The Power of NO

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the adventures of the Daisy.  But things are going so well, I don’t want to jinx them!  Country Daisy is rapidly adjusting to City Dog Life, although there was a moment when she barked at a statue in a veterans’ cemetery, and I tried to introduce her to it slowly, but she wouldn’t let up until she sniffed its butt.  Seriously.  This is my life.  The runners going by thought it was hilarious.

A regular comedienne, this one.

But this is not the point.  Today, I want to talk about the Power of NO. Specifically, of saying no to people who want to pet your dog. (I don’t believe in using NO as a corrector FOR your dog, because you say “no” a lot every day, so it’s kind of a meaningless word for your precious pooch. It does not get their attention in a crisis moment. Weird sounds, hisses, and squeakers are way better for that.)

Some dogs freaking LOVE people. My parents’ lab Loki is one of those dogs. I’m pretty sure his heaven is laying on a couch with fifteen hands petting him in all the best spots FOREVER. Some dogs hate strangers, like the dog we had growing up, Ranger. We used to warn people just to ignore him: He didn’t like you. Period. Some dogs just prefer to hang out near you but not interact, that’s Daisy. But it doesn’t matter how your dog feels about people. You have the right to say no to anyone who wants to pet your dog.

“Momma, I would also like a Canfora donut. Just saying.”

Let me reiterate that because it’s important. You can just say NO. To adults, to children, to the elderly, to anyone you want to, you can just say NO and keep walking. You don’t have to make up an excuse. You don’t have to tell the backstory. You can just say no. If your dog hates people, if your dog loves people, you can say no.

I find this most effective with young children. We live across the street from a park with a nice playground. We probably have kids come RUNNING after us once a week, yelling, “DOGGIE!!” with parents who go, “Awwww, that’s cute,” and do nothing. With these kids, I hold up a hand and yell, “NO.” They stop dead and go back to mom and dad.

The truth is, well-behaved children and Daisy have no problems. (She loved Mason, an 8-year-old that belongs to our friends, probably a little TOO well.) But I don’t know which children are well-behaved. I don’t know which ones will go a little too far. And I’m not obligated to invite every child on the playground, or every well-meaning adult that cries, “Look at those SPOTS,” to pet my dog.

LOOK AT THEM. (I run on the assumption that it is exhausting being this cute.)

And neither are you.


Forecast: 100% Chance of Beer (And Fun)

The last 72 hours have been a blast, even if they’ve been a little stressful.  Grant’s birthday is coming up on Wednesday, and since I won’t be home due to work travel (AGAIN), we decided to have some people up for the long holiday weekend.  Of course, like any other moment in our lives, our timing wasn’t really ON.

So first, I did a lot of cooking.  I made ice cream, cake, and taco meat (had to use up some ground beef) between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Ice Cream
Totally ate bourbon ice cream for breakfast.  Then put bourbon in my coffee.  Because.

Then I took Daisy for a LONG walk, before her new trainer came.  More on that in a bit.


So the new trainer.  Daisy has gotten considerably worse about letting new people into our home.  It used to be one or two bad experiences–now she is consistently reactive, lunging and barking at any strangers who dare to enter her domain.  After much searching and consulting with Laura to make sure we found the right guy, we hired Steve Terwilliger of Rogue Dog Training here in Milwaukee.

Our behavioral training treat arsenal–The usual sweet potatoes and coconut cookies, but also smelly cheeses and smoked salmon–super gross, but super effective rewards.

Grant had to miss the first session (Cubs tickets with his dad and brother) but I was pretty impressed with the way Steve handled Daisy.  He was so respectful of her space, refusing to bully her or take things faster than she was ready for, but also doing small things that reactive dogs tend to freak out about, like leaning over to tie his shoes, or putting on a backpack.  We’re supposed to start training “leave its” hard, having her run across the floor and making her stop in the middle and come back.  I’m excited to see what the next steps in the process are.

