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Are You A Sad Dog, or A Happy Dog?

I was about to tell you about hot dogs.

I’ve told you about my love of hot dogs before, and my fondness hasn’t weakened since then.

In fact, my hot-dog tastin’ palette has probably become more refined.  More in touch with the beyond-ketchup-and-mustard possibilities that a hot dog can be.

This is why I was going to tell you about the hot dog Mecca my brother took us to on our visit to Cleveland.  I was going to tell you about it before Justin came back in the house after he’d supposedly left for work, sheepishly poking his head through the garage door to make sure I’d at least had a few sips of my coffee before sharing his news.

“Remember that trellis that used to surround the propane tank?” he asked.

“Yes…” I said.

“Remember how it fell off so I built a real gate with new trellis?” he asked.

“Yes…” I said.

“Remember how you made me put the old trellis away in the garage? he asked.

“Yes,” I said, “after you’d let it sit in the yard for a month?  That trellis?”

“Maybe.”  He said.  “Well.  It might have fallen over last night and it might have still had nails in it and I might have backed over it with the car on my way out this morning and I might now have 2 flat tires.”




I know there’s a bigger lesson here.  Some metaphor for life about rolling with the punches because that’s just the way it is or any number of country or pop song lyrics that fit the situation.

But most of the time, it’s true.  Shit just happens.

And I could be a Sad Dog.

I could get upset about it — overreact about something over which I have no earthly control — lose my temper and curse the trellis Gods and bitch about how we now have to fork over money to fix the tires or get whole new ones and why now, because it’s so not a good time, but of course it’s never a good time.

And I could cry.  I could cry because pretty much all of the money I made last week, which admittedly isn’t very much, could very likely go to fixing the trellis situation, and why does it seem like we can never get ahead and why even bother going to work if it’s just going to go to stupid shit like tires and it figures this would happen right after I ruined a perfectly good brisket because these things always happen in threes and wait that’s just two things so what’s next?

But really, I just breathe.

Because, while I try not to live life like one of those scared, timid people always waiting for the next iceberg, I expect them.  And it doesn’t make them so bad when they clear the horizon.  They’re not so daunting.  They just are.

I could be a Sad Dog and cry about scraped knees, or I could stand up, dust off, and move on with the good stuff.  The bad stuff — the little bad stuff — doesn’t deserve that kind of attention.

But the good stuff?

The good stuff deserves all kinds of attention.

So stay tuned.

Bump, Grind, and Shake that Moneymaker — Start Monday Off Right.

Great news!

We have a solution to the coffee bean situation and my dependency problem.

I know, you’ve probably been worried about that since Thursday.

NO, I am not doing the healthy thing and quitting coffee.  Trust me when I say that would not be the healthy solution for those around me.  I was on Day 2 of super expensive salted caramel mochas from Starbucks — you know, the drink that’ll top your allotted caloric intake for the day in one, deliciously fell swoop, and I was starting to think that it wouldn’t be so bad, going to work solely to pay off my new expensive coffee habit and finally caving to the muffin top threatening to spill over my pants.

But then.

Then Justin saved me by being brilliant.

And that’s the thing about spouses: Just when they start to get under your skin and you’re working up the nerve to suggest that maybe you should live next door to each other instead of with each other because then there’d be no more whiskers in the sink and it would be quiet when you want and there would be no snoring in the middle of the night — just when you’re about to explain how if he never buys any computer stuff ever again and you start buying regular coffees instead of salted caramel mochas, it’s possible you could afford another house next door — just when all that is about to happen, spouses go and do something brilliant, and you’re reminded that you would probably miss the stupid whiskers in the sink.

So this brilliant thing Justin did is he remembered that somewhere in the bowels of our kitchen cabinets we had stowed away a Magic Bullet.

And no, not that kind of Magic Bullet, you dirty, dirty readers.

That’s a silver bullet — not to be kept in the kitchen, lest it be confused with this kind of bullet:

The as-seen-on-TV kind.  Basic cable.  Not Showtime.

A friend once gave it to me as a birthday gift, and now, almost 8 years later to the day, we’re putting it to use.  Because it grinds coffee beans.  As Barb pointed out in the comments of last week’s post, it’s not the most pleasant sound to listen to first thing in the morning.  BUT.  But it only takes 3-4 seconds of pain before I can smell those fresh ground beans, and then.

All is right with the world.


Except now I’m kind of terrified because it’s my turn to do something brilliant.

See, Justin’s probably about ready to buy tent for me to sleep in the back yard, because I haven’t done anything brilliant as of late and am starting to get annoying.

Enter last night’s cocktails.

We’re not normally “cocktail” kind of people.  We’ll usually crack open a bottle of wine or pour a couple of fizzy beers come happy hour in our household, but last night?  I pulled out the shaker and made something a little more… buzzworthy.

