Author Archives: Kelly

Mid-Year Check In 1

Mid-Year Check In

Now that 2024 is just about half over, it’s a good time to take stock of my 24 in 24 goals. As you may recall, in January, I created a list of 24 goals I would like to accomplish this year. I got the idea from journalist Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft, who together host the Happier Podcast (which I highly recommend.)

Before I report on my progress, shout out to what is still holding on as my (perhaps) greatest achievement this year – getting thousands upon thousands of likes for my comments on the Frannie’s Fight Instagram account.

Mid-Year Check In 2

For those of you who need a reminder, Frannie was an extremely obese golden retriever who lived her life on a concrete slab until Rover’s Retreat in California rescued her. Thanks to the love, hard work, and diligent medical care from her foster mom (now adopted mom), Frannie has lost a total of 46.6 pounds. She has about 13.5 pounds to go to reach her goal weight.

I find myself more invested in Frannie’s story than anything else in pop culture at the moment. It’s filled the Ted-Lasso-Sized hole in my heart. Even on days when I take a social media fast, I allow myself five seconds to open my Instagram app to see if there are any new Frannie posts. This essentially means that instead of social media fasting, it’s a no-social-media-scrolling type of diet. Which I’m okay with. Frannie is worth it!

Without further ado, here is my 24 in 24 progress report:

