Friday, September 30, 2011

update on the restaurant situation

I mentioned somewhere that it's one of our goals or intentions for our time here in our apartment to eat 19/21 meals at home (or prepared at home) a week, translated to eating out only twice a week.  I knew it would be crazy hard for us for a number of reasons:  we are social people, I occasionally get bored with grocery shopping and/or cooking, I'm obsessed with Groupons and Living Social deals and we're in a new place surrounded by places we haven't tried yet and want to.  If I had to grade us for last week, I'd give us a B+.  And I should also mention that some of Adam's travel schedule necessitates meals at restaurants but he's reimbursed for those so we're not counting that and he is making an effort to take his lunch even when traveling when the opportunity is there.

We had brunch with our running peeps after the 5K.  These may get lumped into the "doesn't count category" going forward.  I mean, running makes anything ok, right?  No?  Shoot.  But it was brunch, which is never all that expensive!

On Saturday night, we finally used some AMC passes that I was given two Christmases ago to see Moneyball.  We wanted to go to the theater (that's in a mall) early to make sure it didn't sell out since it was opening weekend.  Neither of us were hungry before we left so we ended up at PF Chang's during the hour and a half we had to kill before the movie.  On the plus side, we passed over the prix fixe menu that would have been way too much food to split two appetizers and an entree.  It ended up being perfect.  On the not-cost-effective side, we each had a beer (but they were so cheap for an awesome local microbrew!) which I wasn't planning.  We did, however, see a free movie (apparently a $22 value these days) and smuggled in our own treats so no money was wasted on the insane concessions.  HOLY MOLY movies are expensive even here.

On Sunday night, I had book club so that was my third meal out of the week.  Oops.  But I kind of feel like it's important to get out and meet people (and maybe actually read the book next month, sorry guys) and it was BYOB so my Trader Joe's Vinho Verde came in very handy, thank you Mr. Movers for making sure it got here safely.  I only ate half of my dinner and brought the rest home for Adam to snack on and take for lunch on Monday so getting 3ish meals out of one restaurant entree and salad isn't too bad.

Like I said, it wasn't a perfect effort but it was a B+ in my book.  I might have to modify the original goal to 3 meals out a week, which would end up being one social occasion, one fitness related meal out (after running, biking or yogaing with a group) and one date night.  Either way, it's still a vast improvement over where we were in Chicago, where we could easily convince each other to go out to eat any given night of the week.

the battle royale

Is royale even a word?  Spell checker is picking at me about it but I mean it the way that the burger is talked about in Pulp Fiction.  As in, a large war that is taking place in our home.

As I've mentioned before, Higgins came from who-knows-what kind of situation, but seeing as how we did not get him from Paws In the City, his life must have been worse than the dog that Tara Harper rescued on Most Eligible Dallas (sidenote:  if you aren't watching, you should be.  It's stereotypical Dallas-ism at it's finest.  I love it, Adam hates it, it's awesome reality TV).  But the fact that he was removed from his prior life by Dallas Animal Services and that they warned us he was taken from abuse signals to me that he was living some bad times.  The four months he spent in the pound were probably pretty crappy too.  As much as we love seeing the fun parts of his personality emerge, we're also seeing some bad habits that need to be broken as he comes out of his shell.

We are crate training him for now, which I feel is safer since he tends to like to chew things all the time and things that he shouldn't be chewing when he's unsupervised.  I also think it's just good for him to have a little den of his own that keeps him safe when we're not home or overnight.  Sometimes he'll whine or bark a bit when we are leaving the house but he's never been noisy at night, so of course, on Wednesday night as we turned into bed and got him settled in his "cratey" (yes, I'm a tool and call it that), I had to open my big mouth and remark to Adam how great it was that he never whines at night.  Fast forward five minutes and cue the whining from Higgins over on stage right.  I was anti-happy about this latest development.  This continued off and on for most of the night and he'd knock it off when I got all stern-voicy with him and told him to stop.  Adam uses his amazing powers of heaviest sleep on the planet to ignore it but it definitely disturbs me and keeps me up.  Last night was more of the same at about 3:00 a.m. and I finally pushed the crate into the living room but I could still hear his whining.  Since we had a rainstorm last night and everyone knows dogs are usually to prissy to take care of their business in the rain, I took him out for a quick potty break just to be sure.  I did put him back in the crate as soon as we got back in the house.  I refuse to lose this little battle I have on my hands.  I laid down on the couch to catch up on the 4 a.m. traffic reports and continued to encourage him not to whine.

I feel like Higgins is perfect training for our potential future as parents to an actual human.  He's just testing his limits, as I tried to explain to Adam the other day.  Adam thinks that one day Higgins will just go get in his crate as soon as we tell him to, I argue that he's just like a kid and kids are very rarely excited about going down for a nap and we'll probably be picking him up and bringing him over to his crate for the rest of his days.  This battle is sort of my way of letting Higgins "cry it out" and I want to be the boss of this relationship.  When I say crate, it means:  settle down and get in your crate and let me sleep, darn DOG!  We both hope that one day he'll be at a point where he can just get in his bed and go down for the night, but now is not the time as he's still a bit confused as to his days and nights and when it's appropriate to want to play.  We also have a strict "no getting on the beds" policy in the Nard Dog house that applies to all non-humans and I know that he'll jump up to lay with us in the night if we let him roam freely about our room.