(Blurry photo taken with my camera phone.  But this time it might not be the phone’s fault it’s so blurry.)

So buzzworthy, in fact, that you’ll forget to take a photo until after you drink it.

In case you missed the recipe last night on the Domestiphobia Facebook page, here it is.  A recipe from my friend Mel for the (Almost) Perfect Sidecar:

  • 2 chilled martini glasses
  • Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I’m told the bottled stuff leaves an aftertaste).
  • 2 Tbsp. Cointreau (it’s a liquor made from bitter oranges — you could probably substitute with less-expensive Triple sec)
  • 1/4 C. brandy
  • 4 brandied cherries (2 each) I’m lucky because Mel made these herself and then gave me some, and now I’m spoiled for life.  But don’t worry, you can buy them, too.

Simply fill your shaker with ice, pour in the lemon juice, Cointreau, and brandy, and shake that moneymaker for a good few seconds after condensation forms on the outside.  Pour the sugar onto a small plate and dip the rim of your martini glasses into it.  Then pour in your drinks and plop in a couple of cherries.


These were almost perfect, except for the fact that they called for vanilla sugar, which I didn’t make or buy.  Apparently it’s as easy as adding a vanilla bean to a jar of sugar for 6 weeks, but I didn’t want to wait that long.

And you know what?

I don’t regret it.

I Love Beans. Just Not in My Coffee Cup.

I have a problem.

A very serious problem.

Just WHAT, pray tell, am I supposed to do with these?

Nowhere on the bag does it say coffee BEANS.

It should say, “These are NOT grounds.  They are BEANS.  So, if you do not have a coffee grinder, do NOT buy this bag.


Now I somehow have to finish this post, get dressed, and drive my car before I can get a fix and actually wake up.

Which means that if you’re smart and live in the Fort Bragg, NC area, you should probably stay off of the roads until then.

Also, after I wrote that last sentence, I had to run down the street in my socks after the recycling truck because I forgot to put out the bin.  Because I have no coffee.  And even brisk morning sock running did not do coffee’s job for me.

So I’m sorry, dear readers, that the rest of the Cleveland chronicles will have to wait.  If you have a problem with that, you can thank our friends at Archer Farms for not presenting with clear packaging.  Because the truth is, I can barely write a coherent sentence, let alone an entire blog post.  Coffee and I have a problem with co-dependency, you see.  Or maybe it’s just my problem with dependency.  But I’d like to think that the coffee needs me as much as I need it.

It helps with my self-esteem.

Any other habits out there that you almost NEED to start your day or get to sleep?  Tell me I’m not the only one.

***UPDATE*** It has been pointed out to me by my friend Lacey that I am a colossal, blind idiot because the “Whole Bean” label is right there.  In the photo.  The photo I took and stared at, along with the bag itself, for a good 5 minutes making sure it did not say “Whole Bean”.  It must have been my coffee-deprived state of mind that blinded me to this label.  My apologies to the fine folks at Archer Farms.  Though.  I’m thinking maybe some people have a hard time seeing writing inside of circles.  It could be a serious disorder, the likes of which I’ve only begun to uncover.  Did the Archer Farms marketing people ever think of that?  I didn’t think so.

I Go to Weddings for Free Booze and Cake. Oh, and Love.

Despite the fact that everyone around me is popping out bellies and babies like we’ve reached some kind of colossal Lemming-like tipping point of a giant cliff and after the first person stepped off, everyone else just followed right along because they had to — because jumping off of cliffs is the thing to do, didn’tcha know, and somehow I’m stuck standing at the precipice, staring down into the abyss, thinking it looks kind of interesting down there in the clouds and I’ve always enjoyed a free-fall, but do I really want to fall that long at that fast?

So despite the fact that all of that is happening, I’m happy because there are still people in my life who are in the we’re-getting-married-so-let’s-have-a-kick-ass-wedding stage.

That doesn’t mean I’m happy because I’m a girly girl who loves planting my bony butt on a rock-hard pew and crying through an hour-long pomp and circumstance of nuptials.  And it’s certainly not because I’m a girly girl who loves donning a fancy dress, sparkling jewelry, and enough hairspray to fuel a rocket launch to the moon.


It’s because I’m a girly girl who appreciates a fully stocked open bar for an evening, champagne toasts, line dancing with strangers, and a vast assortment of “special occasion” food: from little trays of bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvres and plates of fruit and cheese, to a buffet or sit-down dinner of various stuffed chicken, pasta, and steak, to a veritable smorgasbord of meal-ending sweets in the form of wedding cake, pastries, and an actual bar full of candy.  Just take a bag and fill it up!  Seriously?  Does it get better than that?

