Monday, August 31, 2009

Photohunt: Surprise!

I found this site called . It sounds fun; you just post a photo that captures the theme of the week. There are some very creative ones if you look through the comments. Anyways, I thought Id give it a try, so here it goes...

This is from one morning when I woke up to find Melman rolling around in the catnip that he got into overnight. I think he was fully enjoying his kitty high!

Really really bad service!

I mean really bad! My mom, my sister, and I met for happy hour last Friday. My mom works right by a shopping area with a few chain restaurants but we decided to go to a locally owned bar instead. We had been there 2 times before and the first time we had great service and met the owner who talked to us for a while. It was a nice local feeling experience.
The next time we went our server (a different one, we will call her Trish) wasn't the best and she was pretty crabby...but it was really hot and there was no ac so we gave her the benefit of the doubt. My low end for tipping is 15%. I have put my fair share of time in as a server and bartender so I know that sometimes you are just having a bad day. As long as you make an effort and don't act blatantly rude to me, you will get 15%. Needless to say, we gave Trish 15% that time.

Now for this Friday. My mom and sister were already there when I got there. I sat down and Trish came over to get my drink order. I asked for the house cab which I have gotten both previous times and she said "we don't have one." This seemed awfully convenient since happy hour was only applicable to the house wine, but alas I ordered a non-happy hour wine. She brought it by without a word and did the same with our appetizers a few minutes later. My mom asked for ranch and she walked away wordlessly, leaving us to wonder if she even heard us. She came back and put ranch on the table. That was the last bit of attention we received the entire time we were there!

We sat for over 45 minutes with not even a look in our direction! Empty glasses, dirty food plates, no water and no bill. Its not like we were even out of the way, we were right next to the bar! Close enough to hear her flirting with the rail customers while we were being neglected. My mom finally went up to the bar and asked to pay the bill. We tipped $1. I literally never tip less than 10% (that is my amount if needed for "bad" service), but this was obscene. She was blatantly not serving us for whatever reason.
Wouldn't you know, I got home and realized that my license must have fell out of my purse at some point in the bar. Awesome. Trish already didn't like us for some unknown reason. Then we tipped her $1 which I know she displaced on us rather than attributing to her own crappy service. I can visualize her finding my license, laughing, and tossing it in the garbage. I knew it was fruitless, but I went in the next morning to look for it and leave a note with my number. Big surprise, no one called.

So now, tomorrow morning I get to spend a good chunk of time at the oh-so-fun DMV and waste $20 that I don't have on getting a new license. Oh well, at least I don't have to serve tables anymore!
Anyone else have a bad restaurant/bar experience to share?

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Squishy..

I love my cat! Her name is Squash, but we call her Squishy. She is seriously the cutest thing in the entire world....ok, I admit that I may be biased, but just look at her!
Why the name Squash you ask? She was brought into the vet clinic I was working at back home. She was only a couple of weeks old and was brought in by some kids. They said that they were supposed to be feeding their neighbors kittens while she was gone. They went over to check on them and found her crying on the floor with blood on her. So the vet went to work giving her medication and trying to figure out what was wrong. She didn't cry if we held her so we all took turns holding her while we tried to get ahold of the owner. She finally answered her phone and we found out that she was at Sturgis. She said she had rolled her over with a rocking chair but left her there because "I didn't want to be late for Sturgis!" We told her what we were doing and she said she didn't want to spend any money on her so just put her to sleep. Well by this time we were all attached, so she became a clinic project.
She was paralyzed and couldn't eat. We hand fed her watered down wed food and gave her shots in her little back 3 times a day. Then the weekend came and the sucker that I am, I offered to take her home and continue her treatments. Well as you can imagine, I fell in love! Who wouldn't? She was teeny tiny, would cry until you held her, and was fighting like hell to be able to walk. I didn't really have the time or money to take another pet so I was trying to talk myself out of it. But then one night she was sitting in my lap on the floor and she found a way to drag her little 2lb self over to my dog Beau and curled up in his tail....I was hooked for life! Beau wasn't so sure, but she even grew on him.
That was 5 years ago. Today Squash is a moody and very odd cat. She tries really hard but somehow doesn't always make it in the litter box so we have to have a system rigged up to make it work for her. She walks louder than our 100lb dog even though she only weighs about 5lbs. Any amount of stress in her life caused her entire butt end to go bald for months. She never grew into her meow so she still sounds like a kitten. She hates everyone in the world except for us and would likely cause serious bodily harm if she felt it was required. She plays with invisible bugs and climbs the walls to get them. She quite often forgets what she is doing and walks family circus style paths through the house trying to figure it out.
Moral of the story: Save a life, adopt your pets. It can be a hassle I know, but I believe that everyone in the world needs a Squishy!
Anyone else have crazy pet stories? I know you do.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On feeling valuable

I just finished my year long practicum (pre/part-time internship) at a local prison. I spent a year conducting therapy and administering personality and intelligence assessment to offenders in a unit specifically for those with a psychiatric diagnosis. This was my first of 2 practicum experiences before embarking on the adventure of internship.