Of course, in true Daisy fashion, she decided to pick THAT day to do a good job and make a total liar out of me.  About halfway through the session, she stopped lunging at him and started pointedly ignoring him, and by the end, she was cautiously optimistic about her new acquaintance with all the beef livers.  Regardless, by the end, she was TIRED.  (She also ended up BLOATED by the end of the day from all the extra food and treats she received from our guests.)

Of course, with all this exhaustion, she could not be BOTHERED to care about all of our company.  Usually, she’ll pick one person to hate and we have to restrain her until she decides her greatest foe is suddenly a friend.  This weekend, she was handing out the kisses.  (Again, making a total liar out of me, as I had to explain to our friend Desmond that Daisy is a LEETLE bit racist and ageist.  Which is to say, she hates old people, and has never seen anyone who is not white.)  She insisted on sitting in laps and begging for chin scratches for 48 glorious hours, and honestly?  That was just fine with me.

So we did some fun things with our friends, showing them the place we live now in between bouts of beer pong and board games.  We went to Cafe Corazon for brunch, which was delicious.  We also went to the South Shore Beer Garden, where we had some Big Eddy’s Royal Nektar.

Grant is never in pictures–He’s always taking them.

Of course, we found out later that Big Eddy’s Royal Nektar is 9.4% ABV, which may explain why we climbed this tree.

I didn’t get off the first branch–I am TERRIFIED of heights, and standing on a four foot high branch was already too much for me.

It was fun having company to grill pizza and watch Game of Thrones with us.  But at the end of the weekend, I was relieved that it was just the three of us again!  As it turns out, we’re not exactly party people.

Somebody else was pretty relieved too.

Everybody Leaved Me
“Don’t worry, Daddy.  I still love you best.”

More Pictures Than Words, Really

Sometimes family is a word that just triggers every stress response we have.  Especially when you’re from a big family.  They’re in your business.  They just “drop by”, at random. (Not really a problem, just a thing that happens.) And it’s loud.  Dear God, it’s loud.

But more often than not, it’s great.  This past weekend, my parents came to visit for my cousin’s graduation.  We did some mundane things, sure.  Dad fixed our dryer and I had to go buy new tires for the Prius. (Never own anything. That’s my new motto. The upkeep will kill you.) But as always, when family gets together, there were fun things too.

Like trips to get the most delicious butter pecan frozen custard.

Dad and I have been digging the same ice cream flavors for years.

And making babies laugh by holding them up high.

Please note, I did NOT throw this baby into a ceiling fan, the way that my Aunt Julie (pictured here) tried to murder me.

A quick timeout to take in the local beer garden.


And laying in the warm grass with your people.

“This is my ‘I love Grampa the best’ face.”

I can’t wait for summer to really get started.  I don’t think I’ll ever go indoors.

If You Give a Dog a Cookie…

She’ll learn where the cookies live in the kitchen and sit by the drawer waiting for you to open it again and give her another one. She will do the same thing if you keep “spare” toys in your nightstand. She will also apparently do the same thing if you change up her food and she REALLY REALLY LIKES IT LIKE WHOA GUYS.

Daisy is not really a picky eater. Nor does she have a delicate stomach. (Thank God, because that dog has eaten her way through a couple trash cans.) She does, however, get bored easily. Our fault, really, as we have had her on Purina One Turkey and Venison for a couple years now. I always meant to change things up a little but I never got around to making a decision on a higher quality pet food. I get that a lot of people are very devoted to raw feeding, or a specific brand of pet food, but my philosophy is you do what you can with what you have. The Purina One was a reasonably healthy food that we could afford and she did really well on. There was no need to change. Except that she got bored.

“I am just a very cultured doggy with refined tastes, you see. Now read about Broadway to me, Mama.”

Mealtime became a chore. Daisy would get her medicine, if she felt like taking it. I would pour a cup of food into her bowl, she would sniff it twice, and then go, “Meh. I’ll get to that later.” We tried puzzle toys. They were fun for a while, but they had the same old kibble in them. It got to the point where unless we actually mixed something indog-rm-duck_27-pngto her bowl, she would wait hours to eat. It was annoying for everyone.