As you can see, we've been very confused as to when it's play time since Mr. Higgy has been like this for 99.9% of today:

Some days he's more of a terror than a terrier.  We still have some work to do with the whole training of the dog business, but at least we have potty training down, right?

(great... why did I open my mouth, tomorrow's blog post will probably be about all the accidents Higgins has in the house today)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

being kind of "eh" at everything

I have a wide variety of pursuits that I enjoy that include yoga, running, biking, walking and other more adventurous things when I can (skiing, water skiing, swimming, TRX, Pilates, weight training, etc.).  I'm not particularly good at any of them, even yoga.  You know the saying, "those who can't do, teach".  That's me.  I will most likely never be able to bend my body in some of the ways that advanced yogis can and some of the arm balances are just a little bit out of my reach.  We won't even discuss my evil nemesis, handstand.  I think I'm about average at it and I just happened to learn how to use my words to guide others to be able to do yoga themselves.  And then there's running.  It's equally fun and torture for me.  I love it but I more accurately shuffle or scoot rather than what most people would define as running.  I am slow and I've come to terms with that.  Same with biking.  I don't really like the hunched over stance of a traditional road bike and eventually sold the one I had in favor of a hybrid or commuter bike.  It's fine for what I do, which is not racing, but more accurately could be described as leisurely riding.  I am mediocre at almost everything that I do for fitness fun but I'm completely fine with that.  It means that I can be a part of the various communities.  I love the yoga community and even the more rigid and competitive Bikram yoga group.  I enjoy running and catching up with my friends at the finish line after they've smoked me in a race.  I get amped up when the wind is blowing in my face as I ride my bike and I can be a stereotypical snarky cyclist with the best of them (although, that is much less of a problem on the trails here in Dallas but to the lovely people that use the Lakefront Path in Chicago:  the little yellow line in the middle works just like a regular road.  Stay on your side and everyone stays safe)(and also, I think that lots of cyclists are misunderstood.  Turn down your music and get some self-awareness of what's going on around you when you're using a mixed-use trail).

Being just "eh" at a variety of pursuits gives me the opportunity to be a well-rounded "athlete (ha!) and means that I meet a wide range of people that enjoy, and may happen to be gifted at, some really cool things.  It also keeps me from ever feeling totally burned out, which doing yoga so intensively almost did for me this summer.  It was nice to take a break from it when we moved.  It took me a long time to want to put on my running shoes after the marathon.  For now, maintaining a balance between everything and not concentrating too hard on any one thing is what is working for me.  One day, I'm going to do a triathlon, which I'm sure will bring me an entirely new group of people to chase during races.  I'll probably finish in the middle to the back of the pack but as long as I'm having fun doing it, it's worth it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

now i'm just irritated

There are a lot of Dallas haters out there.  They say stupid things like "there is no nice outdoor space in Dallas" or "it's too pretentious".  Yes, there are pretentious people (see:  Most Eligible Dallas for their hangout spots).  There are areas of town that are full of the types of people that get all dressed up and dolled up to go out for drinks, not that I care about that type of thing, it's just not my scene.  I don't care what you are wearing (unless it's cute and cheap and you want to tell me about it) or whose name is on your bag or how much make-up you can pile on your face.  It's not for me.  That scene exists here but it does everywhere (ahem, River North in Chicago, blech).  We've been lucky to find our little pocket of what works for us and it's been great so far.

Today I took an epic bike ride from our place in Deep Ellum, found the Santa Fe Trail and spent the next two-ish hours getting lost on the trails around White Rock Lake.  It's not the same as the Lakefront Path, but it's also not as crowded.  The only thing that bugged me was the people in their cars that didn't obey the flashing signs that told them they needed to yield to me on the Santa Fe Trail, but that happens everywhere.  However, I have a big mouth and I'm not afraid to tell the men with their window down that slowed down to stare at me on my bike that they should have yielded to me and that they can take a picture of my sweaty hot mess because it would last longer.  But that's neither here nor there, there is plenty of outdoor awesomeness in Dallas but very few people are using it.  There's amazing natural beauty to be able to forget you are in the middle of a huge city as you ride on a trail surrounded by trees and just when you think you might have made a wrong turn and headed to the country, you catch a glimpse of the skyline that I so adore (it's even prettier at night coming from the west, by the way).  It's not Millenium Park or Lincoln Park, but White Rock is beautiful in its own way, mostly because I feel like it's the best kept secret anywhere when we go there.

This is a crappy iPhone picture of dead grass and you can still see how nice it was today!  

So, Dallas haters, you irritate me!  There's plenty of awesome out there if you are willing to turn off the Cowboys game, get off the couch and explore it.  If the fancy bars and restaurants aren't your scene, don't go there!  There are plenty of local small-business restaurants to support that don't have a dress code.

Enough of that.  We're back in a running groove.  I love that most of the 5Ks we've looked into are on a Saturday.  Even before we left Chicago, we'd transitioned into having low-key Friday nights so it's not a big deal for us to eat at home, watch Dateline and go to bed early for a race the next morning.  We ran a 5K that ended at a brewery last weekend and we're running one through a winery this weekend.  I suppose this is fitting for our posse, "Team Running to Drink".  It's bloggers, twitter people and two of my sorority sisters from college.  I think we need to recruit more dudes because right now I think there are six ladies and Adam, but he's a good sport because he's faster than five out of six of us and he's pushing himself to some really great running times.