Oh, it does.  Because at this particular wedding, the thoughtful bride — or, probably more accurately the thoughtful bride’s father — provided baskets of flip-flops in the ladies’ restroom for when our footsies got sore after all of that dancing.

And after several champagne toasts, complimentary Cabernet, and a vodka sprite with a twist of lime, wearing those bright-pink flip-flops felt like walking on a cloud.

A cloud.

It mattered not that the flops clashed horribly with my royal blue dress (which is way darker than it looks in the on-line picture).  In fact, I’m pretty sure hot pink and royal blue is the next up-and-coming color trend.

(This is the part where you hate me because I don’t have a single picture of myself in the dress.  Not one.  Though I’ll keep an eye out for any wedding photos that happen to crop up with me in them.)

Anyway.  The whole thing got me thinking about weddings, and how silly it seems to spend all that dough for just one evening to impress people, and how no one really would’ve cared if there weren’t any flip-flops or extra pastries or bacon-wrapped delicacies or free booze, because a bring-your-own-beer barbecue in the back yard would have done just as well to celebrate the joining of two lives among family and friends.

But then.

The groom, whom I’ve known since my freshman year of college, chose his father as his Best Man.  His heartwarming toast was followed by that of the bride’s father — the guy responsible for keeping 200+ people swimming in booze, food, and flip-flops for the evening.

And he said something.

He said, “We all know that every little girl* grows up dreaming about her wedding day — about the dress she’ll wear, what kind of cake she’ll have, and what kind of footwear she’ll provide in the ladies’ restroom.”  (Just kidding.  He didn’t say that last part.)

*I did not grow up dreaming about my wedding day.  I for sure thought I’d elope.  If I even got married at all.

Then he said, “What we don’t know is that every girl’s father dreams of her wedding day, too.  Except it’s more like nightmares.”

[Insert uproarious laughter from the crowd.]

“But then,” he said, “you look out across your friends and family, all smiling and here for your girl.  And you look at her and see how beautiful she is — ”

And that’s where he lost it.

His voice cracked.

The tears came.  Not just from him, but from every. single. woman in the room.

Myself included.

He finished with something about love and how his love for his daughter makes the fact that he’ll be living off of nothing but Ramen noodles for the next 3 years entirely worth it.  (Just kidding.  He didn’t say that last part.)

But I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.

And you know, even though my first choice for a wedding would have included about 8 people barefoot on a beach in Fiji, it doesn’t really matter.  The bride was happy.  The groom was happy.  Their parents were ecstatic.  And when the champagne buzz wears off and they have a mountain of bills and beautiful photographs to show for it, Real Life will start and at least they’ll have started it off exactly the way they wanted.

And, for a rainy day, they’ll have the gift I bought them.

Tucked inside a cooler hand-picked from their registry is a bottle of good champagne and a 6-pack of Natural Light.

On the card,

Three gifts:
One for remembering the past,
One for celebrating the future,
And one for keeping it all cool.

It’s a metaphor.

I think.

Cleveland Rocks. Even When It’s A Blustering Ball of Freezing Wind and Rain.


I’m pretty sure that’s about all the eloquence I can muster this morning.  Lemme try again.


Yep, that’s it.

I kind of feel like I just got home from a whirlwind weekend trip to Cleveland, OH, whose biting winds and rains gusting off Lake Erie tried their damndest to blow me right back to North Carolina the entire time we were there.

Prepared was I not for winter to hit me after a mere 9 hour drive through picturesque North Carolina and West Virginia mountains, and it was probably somewhere along that invisible border between barbecue and banjos that I realized the most obvious item to pack — aside from the dress I planned on wearing to my friend Collin’s wedding — was still tucked safely inside my not-often-opened coat closet all the way back home.

Because it’s a coat.

A coat I forgot to bring.

To Cleveland.

And apparently I’m not the brightest crayon in the box.

Although I’d like to think of myself as more naively optimistic — like, if I think hard enough that it’s going to stay summer forever, it just might happen.

Either that, or we’ll get magical orders from the military to move to Hawaii.


So.  Despite the fact that I had no coat, we didn’t let that stop us from having a fantastic time at the wedding and exploring Cleveland in all its glory.

Especially thanks to this guy:

Remember my brother?

If I’m lucky, I get to see him every few years or so.  And this year, I’m very lucky.

Not only because we got to hang with my brother, but because he humored our need to brave the weather to see a famous movie house, eat the fanciest hot dog I’ve ever eaten, and sample nearly every flavor of martini under the sun.

Those posts are coming, I promise.

But for right now, I need to finish my coffee and stand under a steaming shower for about 45 minutes in order to prepare myself for venturing off to work.  Because I’m pretty sure I have to thaw before I can once again become a functioning member of non-vacationing society.

And that’s a major bummer.

(Not thawing — that will be nice.  But becoming a functioning member of non-vacationing society?  Total buzz kill.)