But then, on a whim we went to Mac’s Pet Depot Barkery on KK in Bayview. Great place. The owner knows exactly where everything she buys is sourced from, and made clear that if  she didn’t feel like her 10 year old black lab Mac could have it, it didn’t come into her store. (Mac is a handsome dude, for real, too.) After Daisy told Mac in no uncertain terms that she did NOT want to be friends (still really sorry about that) we grabbed a couple kinds of treats and paid. The owner gave us a free sample of Avoderm’s Trout and Pea recipe, part of their rotational feeding line. Maggie at Oh My Dog reviewed Avoderm a while back, and I was intrigued by it.

Daisy got to try the sample that night and HOOVERED her food down. I thought she was going to be sick she ate it so quickly. Naturally, for her Gotcha Day, I stopped in at Mac’s and bought another small bag, this time the Duck recipe, since it’s what was on the shelf. Guys, she now tries to convince me that it’s suppertime at 1 in the afternoon, and tries to follow me to where the bag of dog food lives so that she can grab any “lost” kibbles.

“Leave no kibble behind!”  (Also, those Kyjen maze bowls are great. Daisy will only eat out of the orange one though. The blue one was summarily rejected.)

As far as Daisy is concerned, it’s a win.

And for me, it’s great. I know she’s eating, and her coat (always like a snuggly cotton ball) seems to be getting even softer. And if the ultimate test of any food is when it comes out the other end, let’s just say that things are….moving along better than ever before.

I’m really psyched about this food, guys, if you couldn’t tell. The best part is that the whole line is designed so that your dog can move through recipes without digestive issues. (This is probably a feature for more “delicate” doggies.) So for dogs that get easily bored with their food, it’s a great way to keep changing it up.

“If I sit real pretty, will you put more kibbles in my wobbler?  Pleeeeeaaaase?”

And if you need any more entertainment today, here’s Daisy with her first pig ear. The owner at Mac’s sent it home with us last week when she heard it was Daisy’s gotcha day. You can see the high levels of excitement.

*Avoderm had no idea I was going to review their food. I’m not getting compensated for this. I just like it a lot so far and wanted to tell everyone about it. Link to Avoderm’s Revolving Menu Duck Recipe is here.


A Post Without a Daisy

For those who know me, it is probably no surprise that I am sometimes sad.  It may be surprising, however, that I can count the number of friends I communicate with regularly on my fingers.  On one hand.  (This is not surprising to whoever reviewed the psych eval I had to do for work, which showed that I can analyze data, make awesome plans, and come up with big ideas, but am not great at “working in groups.”)

Nevertheless, I actually enjoy time with people.  An hour once a week spent enjoying a glass of wine with a friend is a necessity for me to feel even-keel and happy.  Adult friends, though, are nearly impossible to find when you are a childless almost-30 year old who tends to pack up and move away.

Moving is hard, y’all.  Being an adult is hard.

And I’m sure that for Grant, knowing that I am sad and that there is very little he can do about it, is hard.  (Bless the man, he does try, but he would rather rent a movie and get takeout than go out. It takes all sorts.)

“Is okay.  I sleep on your feet forever. No new friends.”

I’ve found myself saying more than once this week, “I just wanna go hooo-oooome,” while crying in my car, or in Grant’s office, or on the couch.  Of course, I’m not even entirely sure where that is anymore.  I mean Batesville, but that didn’t really feel like home either.  (Though I would love to have Tuesday wine nights with Laura back in my life.)  It can’t mean Ft. Wayne.  Even though that’s where my family is, it’s certainly not where any of my friends are.  It’s probably not Chicago.  My life there was good, but it was the life of a student.  It wasn’t home.

The people I know and love have scattered to the four winds as much as I have.  So how do you do it?  How do you make new friends as an adult?  At my age, it seems like everyone has kids, and that runs their lives.  How do you meet people when you don’t know where to go or what to do?  And how do you keep them with you, when you know your location is only temporary?

Because you can only drink so much wine alone before you’re just a wino.

Gotcha Day 2016

On 5/11/2013, I made a terrible mistake and brought home the worst dog in America.