I pilfered this from our Facebook group page.  Y'all, life is treating us pretty good right now.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

bark park drama

We've taken Higgins to our neighborhood dog park three times now.  After the first time I remember thinking that it was better if both Adam and I took him.  The first two times we took him he was a little bit skittish to go in and even last night, he had his tail between his legs when the first couple of bigger dogs came up to him.  I don't think he'd end up in any trouble but he did come from first an abusive home and then the pound so we still don't know how he'll react in any given situation.  Especially after last night, I have a strong feeling that the dog park is a total crapshoot, since it's a completely different crowd of dogs and owners every day.

Luckily, our Higgy wasn't in any type of incident but there was a bigger dog that started playing rough with a smaller dog.  I'm of the opinion that the smaller dog was sort of antagonizing the bigger dog but Adam disagrees.  Either way, the main thing that was clear was that the owner of the smaller dog should have separated his dog from the bigger one long before it escalated to what it did.  The little guy wasn't hurt but the big dog did take it from playing to a possible bad situation.  Personally, I don't let Higgins play bite us, I don't want him to think it's ok to put his teeth on anyone (or any dog) even if he's only playing.  I don't even like him to snap at the other dogs, although we think he just likes to get other pups to chase him around the park so he can run.  When they first started playing, I assumed that they were both owned by the same person since the owner of the big dog was the only one that was being proactive in trying to keep them separated and playing safe.  The bottom line for me was that both owners were partially at fault.  The little tiff that their dogs ended up in could have been prevented if they had both been involved in separating their dogs sooner.  The owner of the small dog yelled at the owner of the large dog and created a bit of a scene with some choice words that I don't think are ok to be yelled in public.  I think it was a 50/50 situation of responsibility on both owners.  Mostly it was just awkward for everyone there and a little bit sad because I think it could have and should have been prevented.

It was a good lesson to learn since Higgins does like to almost "tease" other dogs to be chased around.  I feel even more strongly now that it's important that both of us take him so we can each be watching closely to make sure he's having safe interactions.  Even once we get to know his personality at the park even better, a new dog could show up and end up fighting with him.

Despite the whole thing being rather sad, it was almost humorous because the bark park reminds me so much of taking kids to a regular park or playground.  There's always going to be jerky parents who don't feel it's necessary to take responsibility and playground drama, I suppose.

This is usually how Higgins can be found after running his little heart out at the dog park.  How did we ever live without this cute little dude?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

post fruiting

I went back to Bikram for the first time yesterday post-fruit cleansing.  The difference was enough to tell me that there is no way that I can subsist on fruit alone.  I had mentioned last week that with some modifications, I'd consider doing the fruit feast again.  After yesterday, I won't even think of it.  I went to the noon class after eating a homemade bean and cheese taco, a banana and my signature morning coffee with chocolate milk.  I can't lie to you and tell you I felt amazing or anything, Bikram is still a serious test of the will but I didn't feel like passing out once and I was able to at least attempt both sets of all 26 postures.  This was a stark contrast to last week where I didn't feel like I could get through the first breathing exercise without fainting or throwing up and spent a large portion of the standing postures hunched over and trying to breathe through my nausea and dizziness.

So, no more fruit cleanses for me.  The feeling of not being bloated was lovely and all, but not worth the moodiness and non-ability to partake in any athletic pursuits.  Thankfully, Adam was out of town so Higgins was the only one here to deal with my cranky, hungry attitude.

I am trucking along with my goal to eat 19 out of the 21 "meals" of the week at home.  I don't exactly eat three square meals a day, but for the sake of simplicity, that's how I'm defining it.  It's not going to be easy to only eat out twice a week but I'm going to work hard at it because it will be both physically and financially healthy for me.  We already have a post-5K brunch planned for Saturday but I've planned out our meals for every night of this week with some goodies so that I won't be completely tempted.  It's hard living in a new place and seeing restaurants around every corner that we'd like to try, as well as some favorites we have already discovered, but it's an exercise in self-control that I need at this point in time.  It hasn't stopped me from stockpiling Dallas groupons to restaurants though.


In other random updates, we found the neighborhood bark park over the weekend and we've taken Higgins there the past two nights.  It's been good for him in a number of ways, mainly because the only time he really barks is around other dogs when we're walking him.  Hopefully the park will help him to socialize a little more and relax around other dogs.  Watching him run around without a leash like a total maniac is hilarious.  He was moving at a much slower clip on our walk home from the park last night and he's hardly moved this morning save for occasionally crawling on my lap to nap.  It a perfect way to expend his energy if he'll be home alone for awhile during the day.

We also found the White Rock Trail over the weekend so I am hoping we'll be able to take a nice ride there on Sunday afternoon.  This will be our first weekend in Dallas without company visiting or moving in related tasks to complete.  I'm looking forward to more exploring, hopefully of the two-wheeled variety.