Nervous. Scared. Worthless. Inadequate. Timid. These are mearly a sampling of the vast emotions that I was overloaded with upon my first entrance through those double walled and barbwired gates that lead into a completely different world. There are no textbooks or lectures that can prepare you for that first time you sit with a client in pain. Its just there, in the space between you, waiting to be experienced.

As many first time therapists do, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should be saying or what orientation would best benefit this client....or "oh god, am I even using an orientation?" I fumbled. I faltered. I tried way to hard and thought about it all way too much. Then, I learned to just do what I am best at. I listened and I cared. I allowed for silence to do it's work. I expressed honest empathy. I sat with men who rarely get viewed as humans and treated them with respect.

I am not going to say I didn't make mistakes because I definitely did. I am not a world class therapist or even worthy of a degree yet. But, I experienced. I learned. And I grew. I made a very slight difference in a few people's lives. That is a beginning and it is enough, all at the same time.

Worthy. Strong. Accomplished. Hopeful. Valuable. I left those same gates with a different outlook. I went in scared and unsure. I left strong and aware of my effect on others. I am so excited to start my career in this field. I feel like I fit there, like I will not only be effective but also that I will benefit from the little changes that I will be able to witness in others. The joy is in the details of the experience. I am so proud to be a part of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just because I love anything that allows me to talk about my books!

Knitting yarns did this post and I love it, so here it goes;

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest.-
Wow, Id have to say its a book with a compilation of dog stories. I don't think it even has a name! Ive had books my entire life but as far as my current bookshelves go (which I love by the way!) that is probably it.

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time).
I'd have to say Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. It reminds me of a specific time in my life. I was just coming to terms with and embracing my sexuality. This book shows the love between 2 women so beautifully. It isn't in your face or trying to prove a point. It just tells their love story and I really appreciated the normalcy of it. This is one of those books that I will read many times in my life. Oh, and it is way better than the movie which I have also loved forever!

The book that’s been with you to the most places.
Probably My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. I read this book over the course of 2 days in every spare moment I had. Literally! I had it with me everywhere and read it everywhere; bathroom stalls, in line at the grocery store...everywhere! For me it was the epitome of one of those books that you cant stop reading but yet you don't want to end.

The most recent addition to your shelves.
Being super poor in grad school, I have come to love the library even more than half price books. But, I did recently buy the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I knew that even if I borrowed it, it would end up being one to buy. Its a book set in Seattle and written from the perspective of a dog. I mean come on, it was practically written for me! It was worth the $8, go read it! :)

Your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next.
Currently I am reading (actually listening to book on cd because I have to actually read books for my dissertation and there are way too many of them to list!) The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle. My last read was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which was different but really good. I also just saw the movie which was good, not as good as the book but that goes without saying! I don't know what my next will be. I have 3 different ones checked out from the library. I will let you know when I get there!

Alright - your turn to play along! Either do this meme on your blog, or answer in comment form one or all of the questions!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I'm out of the teens and up to 20 followers!!! I guess I am sort of a big thing ;) Thank you to Johnz my 20th follower. Oh and yes, I know I am a dork!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

what am I doing wrong?!

Update: I think I got it fixed, so link away!

I just realized that none of my links work unless I keep it as the original URL. What am I doing wrong? Help me!!

Butt tags?!

I found this on craig's list and thought it was hilarious! Dogs have butt holes, they don't need to be covered up by a smiley face or a flower! Ahh, the things that people spend their money on.....

Here is the link to the actual website, its pretty funny :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lars and the real girl

You know how when you accidentally forget to update your Netflix queue and you end up with a movie that you didn't really want to watch, one that was just on there as a "buffer"? Well that is how Lars and the Real Girl ended up in our mailbox...and then on top of our tv for about a week. Last night we finally decided to try to watch it so that we could return it and get something we wanted. Well, a beautifully serendipitous thing happened....I loved it!

The movie is billed as a comedy about a man who falls in love with a sex doll. They need to fire their advertising exec because not only did that sound really stupid, it completely misses the point of the movie! It is about community, family, accepting differences, and the psychopathology of everyday life (a corny Freud reference for those who aren't dorky enough to recognize it).

Ok this is my synopsis, I will try my best to not include spoilers!

