of control. Because of this storm, the TV news stations have been ridiculous. They’re reporting around the clock with almost nothing new to report. The worst thing is that I actually found myself transfixed for a couple hours last night. Suddenly, I wondered why I needed to see 10 videos of 10 cars sliding, when one proved the point very well. We all get it. The weather is bad. Can you stop preempting People’s Court now?

• Dougal finds snowmen terrifying. There was an incident yesterday with a snowman down the street. Dougal tried to attack him, but, since he was scared at the same time, he lunged and screamed, and lunged and screamed. (If you’ve ever heard Dougal scream, you know how ear-splitting it is. Horrible, horrible noise.) It sounded like he was being murdered. I know I shouldn’t have been laughing, but it was really, really funny.

I guess that’s about it for today. What did everyone else do with their snow days?

An update and a Saturday song

It’s day 13 of the Whole Living Challenge and survival appears guaranteed. I’ve had absolutely no junk and I’m coasting along pretty well. The lone hot chocolate packet in my cabinet has been calling to me, “Please, drink me. I’m all alone without a box!” but I’ve been strong. (Thankfully, it can’t join forces with the half-eaten bag of holiday M&Ms in my desk at work. I fear an unstoppable force should the two meet and conspire against me.)

This week, in addition to fruits, vegetables, and nuts, I was able to eat legumes and a bit of fish. I had some black beans Monday and felt pretty sick the rest of the day, so I was off beans. I’ll try again next week with some kale soup with white beans, mushrooms, and butternut squash. I’ve never been a squash fan, outside of zucchini, but butternut squash is turning out to be one of my favorite new things to eat. Also, this week, we could swap out the breakfast smoothies for a baked sweet potato with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I did that Friday and it was delicious and really, really filling. There are two more in the oven right now. By and large, though, I’ve stayed pretty true to week one, besides my Monday beans and some steamed cod with dinner last night.

This is probably very boring to read about, but I’m pretty proud of myself. I had a dream about Thanksgiving dinner and an emotional moment watching Paula Deen make cheesy, spinach pinwheels of puff pastry, but I’m hanging in there. I didn’t realize how much junk I ate before; I thought I ate healthy. Such a difference 13 days can make.

The rain is coming down today and there’s talk of snow tonight, Sunday, and Monday. I’m really hoping we get some, and that it holds me inside long enough to actually take down my Christmas decorations. Hey, don’t judge. I put them up really late. Okay, maybe not late enough to justify twinkle lights in mid-January. Mentioning it here will surely shame me enough to take them down this weekend. I hope.

I’m leaving you with a warm-sounding song that is actually quite sad. I love this band, there’s a trumpet, and it’s performed beautifully in someone’s backyard. Perfect Saturday morning music.

Beet-ing dairy (and other bad habits) in 2012

Since Monday (Jan. 2), a coworker and I have been doing the 2012 Whole Living Challenge, a three-week cleanse program consisting entirely of whole foods and eliminating dairy, gluten, sugar, and caffeine. In week one, it’s been entirely fruits, vegetables, and a few nuts. Beets, squash, kale, carrots, berries, citrus…if it’s a vegetable, I probably ate it this week.

As you all know, I’ve been gluten-free for nearly a year, but I’ve struggled with dairy. It’s my abusive boyfriend; I can’t stop going back, no matter how much it hurts. So, this challenge began as my bootcamp approach to kicking the dairy habit for good. My goals going in were to get off dairy and drop a couple motivating pounds.

Before starting the challenge, I was excited. Shopping was incredibly virtuous. (My cart was filled entirely with produce and toilet paper.) I felt good just buying all of that stuff and anticipating a major change. It set the tone for a motivated week. Of course, actually eating it all turned out to be harder than I imagined. Day one went smoothly. Day two hit me like a truck.

The magazine warned of some malaise at the start of the cleanse. The headaches started the afternoon of day one and continued through the start of day three. Day two was also marked with extreme irritability, hunger, and fatigue; it felt like I was coming down with the flu. I wanted to quit. Thankfully, the wave of ick passed and, by day three, I was coasting along pretty well.

Today is day six and my stomach issues are nonexistent. I mostly feel great, though my workouts have suffered from the dramatic decrease in calories. I’m looking forward to beans next week and some much-needed protein. My cravings have diminished and my palate has expanded. I ate roasted butternut squash, red onion, and carrot for dinner last night, and it was delicious. I have a new passion for beets, but mostly because I love red poop. I’ll spare you all the details, but it’s very exciting.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish for chips and dip. Last night was Chip Friday, after all. I also had a midweek bout of “one Hershey’s kiss isn’t cheating” weakness, but I resisted and not one kiss was had. If I can get through the weekend, when I typically do all my bad eating, I might be able to make it all the way through the challenge, possibly into the bonus fourth week. I may even come out of it a vegetarian. Or, at least a mostly vegetarian.

I’ll try to write about my progress here, if only to keep myself accountable. Is anyone else making big changes this year? How is it going so far? What challenges are you taking on? We can commiserate and motivate each other.