Friday, September 16, 2011

the skyline

One of my gripes about Dallas is that we live 15 miles in any direction from the nearest Costco.  I happen to like their roasted chickens and they are way cheaper than anyone else on quite a few of our staple items around the house.  If there was one within 2 miles of us in Chicago, why can't there be a closer one here?  But I enjoyed the scenic route as I went to what their website claims is my closest location in Duncanville today.  I was driving north up 35E into Dallas, a route I have taken more times than I can remember, all my life from San Antonio up to Big D.  This afternoon, the skyline took my breath away and gave me goosebumps.  I always loved Chicago's skyline but it wasn't mine, if that makes any sense at all.  I lived there for three years of borrowing the city life and borrowing a place that wasn't fully mine and never would be.  I'm a Texan, born and bred.  There is something beautiful about our urban sprawl (there is plenty of that in Illinois, I can assure you) and something precious about a place that moves at a quick city pace but also takes the time to slow down.  I'm noticing that things aren't open as long of hours as they are in Chicago, the bars aren't hopping at 10 a.m. and that's ok.  Places close on Sundays for family, fellowship and of course, football.  I feel more at home here in a place that melts together the urban life that I so enjoy and the slower pace of the South.  This is my spot and it feels so good to be in an area where the urban movement and revitalization is still in it's beginning stages.  We're in a place where we can finally grow as a family and as individuals both in literal terms and in the more abstract.  Our neighborhood has it's gritty spots and moments but my three years in the big city prepared me for it and hardened me against things that other Texans may scoff at.  I even think the homeless people that hang out down the street are friendlier.  When I came up the highway and saw the many buildings with familiar names that I grew up with, I knew for sure that this is the place I've been waiting to be for a long time now.  This skyline feels like my own.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

fruit feast: day 3

I made it roughly 72 hours into the fruit feast before it broke me.  If I ever attempt it again, I'll do several things differently.  I had two left over avocados from last week that finally ripened and I bought four more on Monday that never really ripened up.  You need lots of ripe avocados (the bigger the better) and bananas or other higher calorie fruits to survive this.  By yesterday afternoon, I was sick of feeling like crap in Bikram class and I was feeling a general malaise because I was waiting for news that I didn't get until later in the evening so I caved and had a half a bowl of Trader Joe's mac and cheese.  It was SO GOOD.  I ended up needing to go to another yoga class last night at the studio I'll be teaching at and I was sick of feeling like I couldn't make it through.  My other big mistake was that Adam and I had a very light dinner early on Sunday night before he left.  I think I would have been better served if I had loaded up a little bit more before starting the fast.  Either way, I made it from about 5:30 on Sunday until a little after 4:30 yesterday.

I never had the feelings of "lightness" that I've read in other people's accounts of the feast.  I mostly just felt moody.  I'm glad I did it because it was a good reminder that I should be building my meals around fruits and vegetables and working on my portion control.  Things get out of hand when you're eating at restaurants or hotel breakfasts for every meal.  It was a good way to reset my body and I definitely feel a little less bloated and puffy.  I weighed myself at the beginning but I don't know that I care to weigh myself today, I'm sure I dropped a couple of pounds but I imagine that it was mostly water weight.

Yesterday's eats:

7:00 a.m. - pear and plum

9:30 - Bikram class (again, felt like complete and total crap)

12:30 p.m. - avocado

4:30 - came home from running errands and was so moody and frustrated and couldn't imagine shoveling another fruit in my mouth, 1/2 bowl of mac and cheese

6:00 - yoga

7:45 - had a little more of the mac n cheese leftovers, maybe another 1/4 of the batch?  I ended up throwing some out, which for me was a big deal since I have been known to sit down and demolish a whole bowl.  I figured it was best to take it easy as I was coming off the fast

This morning:

8:00 a.m. - my usual coffee and chocolate milk combo and IT WAS SO GOOD

I'm not a huge fan of limiting or restricting myself in my diet because it never works.  Despite the way I felt, I was pleasantly surprised to see relatively little weight gain on the scale before this started so it leads  me to believe that I was making some semi-decent choices when we were eating out.  I could have done better but it's a start.  I have all my kitchen stuff back now so Adam and I should be able to eat at home or prepared at home (one of our goals is to eat at home for 19/21 meals a week, we'll see) more often. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

fruit feast: day 2

Today the fruit experiment felt an awful lot more like a fast than a feast.  I'm ready to have something dairy and HOLY MOSES did I ever feel terrible today without coffee.  I made the mistake of buying Diet Dr. Pepper yesterday and it was tempting me something fierce all day.  Higgins and I did not have the best day with his training and I realized that I've done very little this week beside working with him.  I have stuff that I need to do tomorrow so I'm hoping I don't feel weak in my yoga class, hungry and frustrated all day again.

8:00 a.m. - cantaloupe and grapes, tea

9:45 a.m. - a crazy hodge podge fruit mess that I ground up in the Magic Bullet.  I think it had watermelon, grapes, a tangelo and strawberries in it.