Our first picture

On 5/11/2016, I screamed because there was a many-legged THING in our new sink, and I was not dealing with that.  The Worst Dog in America then proceeded to also freak out, barking, and jumping, and grabbing my sweater to pull me away from whatever it was that was clearly going to murder me.

House Centifpede
House Centipede.  The internet says they’re our friends.  I say, KILL IT WITH FIRE NOW.

Grant got out of bed and washed it down the kitchen sink while giving me a LOOK.  I then proceeded to dump apple cider vinegar in large quantities down the sink to drown it fully in acidic awfulness and then I stuffed the sink with old ice so that IF IT MADE IT BACK, it would be more frozen than Captain America.

I then went about my morning getting ready for work, with Daisy following my every move. I checked all of my super fun social media apps, until I realized what day it was.  IT’S GOTCHA DAY!  It’s the day we pretend we’re SO LUCKY TO HAVE our awful, reactive dog!  And we give her a junior bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s!

“Mama puts the cheeseburger in my Kong and I is VERY VERY QUIET for the rest of the night so no one notices my treat.”

I kid.  Not about the cheeseburger part.  We are lucky to have her, most days. And it’s been so nice having her in Milwaukee with us.  We live across from a park where everybody walks their dogs, so it’s Sniff City, and she’s quite enamored of the lake.  She also loves her new backyard, though she is currently kept on a long line due to the bunnies living in our raised garden bed.  (We are both annoyed by this, though for me it’s more because I was actually going to garden back there.  And now I can’t dig up anything.  Because BUNNIES.)

“Why didn’t we get one of these sooner, Mama?  Also, I’m ignoring you because you won’t give me some of your sandwich.”


However, she keeps dragging her beds all over the house, and has a penchant for sleeping in the spare bedroom, curled up in the pillows.  It’s entirely possible she thinks its her room.  (So sorry to any guests we may have in future.  You may be required to share.)

“I made a nest for me, Daisy.”

We always try to do something to make the day special.  And with the fog and the overcast sky, I don’t know what it would be this year.  And yes, I know that she doesn’t know the difference.  I know it’s for me.  To commemorate the fact that I made a decision that I didn’t realize really would change my life and that I brought into it a creature who would now be a big part of my every decision.  I love and protect this kid.  And that, to me, is worth celebrating.

First walk in Milwaukee017
“I think I could swim this.”

The Evil Eye

The day I finally “advertised” this blog, and the cuteness of the Daisy, she escaped the fence and went on an hour long adventure that could have ended in heartbreak.  I was in a restaurant, 2 hours from my parents’ place, when my mom called and told me she’d been out for more than half an hour and she couldn’t be found.

I was sobbing.  In front of strangers just trying to eat some sushi. It was, shall we say, a low point.  We cancelled our order, told our dinnermates that we would be leaving, and prepared to head out into the Friday night sleet to go look for our dog.  (My parents’ place is in the country, next to a state highway and a river, with feral dogs and coyotes running around.  This was my WORST FEAR.)

As we were putting our coats on, though, I got another call. Daisy was fine. She showed up in the driveway full of mud and smelling awful. (We’ve since come to the conclusion that she was probably in the next door neighbors’ horse field and manure pile.) She was given a hot shower, and went directly to bed, where she slept all night long. Probably dreaming dreams of adventures and horse crap. Brat.

“I’m disgusting!  This is the most fun I’ve ever had, Thor!”

We went back to our dinner, where I downed the cocktail I had ordered and a sake bomb in order to keep myself from shaking. I, too, then went directly to bed. My dreams, however, were mostly about losing my best pal to God-knows-what. My subconscious is as much of a brat as my dog, as it turns out.

This left me thinking about “The Evil Eye.” Oh, sure, we’re good Americans. We don’t TALK about the “malocchio.” But I learned growing up, that bragging about something or showing it off to the universe is a surefire way of having it taken away. I posted “Miss Daisy Driving” and Miss Daisy drove herself right into harm’s way. I was naturally convinced that the whole episode was my fault for days.