  1. Order a passport to replace my stolen one.
    1. Some progress: A replacement passport requires a certified birth certificate, which can be ordered online. However, the website requires the shipping address and billing address to be the same, so it wasn’t until two weeks ago that I felt confident enough that we were staying in Colorado to update my billing address to our PO Box in Boulder. The birth certificate has been ordered, and I’m waiting for delivery. Once I have that, I’ll take the next steps for a passport replacement.
  2. Move for at least 24 minutes a day.
    1. Gold star! I’ve only missed five days of intentional movement this year. Although some friends have argued that I should count the days I walk for transportation in this category, I don’t because that movement is a means to an end and not for the specific purpose of keeping my body fit and mobile.
  3. Meditate for at least 24 minutes a day.
    1. Gold star! I have only missed six days of meditation this year. These are not the same days as when I also missed my daily movement goal. Meditation and movement are two of the most important things for keeping me healthy and happy, so if I ever miss one day for one of them, I always make sure the other gets fit in.
  4. 2-4 minutes of breathwork, 2-4 times per week.
    1. Gold star! I missed one full week of breathwork in June, and the week of April 14th, I only did one breathwork session. However, for five weeks so far this year, I surpassed my goal of 2-4 sessions; for three weeks I did breathwork every day!
  5. 24-hour social media breaks every week.
    1. Silver star! As I mentioned above, because of Frannie, I’m not taking a full social media break at all. But I do limit my social media one day a week to just the Instagram peeks for Frannie content. On those days, I don’t partake of any other social media website or app.
  6. 24-hour game breaks every week.
    1. Platinum star! In addition to my weekly game breaks (Daily Wordle excluded), it has been 61 days since I’ve wasted any time playing Royal Match. I found myself consumed by the game this winter and early spring, and I decided to take a mental health break from it in May. Because I’ve been keeping track of days off the game, I didn’t want to break the chain and start up again. Unless something catastrophically stressful happens in my life, I hope I won’t need to open this game app ever again in my life.
  7. 2-4 months of news fasting.
    1. Gold star! So far, I’ve fasted in January and May. I plan to do another fast in August as a birthday gift to myself, and I’m contemplating July, as well. One of the downsides of a news fast is that I miss reading the NY Times Well newsletter where I learn cool psychology stuff, so perhaps what I’ll do is fast from political, climate, and war news and only read the NY Times Well Newsletter every week in July. For what it’s worth, I extended my January news fast into February. When I finally watched the news the second week of February to be social with some friends, 90% of the news stories were the same ones that were reported in December.
  8. Review 24 dog books for a new Instagram account.
    1. Minimal progress: I *FINALLY* got a library card here in Colorado! So now I’ll have a cost-effective way to obtain the books that I want to review. Not that I’m opposed to buying books. In fact, even though I’m a minimalist, I often buy children’s books because I have so many friends who are authors. Once I’m done reading them, I send them off via media mail to my friend, who just happens to be a school librarian. However, not having had a job for 13 months has reinforced the need to be cost-effective in as many aspects of my life as possible. So, library books it is for the time being.
  9. Create 24 dog posts for a new Instagram account (same new account mentioned in #8).
    1. Minimal progress: I’ve created 2 posts. Because this goal is tied to #8 and my lack of a library card impeded #8, I didn’t prioritize this goal. Now that things are moving along for #8, this goal should be more of a priority for these next six months.
  10. Eat 24 baby spinach leaves 2-4 times per week.
    1. Hit or miss! Having been plagued with gut issues since childhood, whenever I have an IBS flare-up, the first thing I do is cut way down on insoluble fiber. So even though I want to eat spinach or drink a green smoothie because I consider leafy greens to be the most energizing food, sometimes my body can’t handle it. Also, I didn’t start keeping track of this goal until the middle of February because I was moving around so much, and I didn’t have the luxury of being able to transport fresh produce from house to house. So gut flare-ups aside, of the 18 weeks this year I felt comfortable enough to eat leafy greens, I met this goal 13 of those weeks. I’m pretty pleased with my progress and here’s hoping the second half of the year is more gut-friendly.
  11. Revise 2-4 manuscripts I’ve already written.
    1. Silver star! I’m delighted to report that my revision of a middle-grade novel I wrote last year is completed, and I’m now working on a revision of a 97,000-word adult romcomantasy (ie, a romcom-fantasy for those of you not familiar with this word). Working on the romcomantasy is taking so much longer than I anticipated, although I can’t be too surprised because I knew that the manuscript needed a lot of revision. I only have six chapters left on this go around, but there are some new developmental issues I need to flesh out, so I’m going to have to take at least two more passes at it before it will be ready to share with beta readers. As you can imagine, 97,000 words is A LOT, and compared with the 37,000 words of my middle-grade novel, I find it impossible to remember all the little details, so I’m constantly highlighting points I need to double-check in later chapters that were first mentioned in earlier chapters. I drag my feet a lot on this manuscript simply because it is so daunting. Nevertheless, I’m going to get it done.
  12. Watch 24 sunrises outside.
    1. Platinum star! I have already watched 51 sunrises outside! However, I’m taking a hiatus from making any further progress on this goal because now that it’s summer, the sun rises so early.
  13. Do yoga 2-4 times per month.
    1. Gold star! After a slow start of squeezing in two yoga sessions at the end of January and February, I found a renewed sense of yoga vigor when my friend shared with me this 12-sequence series to help prevent bone loss. I now average yoga 2-4 times per week instead of monthly. YAY!
  14. Visit 2-4 friends out of state.
    1. I visited friends in Norfolk in February, and I’ll be back again in July. So consider this one accomplished!
  15. Go rucking 2-4 times per week.
    1. Hit or miss! I got off to a great start with rucking 2-4 times per week in January and February. Then I inflamed the insertional Achilles tendonitis in my left heel, and I still haven’t fully recovered. So, while I’m currently lifting lighter weights during workout sessions, the stress from climbing mountains with a weighted backpack was too much on my heel, and this goal is currently on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
  16. Meet 24 new dogs.
    1. Platinum star! Is anyone surprised I’ve already met 57 new dogs this year?
  17. Write and post 24 new blog posts.
    1. Bronze star! This goal was based on writing a new blog post every two weeks. Sometimes, I meet that deadline, and sometimes, it stretches to three or four weeks between posts. So we’ll see if I can course correct for the second half of the year.
  18. Listen to 2-4 Great Courses.
    1. No progress: I’ve been embracing podcasts this year, which I never have before, and so I’m reluctant to give up listening time for a Great Course. But there’s at least one course I would like to take, so this is another goal where we’ll see if I’m course correct, knowing I haven’t made any progress.
  19. Attend 24 cold-water plunges (assuming we stay in CO).
    1. Platinum star! So far, I’ve attended 16 cold-water plunges with a Meetup Group. The best part was that they asked me if I wanted to be a leader. I said YES!, and I’ve now led four meditations and one full group experience. Years ago, I listed all my life goals, hopes, and dreams, and meditation instructor made my list. How amazing for this dream to come true without any additional effort than showing up (and practicing meditation almost every day).
  20. Buy 2-4 outfits I genuinely like and that feel comfortable.
    1. No progress: But I’m optimistic that I’ll soon be making significant progress on this goal. It will help to have a steady paycheck again.
  21. Hike 2-4 times at Rocky Mountain National Park (assuming we stay in CO.)
    1. Some progress: I hiked at RMNP in January, and Heath and I visited in March, although we didn’t hike. I’m optimistic that I’ll make this goal in another 6 months.
  22. Sell my book, D Is for Doggo, at 2-4 events.
    1. No progress, and unlikely to happen in 2024. Despite my best intentions, I really didn’t think it would take me over 13 months to get a new job. This goal requires a steep financial investment upfront for me to purchase my book in bulk to sell at events, and I’m not in a position to do that right now. So unless something truly unexpected happens (and you never know because I once went from single to married in the course of three weeks), I’m not optimistic that this goal will be met (and I’m okay with that). There’s always 2025!
  23. Give 2-4 psychology presentations.
    1. Some progress: I’m delighted to report that I’m scheduled for two psychology presentations this year. Both will be in November. One is for Eco-Cycle, and I’ll be presenting on The Psychology of Stuff: Why We Have So Much and What We Can Do About It just in time for Black Friday, and the other is Today Is Not The Day: Procrastination Hacks for Writers for YA (Young Adult Writers) Connect of the Rocky Mountain Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrations. The latter presentation is like a procrastination presentation I gave on spring cleaning at some CT libraries in the spring of 2023, so I’m excited to revamp the presentation for my writer friends.
  24. Color 2-4 times per week.
    1. Bronze star! I like coloring as a wind-down/relaxation technique, and I was on quite the coloring roll for most of this year. But since I’ve been at three different housesits in June, I’ve fallen out of the habit. I started keeping track in February, and of the 22 weeks that have since elapsed, I met my target 13 times. Not bad, but there’s room for improvement.