*this is where I made a crucial mistake and didn't eat anything else before Bikram*

12:00 - Bikram, which was better than yesterday but it was still what I would consider a poor showing

2:00 - avocado with homemade salsa (we had this left over from the weekend and I'm not sure that cilantro, onions or garlic are permitted but I didn't really care)

5:30 - avocado with salsa and watermelon (odd combo but it was good)

8:15 - at least one glass of tea and more grapes, the grapes have been in a bowl in the fridge so I've been grabbing a couple at a time for most of the day

Just one more day... I have no idea what I'm going to eat when I break the fast but I'm equal parts looking forward to it and equal parts nervous to see how my body reacts.  If you were wondering, all of my bathroom breaks have been normal for me.  I eat about 9,000 pounds of beans in a normal week so I think my body is used to the high fiber content.  I know this is a concern for people considering a fruit feast and the only thing that has changed is that I constantly feel a twinge of hunger in the pit of my stomach (that only my sweet, sweet carbs can fill, I fear) and I have a constantly full bladder.  However, I'm not sure that I could ever do this at work.  We had a pasta dinner at the apartments tonight and I couldn't stay or else I might have lost my mind around all the food.  Seeing co-workers eating things other than fruit would probably make me go insane.

Monday, September 12, 2011

fruit feast: day one

The move was crazy!  It ended up being a long process since they took all of our stuff on August 29th.  Even before that, we had stopped buying food for the house so we wouldn't have to throw a ton of stuff away.  When we got the second realtors at the end of July, they wanted us to reduce our stuff in the kitchen by about half, again.  I hardly had anything left pot/pan/appliance-wise left to cook with so we gave up on that too.  Basically, we've been eating junk food and at restaurants for the better part of two months.  Ug.

I haven't been practicing yoga as regularly since my classes ended and all of this has meant weight increases, but more so inches increase and decreased muscles.  I read about the Baron Baptiste (he's a famous yoga guru for Power Yoga) and his "fruit feast" that is at the end of his book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution, last year and always thought it sounded really interesting.  It's basically a "cleanse" or "fast", except you only eat fruit and drink water or tea for three days.  Since Adam was leaving for work training last night, I figured there is no time like the present to do it.

Everything I've read said that the first day was horrible.  It hasn't been that bad (so far, it's only 8:15) with the exception of the 90 minute inferno of a Bikram class that I went to this afternoon but Bikram yoga challenges me to the extreme when I'm not doing a cleanse so I'm kind of writing that off.  I did have a headache developing but I had a couple of glasses of tea after dinner and I'm feeling fine right now.  I do feel a twinge of hunger but I'll probably go and snack on some more stuff.

Today I've eaten:

7:00 a.m. - banana and some watermelon

8:00ish - tea and a little more watermelon

10:30 - avocado

12:00-1:30 - almost died during Bikram (seriously, I felt faint during the breathing exercise at the beginning so you can imagine how the rest of the 90 minutes went and I don't blame it on the food because it was my first Bikram in a year and those classes are INSANE)

3:00 - after running errands, devoured a peach, some strawberries and more watermelon

4:45 - avocado, cucumber and tomato salad (I *may* have cheated because I put salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar on it but I figure I really need the salt after so much sweat and vinegar is really grapes, is it not?)

6:45 - bowl of cantaloupe and grapes and I attempted to eat a tangelo that I bought because this was supposed to challenge me to try some new fruits

7:00 - two cups of tea because I was chilly

8:30 - as soon as I'm done here, I'll be having a pluot and maybe some grapes

Tomorrow, I might head up to Central Market or Whole Foods to find some figs.  They didn't have any at the grocery store I hit up today (Sunflower Farmers Market, which is an entirely different post because I am in love).  I used to eat figs with my little friend at my nanny job and I always forget that I like them.  I also have a green pepper and I think I'm going to make some guacamole to eat with a spoon for my "dinner".

The hardest part has been craving something warm and comforting since Adam is out of town and I normally use that as an excuse to eat like garbage.  The commercials for pizza are seriously killing me (we got cable today- yes!) so most of this is mental, in my opinion.  I'll report back tomorrow with Day 2.

millions of fruities, fruities for me.  
millions of fruities, I wish they were free.

meet mr. higgins

One of the (far too many) items on our unofficial "to do when we move to Texas list" that was part of our self-torture during the job hunt process was to get a dog.  As you might remember from my previous experience volunteering at the animal shelter for karma yoga in Chicago, I fell in love with a small chihuahua mix that luckily was adopted to a different family.  I was already 99% sure that I wanted to go the rescue route, as we were not interested in a puppy, but that experience solidified it for me.  We were kind of stupid (again with the self-torture) and did a little bit of research before we moved down here but I started really looking at dogs when I was on my urban campout at Heather's house.  I found three that I was interested in inquiring about, two that were from private rescue groups and one from Dallas Animal Services (that I'd later find out was the pound).  One of the rescues called us on Adam's number fairly quickly but the other sent me the snarkiest email about how they prefer people that aren't in apartments.  I was semi-snarky in my reply back but not nearly as rude as I wanted to be because of Adam's guidance.  I just don't appreciate the judgment, as we live in a place that is almost twice as large as our condo in Chicago and people up there have HUGE dogs in tiny places.  But haters gonna hate.

Anyhoo, we ended up finishing the car buying process rather quickly on Tuesday because I am pretty darn decisive when I want to be and we happened to be in the neighborhood of Dallas Animal Services so I convinced Adam to go have a look.  It seems like it's a relatively new facility so it didn't look too bad when we pulled up.  However, I realized almost immediately upon entering that this was going to be a completely different experience than the posh private shelter I volunteered with in Chicago.  The dog I had seen online was called "Woody" on their website but the lady at the front desk had us sign in and said to go and look around for him.