Lars starts the movie off as a painfully socially awkward man in his late 20s. He cant talk to women at all, not even his sister in law. He is basically agoraphobic; afraid of the world outside of the garage that he lives in. His sister in law (who is the most lovable movie character you will ever see!) keeps trying to get him out of his shell but nothing is working. So, he orders a real doll (warning! the site is graphic) but not as a sex toy, he just wants a companion. He goes a little overboard with her; bringing her to dinners and church, buying a wheelchair, and taking her to the doctor. This though is how he meets the psychologist who talks his family into "going along with the delusion" so he can work out what he needs to. The odd thing is that this doll makes him normal! Suddenly he is happy and talkative and...well, "normal." I am not going to tell any more of the plot because I really want you to see it!

I love the premise of this movie because it challenges the realm of "normal." It shows how something that could be considered an illness and weird could really just be a way for the person to work things out. In Lars' case, he needed to work through grief, his pain presented in a socially "weird" way, but he found his own way to work through it. I am a strong believer in feeling emotions and the individuality of experiences. This movie epitomizes that belief in a beautifully weird way!

Has anyone else seen it? Any thoughts? Any other movies that were surprisingly good?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Furry Friday

Domino thinks he is a snake wrangler! Actually in reality, he was terrified of this toy when I brought it home. It is about 4ft long and he would walk all the way around it when it was one the floor. It took our teeny tiny cat playing with it for him to finally get up the nerve.....thats our snake wrangler!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The inadequacies of our society's paychecks!

I saw a post yesterday on the most underpaid jobs and it made me sick! It said that EMTs make an average of $10/hour. They save lives and are readily susceptible to traumatic experiences and they make about as much as a line cook in a restaurant! Every time I think about how overpayed celebrities and professional athletes and how underpaid the people who are actually making a difference are, I want to scream. When did our society-wide payscale get so skewed?

These are the average salaries with 10 years of experience according to;
Elementary school teacher $50,000 (they are mentoring and guiding our future!)
Police officer: $55,000 (they risk their lives for us!)
Firefighter: $50,000 (they risk their lives not only for us, but also for our possessions. Id say that running into a burning building to save my couch is worth way more than $25/hour!)
RN: $60,000 (they are monitoring our health, working long grueling hours, and by our bedside during our most difficult times)

And yet the popular movie stars are making millions per movie! Keep these statistics in mind the next time you drop your kids off at school or require any medical attention. Please give these people the respect that they deserve because they are definitely not getting paid what they are worth!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Check out the new adventure!

Hi, we decided to start blogging about our lovely little community. We have some interesting neighbors who are always home (grr...)! Check it out, it should be interesting.
Crystal and Rachel

ps: we are fully expecting the producers of desperate housewives to give us a call (we are basically the opposite of wisteria lane!) so leave a comment and it may make its way onto the show!
pps: I am going to recruit Rashida Jones to play me because I love her! ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Anonymous secrets

I have recently discovered the postsecret website and I love it! I know this is probably old news to everyone else, but I was unaware that they had a blog, I thought it was just books. I love these admissions of secrets. I think that they are aesthetically and cathartically indulgent. It is so amazing to see these glimpses into someones deepest secrets.

Here are a few of my favorites...

I did this and it was great!

Be nice to the people who serve you food and beverages! How many times do we have to say this?!

I'm a sucker for strays...

Because I am a firm believer that life will get better, even when it is impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Where is this coffee shop?!

Yeah, I already have a few pairs picked out :)

Inspired, I made a few of my own;

Anyone want to give me cash for my clunker?!

My car died today. I called roadside assistance to get a jump because I was at a house doing a dog walk. The guy apparently has jumped my car previously (like I said...its a clunker) and said "Oh, you again" when he pulled up. What the hell does that mean? I am a very nice person and you get paid for the 5 minutes it takes me to jump my car! Only I didn't say that, I said "Yup, sorry to have you do this." Why did I say sorry to this man doing his job?!

He jumped my car, left, I ran it for 15 minutes and put it into died. I didn't call back.

My mom's boyfriend came to get me when he was done at the DMV (another fun experience involving cars!). We jumped it. It died again. We went to buy a battery. He put it in.

5 hours later, I got home! I walked dogs for half an hour, made $12, and wasted 5 hours of my life! Who wants to buy a car?!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In search of silence

When I moved away from ND, I was ready! I needed a change in many different forms; scenery, atmosphere, temperature(!), societal views, availability of experience, well you get the point. I love WA and the changes that I have been able to make within myself because of this move. But, there are those times when I really miss certain aspects of ND; simplicity, community, a societal sense of motivation, and mostly, family.

Currently, I am in one of those times as the noise of my life is overwhelming me. My neighbors are having what they consider a yard sale (aka: a junk yard has been transported into my front yard and labeled with price tags), the kids are multiplying by the day to be left outside under the watchful care of their bikes and toys, the dogs are even multiplying and becoming more vocal (not my lovely Domino of course, he is actually cared for and not left to roam!), and the noise of police sirens are becoming more of a staple. As I type, I am listening to all of this with the oxymoronic sound of an ice cream truck directly outside of my window. There is a line of kids waiting to fork over money, can she not turn the monotonous high pitched music off now?!