That having been said, I’m not going to stop writing, even under threat of bad luck. It’s too good a way to document the crazy lives we’re leading!  Instead, we moved up our move-in date with the landlord, and I’m going to have Daisy under my control. Where she belongs. (The Brat.)  So we move into our new house on Saturday, and I’ll have Grant and Daisy where they belong! With me. Where I can tell them what to do.

Sorry for the poor quality, but this is a photo I never thought I would see.  There was a time not too long ago when these two couldn’t even lay down in the same room.  Now look at them!  It makes me a little sad she’ll be leaving so soon.

**And if you’re ever in South Bend, go to Daihido. The sushi is excellent, and the staff took excellent care of us during our crisis. They even made sure our order was put back in on a rush, and comforted me while I cried in their lobby like a lunatic. Good people.**


So…I’ve been in Milwaukee, WI for almost a month.  I’ve been living in my Aunt Steph’s house in the downstairs apartment that she currently does not have rented out.  I am SO SO GRATEFUL.  I really hate living in hotels.  So much.  Which is a whole different dynamic, since by the end of this month, I will have spent approximately 2 full weeks traveling on business.

Expense reports.  I can file them now.

Ted Cruz and I were at the same Hampton in Eau Claire. True Travel Tale.

I’m in love with Milwaukee.  IN LOVE.  It’s such a cool town, with so much going on.  Restaurants, museums, Walgreen’s AND CVS?!  Basically, I can get Vietnamese food any day of the week, and to me, that’s crazy talk.  CRAZY TALK.

Lake Michigan. A minute and a half walk. Beautiful town, this is.

I’m also enjoying getting to spend time with family that I haven’t seen very often over the last 29 years of my life.  I get to drink a glass of wine with my aunt almost any night the fancy strikes, and I get to go see the other aunts and play with new babies and learn to meet my cousins on a new level.  Rather than the previous, throwing-the-barbies-down-the-laundry-chute-and-blaming-the-boys-to-escape-the-little-girls level.  (I’m really sorry about that, Rachael and Megan.  I really didn’t feel like playing Barbies for two weeks straight.  I was 13, for the love of Pete.)

I’ve also been walking the family dogs.  Nobody tell Daisy I’m cheating on her.

I’ve gotten to see Grant twice and Daisy once.  I get to see Grant again this weekend, on my way to seeing my grandmother.  I miss my fuzzy faced princess, though.  (That would be Daisy, of course, who my parents are graciously boarding until our new apartment is vacant.)  I can’t wait to have them both here with me and to share my experiences in this new place.  I’m already planning hiking trips, and Daisy will absolutely be taking a picture with the Bronze Fonz as soon as all this Wisconsin snow clears up!

It’s not like she misses me though. She has the one thing she’s always wanted–for one of her uncles to snuggle with her. It’s no wonder she loves Thor so much.

Unemployment (Kind Of)

Well, I had my last day at the Batesville Casket Company on Friday.  It was a very busy day, filled with finishing projects, saying goodbyes, cleaning my office, and paying a large bill to the hospital that took out my gallbladder last month.  (That was a thing.)

“I wasn’t allowed to snuggle on Mama AT ALL.”

I nearly cried leaving work and had a hard time leaving my desk.  Mostly because I knew that since I didn’t have keys, I wouldn’t be able to get back in and I’m an emotional trainwreck when things come to an end.  And also because I needed to make sure that I had everything.  Because I wouldn’t be able to get back in.

I don’t start my new job until March 14th, though, so I’m basically unemployed for the next week.  I’m planning to spend my time seeing friends, babysitting, and getting ready to move.  The process of packing and sending things to Goodwill could take days.  So naturally I spent the first Saturday of this process laying on the couch with my Daisy Jane.

Queen Gracie is in charge.  And she knows it.  The babysitter is in trouble.

As per usual, things have gone wrong.  Our dryer broke, so I need to take everything to the laundromat this week.  I hate the laundromat.  I also have to figure out how I’m going to watch Outlander when Grant sold the Blu-Ray player.  After telling me I should definitely get the discs on Blu-Ray.  So many first world problems, so little time.

But snuggles though. I gives them to you, Mama.

I guess I can live with this.