I have never seen anything as sad as what we saw when we went to find him.  Thankfully, he was being kept in a nicer room with just one other dog (although there were three in his room on the day we picked him up) and he was close to the door we came in.  One of the workers came and leashed him for us but their play yard was being cleaned so we just hung out with him for a few minutes in an empty room.  When I volunteered, I kind of thought it was ridiculous that they wanted the 20 of us to basically just play with the animals for three hours but seeing the way he reacted to being alone with us in the room put it all together for me.  By spending time with the dogs in Chicago, they were hopefully more receptive to people coming to potentially adopt them.  Before we went into the room, we had to walk through what Adam called "the gauntlet", which was this totally insane room with cages and holding pens and more barking than I've ever heard in my life.  Little "Woody" didn't make a peep but he was so incredibly shy when we went in the room.  We just kept reaching our hands out so that he'd get used to our scent.  He was kind of yucky so we just pet him and talked him a lot.  We'd seen a couple of cuties around but there was something about this one that touched me, mostly because he seemed so fearful.  We did know that he was removed from his home situation because of animal cruelty but he never lashed out at us and by the time we left, he'd warmed up to us a bit.

We talked to the lady in charge, filled out the application and agreed that we'd come and see him each day that week to see how he reacted to us.  They wouldn't hold him for us but the front desk lady told us that he'd been there since May and she wasn't concerned that he'd go anywhere that week.  We also found out that he'd reached his allotted time in the adoption unit and would eventually be taken to the place at the pound where doggies go that haven't been adopted and I'm going to pretend that I don't know what happens there (so spay and neuter your pets, y'all.  Bob Barker's orders).

We drove back on Wednesday and got to be with him loose in the play yard.  He was so stinkin' cute and we knew he was our dog and made arrangements to pick him up the next day and take him to the hotel that night.  Our hotel was awesome and pet friendly.  Originally, we didn't want to bring him into two new environments in two days, but in hindsight, I'm so glad that we did.  It was a small place where we learned a lot about each other that night.

On Thursday, we picked him up and despite the fact that he had a mini-freakout and jumped out of the car in the parking lot of the pound, we took him to the hotel, got him all bathed and went on our first family walk together.  We had a yoga thing that night and he did just fine in our room in his crate.  We named him Higgins, after our local neighborhood tavern, not just because it's the best bar in Chicago, but because it was, at least to me, a representation of our neighborhood.  We knew the owner, his son and quite a few of the bartenders.  It's everything you could imagine in a Midwestern dive bar, complete with an AWESOME jukebox and standard random old dude regulars that show up every day.  It was more like our living room since there was always room for everyone and always cold beer.

Higgins has taken to life with us pretty darn well.  He's a 23 lb. terrier mix and in good health according to our vet.  He had a few accidents in the apartment on Friday but has been fine since the hoopla and craziness of moving has been over.  He hardly barks or gives us any trouble and watching his personality develop as the days go by has been really fun.  I just look at him when he's curled up sleeping and pray that he never remembers his past lives in his abusive home or at the pound.  I hope we will be all he ever knows as he ages and spends his life with us.  I feel so blessed that we found him and that he's adjusting well to us and our new home.

Higgy rocked his visit to the vet!

Sweet nametag and street legal Dallas pet license.

Blackhawks collar!

Passed out with Adam

Higgins tonight after two walks around Deep Ellum and playing all around the house.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

the dps sucks

We spent four hours in the DPS office today getting new Texas driver's licenses.  You'd think that after all that we'd actually walk out with the new license (like in Illinois) but NO.  This is the one area that Texas does horribly and needs improvement.  The DPS is so stupid that they even have comment cards as you walk out the door.  You better believe I grabbed one and I can't wait to fill it out and mail it in.  Also, I am SO thankful that we won't have to go back for quite some time because they allow renewals online.  It was a long morning and I got more salty to Adam than I'd care to admit.  While we were waiting for his license, I took a little walk across the street to Lowe's to use our USPS moving coupon and got some organizational necessities and a couple of goodies that Adam will need for charcoal grilling (Reason #10,204 that we moved here.  Everyone knows charcoal tastes better).

We're also going back on our word because we went back to the pound to play with Higgins today and we can't leave him there again.  We got the documents from our apartment complex that we'll need and picked up the rest of the stuff we'll need for him for tomorrow.  The hotel is totally pet friendly so we'll go and get him tomorrow afternoon.  YAY!  I'm afraid to post pictures and jinx it but I'm sure I'll have a million from tomorrow.  We're going to celebrate like it's his second birthday and he might even get a special treat!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

happy dallas!

We made it after the longest and most annoying flight ever.  There was a family of INSANITY sitting right behind us and it just reinforced my belief that every single human should be forced to purchase a seat on the aircraft.  It's an unpopular opinion, but it's a safety issue first and foremost, and it would also prevent some of these people that should NEVER have been allowed to procreate in the first place from affording to be able to fly.  My seat got headbutted more times than I care to remember.

But stepping off the plane in Dallas, into what has been the best weather here in months, makes the entire journey worth it.  It felt like coming home.  The crappy flight reinforces why we came here, so that we won't have to take our potential kiddos on flights all the time just to see their family.