Ever since I moved here, I have noticed that I crave silence. I started driving with the radio off, finding myself sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing, and searching for secluded parks so that I can just sit. I need silence! I spent most of my childhood and adolescence living in the country of ND surrounded by fields. Sadly, I don't remember ever paying attention to the absence of noise. I took it for granted along with the lack of crime and news reports showcasing the local fair or a sale at the mall simply to fill the hour. I guess it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

So, I have traded in my silence for opportunity, mild weather, and an open minded atmosphere. I still believe it is a good trade but am reminded of that sacrifice as I search for my silence. As I am researching the slow hours at the local park, finding a coffee shop that doesn't play music (not an easy task!), suffering through heat and stale air so that my windows can be closed, and writing nasty letters to my school library about the absurd noise that is allowed (that's a whole other rant that you don't want to get me started on!), I will miss my scarcely inhabited open spaces back home. Someday I will find my silence again.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ambiguous astrology

I was cleaning out my myspace page that I never look at anymore and found this blog I wrote a couple of years ago (I am not sure why, did anyone ever read myspace blogs?!). I remembered how much I loved the concept of it when I wrote it so I decided to recycle it here. It was also pretty cool to reread it and realize the areas where I have grown since then. I am much more open to things that I do not fully understand which is a goal that I made a wishful statement towards here (ahh, growth...). Ok well, here you go, enjoy;

Ok, a preface to this: I don't really follow astrology, I'm too much of a empirically derived psychology student to believe that my life can (or should) be ran weekly by a blurb in the paper or that my destiny is predetermined by my birthday. I have no judgements against people who do strongly believe in it, its just simply not my cup of tea.

But...with that said; I do tend to fit into the Pisces framework of an introspective, empathetic, always the listener, individualistic kind of person who tends to let people walk over me. Whether that is due to my astrological day of birth or simply coincidence, I don't know...but whatever, I can say "yes, I am a pisces!"

Ok, to the point! I read my astrology in the stranger today and loved it! So much, that my skeptical-about-signs, stubborn self actually decided to blog about it so, here it is.....

"Pisces: Musician Sarah McLachlan told the crowd at one of her concerts: "I feel great about singing really depressing songs." In the U2 song "A Man and a Woman", Bono sings, "The only pain is to feel nothing at all". They are your role models in the coming week, Pisces. I hope they inspire you to feel grateful for your capacity to experience such intense emotions. You’re lucky to be so sensitive! You’re blessed to have so much vital force! So please celebrate your talent for feeling melancholy and overwhelmed. Congratulate yourself for being such a connoisseur of guilt, confusion, and anxiety. you’re more alive than other people. You’ve got a soul as big and wild and deep as the Amazon River."

I just think its an awesome way to look at otherwise viewed negative emotions as an amazing capacity for empathy! What a wonderful way to embrace deep emotions of all forms. And oh, so very true for me. I used to get sad driving over the Narrows when the new one was lit up because it seemed so unfair to leave the old one in the dark like a used up friend! (seriously Crystal, its a bridge!)

But, just to reiterate my skepticism for astrology, here is a quote from Libra that also fits me (I guess I am a Libra this week too!):
"British pop star Kate Nash sent a message in a song to a guy she had a crush on, "I wish that you knew when I said two sugars, actually, i meant three." In other words, her idea of a soul mate is someone who reads her mind and knows what she needs even if she isn’t clear about what she needs..." (not that I'm proud of that aspect of me, but its definitely true!) (ps: I don't necessarily believe in soul mates, but that's a whole different blog...)

My conclusion is that its simply the ambiguity of the statements and qualities that makes it so "fitting" to you. Wow, I wish I wasn't such a psychology student (or analytical Pisces...hmmm...) and could just believe in the un-understandable!

And here is a quote from Gemini that is just for fun!
"It’s an excellent time to seek out new allies, expand your social network, and make connections with influences that will motivate you to grow smarter and stronger. Here are the kinds of connections you might want to be on the lookout for: (1) hard workers who find everything funny, (2) down-to-earth idealists who place no emotional value on having expensive possessions, (3) nerds who are cocky in mysterious ways, (4) humble perfectionists who obsess over the integrity of every little thing they do and then mock themselves for being so conscientious, (5) couples who hold hands and jump into big puddles with their nice clothes on, and (6) sympathetic listeners who will kindly kick your ass if you need it." This one is just super cool because I really want to meet numbers 3, 5 and 6!!!

side note: since I wrote this blog, I have found someone who has allowed me to be a #5 kind of couple, how amazing is that?!