We had a great dinner with friends in downtown Grapevine and headed to Dallas to check into our hotel.  They picked us up from the airport with the Civic we had shipped from Colorado that Adam bought from his brother.  It felt so odd to be driving around in our very own car together!  We drove around and I found what will probably be my grocery store for most of our staple items (Sunflower Famers Market or as I will call it Dallas' best kept secret).  We went to Deep Ellum (our new 'hood) and had a beer on a rooftop of a bar.  The bar is dog friendly and the bartender and his patrons were great.  They welcomed us to the neighborhood with a ton of to-go menus to their favorite places and restaurant recommendations.  That friendliness to strangers, right there, is why we moved to back home to Texas.

This morning we woke up with one task on our minds:  to buy car number two.  We've spent the past month or so researching it so we had narrowed it down to two dealerships and two potential car models. The preferred dealership was our first stop and they made the decision easy for us by only having one of the 2011 models (this is model year end clearance, after all) left.  Adam test drove it and we made the decision to buy in less than an hour.  We each had overactive imaginations about how awful the experience would be and that it would take all day.  We got to the dealership a little before 10 and it was just a little bit after noon that we drove away in the new car.  They did try to sell us on a bunch of stuff, but it wasn't high pressure or dramatic.

Then we took the Civic to Best Buy to have a Bluetooth put in it so when Adam has long drives to the coal plants, he'll be able to talk handsfree.  We also picked up the Dyson we ordered last week (YES!).

Conveniently, the Best Buy was one exit away from Dallas Animal Services, or the pound.  I've never seen anything like it.  There were SO many sad little pups and we found the one we had found on their website.  He came from an abused home and has been at the pound since May.  We were in a private room with him for awhile and he's so shy but after he realized we were just there to love on him a bit, he was fine with us.  I think it's going to take a bit of time and effort to kind of rehab him into a new lifestyle where he'll be a huge focus in our lives and we'd never hurt him.  We're naming him Higgins, not because it was our favorite bar in Chicago, but because it was basically our living room since we didn't have enough space in the condo to actually have people over.  We're going to go and visit with him every day this week to check up on him and hope we grow on him.  As hard as it is and will be to leave him each day, I think we both feel that giving him a fresh start in our new place is better than having him at the hotel in our tiny room that is already full of stuff.

We got the Civic state inspected, washed and detailed so that we can get it's permanent license plates tomorrow.  We finally had the expected happen and we were pulled over by the Dallas PD for not having plates, despite the fact that the temporary plate clearly says on it that you only have to have it in the vehicle at all times.  Luckily, we were on the way back to the hotel when that happened so we just left it here all night and drove the new car around.  I had the worst idea ever and we decided to drive the 10 miles to Costco in rush hour traffic to look for a dog bed that, of course, they didn't have.  We picked up a couple of things at Petsmart for Mr. Higgy before heading back to Deep Ellum to try out our bartender friend's pizza recommendation.  It was a great way to end our busy day by having a slice of thin crust and a Shiner Light.  It feels so good to be home and we haven't even settled into our place yet!

Monday, September 5, 2011

working on myself again

As this posts, we'll be in route to Dallas!

This move has been really hard on my body.  I still have a lingering low back thing that I frequently tweak.  As soon as we get settled in, I plan to get a massage and possibly visit a chiropractor to get it worked out.  I want to be able to practice yoga, run and bike without pain again.  I'm not sure how exactly that I tweaked it but it needs to get fixed.  Because of that, I've been working out a lot less.  However, when I say this has been hard on my body, I mostly mean my food intake.  It's been AWFUL lately.  We've had so many "last times" at places and so many different going away lunches, dinners, happy hours and nights out.  Not to mention that we haven't had a fully stocked fridge and kitchen since we switched realtors in July.  I can't remember the last time we made a proper meal at home together.  It's been fun but I am looking forward to having my kitchen set up and being more in control over my food intake.  We'll have five nights in a hotel in Dallas (and potentially more, depending on how the moving snafu situation works itself out) and then I'm ready to start our new beginning with fresh groceries and some meal plans.  I've been flagging tons of recipes in my google reader and for the first time since we put the condo on the market in March, I'll have my full kitchen arsenal to work with.

Having our stuff, being unpacked and working on getting settled cannot come soon enough!  My body is carrying around way too many extra pounds right now (again, why do I always do this to myself?) and I'm ready to start working on it in earnest.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

urban campout

I've been continuing my transient "urban campout" status at our friend Heather's house all weekend, which has meant a very comfortable bed to sleep in.  We both like to sleep surrounded by pillows so it's working out well.

On Friday morning, I had just woken up and my phone started ringing.  The number showing was the number for my contact at the movers.  He called me often before the move just to confirm details so I didn't think too much of it at first.  It was after I answered that I realized that the last person you want to hear from when your stuff is in transit is the movers.  He informed me that the truck that was supposed to pick up our stuff from Chicago had broken down and wasn't able to be fixed and that our stuff wouldn't be picked up from here until the 8th.  Unfortunately, our stuff is due to arrive in Dallas on the 9th.  The way that this works is that because we don't have enough stuff to fill an entire 18-wheeler, our stuff has to be routed with several other shipments from Illinois to Texas.  It could possibly end up riding in several different trucks and routing through other cities, which is why it was scheduled to take two weeks.

I was a little (ok, a lot) perturbed because we could have had our stuff this entire week, it's basically been sitting in a storage unit in the Chicago suburbs all this time.  And also, if the moving company knew about this a week in advance, how come there wasn't enough time to fix the problem?  Adam spent the weekend in a wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico so I was trying to deal with the logistics of this with the moving company, the relocation company and the HR rep at his new company.  Luckily, he was able to help me on his layover between flights, but I was still really stressed to be doing this at a time when he was out of the country.  We were told we'd be eligible for a delay claim but the amount of money per day is not what I think we deserve since we've already been without our stuff for so long.  Of course, with this being a holiday weekend, I knew we'd probably not hear from anyone or get any type of resolution to the problem until Tuesday.

Late in the afternoon on Friday, I heard back from the movers and the relocation company and there is an off chance that they would have been able to load our stuff on a different truck this weekend, depending on the size of the shipment already in the truck.  If it ended up making it on that truck, we'll still have everything in time for move in day, so my fingers are crossed that they were able to squeeze our stuff on.  Just as I figured, we won't know the outcome until Tuesday morning.

My urban campout has been great because I'm not sitting alone in the empty condo.  I've been distracted enough to not worry about the moving issues, although this morning I remembered that we have to buy a car on Tuesday.  AHHHH!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Day

So today was my last day at S&L and I just finished my exit interview. After 5 years I will miss this place, but mostly I will miss the people. Today has been weird because I have been sad that it's my last day. I have worked with a lot of great people that I will miss. However, after going to my exit interview and talking about some of things I don't like has made today a bit easier. In a way today feels like the last day of high school. You're going to miss your teachers and a lot of your friends, some of which you will never see again. However, you know that going to your college of choice will be a better place for you and you're excited, nervous, etc. but are ready for the challenge. So for me, I am going to college again, this time I made sure to choose the promise land.

See y'all in Texas.

last day

The one thing I didn't plan for when I started this blog and wanted to document this move was the long period of time that we are essentially homeless.  We do own the condo still and are "living" there for all intents and purposes, however, we're not spending any time there beyond sleeping on the godforsaken air mattress because we have no furniture to sit on, no TVs to watch and no internet from which to blog from. My intention was to be able to run each morning and still have time to get to work early enough to sit and have breakfast and blog.  I figured out quickly that I'd have to get up way too early for my comfort since I'm not sleeping so well on the mattress so that plan was scratched.  I ended up blogging on Tuesday during my lunch break.  I'm hoping we can get the internet situation figured out when we get to Dallas, since the La Quinta Uptown will be our home for the first 5 days.  At least I'll be sleeping in a real bed- cheers to that!

Anyhoodles, it's been an interesting week.  I've been feeling a lot of emotions all up and down the spectrum from happy to sad.  Today is my last day at work and I've been feeling surprisingly sad about that.  Despite the utter boredom that I felt most days, it's been a good experience and I've worked with some fun people that have been very supportive of my goals to get yoga certified.  I'm going to miss it a little bit more than I originally thought I would.  It's a comfortable place to go and a place where I feel relatively at home.

I'm feeling very apprehensive about the logistical aspects of the move.  All of our stuff could be in Timbuktu for all we know at this point.  I'm worried that it won't arrive on the ninth, which is Adam's last business day before work.  I really want to have the apartment set up as well as possible because I know that it will bring him some comfort when he's starting his new job.  We've taken care of as many of the details that we can but we still have to buy a car on Tuesday, which makes me pretty nervous.  I'm hoping we find something that we'll be happy with and will make a great family car for many years to come.  Adam is going to Mexico early tomorrow morning and we're not planning for him to use the international plans on his phone so it will be the longest time we'll ever have gone without being able to talk to each other.  Even longer than my days of international flying with United.  I've never been "that girl" but I really hope he makes it home all in one piece.  This trip is just another piece of the logistical puzzle and I'll be happy when it's over.  There is only a little more than twelve hours from the time he gets back to Chicago until our flight leaves for Dallas and given my airline background, my mind has worked through every possible scenario that means he doesn't get back in time.

I'm also feeling nervous about the emotional aspects of the move.  It's going to take some time for me to find a job and I am worried about that process.  It's also going to take some time for both of us to adjust and make new friends at work and in life.  That part of it scares me a little bit because I feel like it will be my fault if Adam ends up hating life in Dallas.  I highly doubt that either of us won't like it, there are so many things we're looking forward to but sometimes I have irrational fears about things.

I'm thankful that we've been using this space to record our thoughts.  I truly can't remember how I felt when I came here or moved to DC.  I know that I must have had some worries or fears, but I don't recall.  It's funny how time has a way of erasing so much of the rawness of emotions and pain.  I must have been slightly worried!  Both times, I loaded everything into my SUV and drove for hours away from my family and my home by myself.  There must have been some irrational fears, after all in DC, we had never even laid eyes on the area or our apartment until we got there.  At least from this time, I'll have a place to go back and remember how this felt.  At least this time, I'm going with my best friend and partner in this life and we're headed toward family and home.  There will be a period of adjustment and transition that won't be easy to get through, but I think that the rewards will be worth the risks we are taking.

(and if I'm being totally honest, I'm also a little worried about getting all of the stuff that we kept here into the bags we have to take it home in- the two of us are going to be a disaster when Sally and Kevin meet us at DFW on Monday with about 10 bags between us!)

Last day at work = cake for everyone!