All in all, it feels good to see how much progress I’ve made towards goals I deemed important for my life. Here’s hoping the next six months bring even more success! And many more dogs.

Mid-Year Check In 3

To Love Them All 4

To Love Them All

At the end of May, I returned to North Boulder to housesit a dog and two cats. Everyone, meet Noodle the Labradoodle,
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Pabu,
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and Momo.
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Noodle is a silly and sweet dog who requires very little effort. Her most consuming care is twice daily walks around Wonderland Lake. But when this is your walking area, it’s not a burden at all.
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Heath is also quite taken with Noodle and he dotes on her quite a bit. It’s all very cute.
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The problem is she’s such a delightful dog that we want to take her with us everywhere. Yesterday when we went to see The Fellowship of the Ring, which was re-released in the theaters this weekend, we lamented that we had to leave Noodle behind. So unfair!
Nevertheless, we persevered and went without her.
When people ask me if I’m going to get a dog once we settle down (which is very, very soon, by the way),  I tell them no. And it’s because of dogs like Noodle.
And Max.
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And Maka.
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Who are Max and Maka, you may be wondering? They’re the dogs I took care of in Central Boulder for most of May. Every morning we walked in the open space areas by their house and it was such a joyful experience to see them zooming all over the place.
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I became so attached to them that in the week following the housesit move to Noodle’s house, I went to visit them twice and walk them once. Not because they needed someone to walk them but because I missed them so much and wanted to spend time on the trails with them.
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When I also take into account the other dogs across the country that I love, frankly, I don’t have it in me to want a dog of my own.
In Connecticut, there’s Dodger, Annie, Chloe, and Fergus. In Tennessee there’s Rafiki. In Washington there’s Arnold, Kona, and Bitsy. And in Colorado, there’s now Foster, Mookie, Willow, Arthur, Stella, Max, Maka, and Noodle.
And this doesn’t take into account the cats and goats I love, too.
Because I know myself so well and I know how attached I get to animals, it’s best for me to spread all my love out and care for other people’s animals.
Maybe someday I’ll see things differently. But for now, it’s my goal to love all the dogs as much as I can. And cats. And goats.
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My (Non-Exhaustive) Great Moms List 15

My (Non-Exhaustive) Great Moms List

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! This has been a rocky year for me with so many changes, uncertainties, and ups and downs, and I wouldn’t have gotten through it so comfortably without the help of my mom. Thanks, Mom! She prefers to take photos instead of being in them, so I improvised.

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Improvised photo of my Great Mom

That’s Stella in the window, by the way. She’s a half-coyote, half-Australian Cattle dog I took care of the first week of May. She’s super sweet and the most hilarious sleeper I know. I took approximately 40 pictures of her just sleeping on the couch.

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In addition to my mom, there are other Great Moms out there that I admire. This list is by no means exhaustive, but when I think about this last year in particular and leaving Norfolk (it will be one year since we left on May 14), these women are of special note.

First is Heath’s mom, who made it a point to teach her sons to cook and clean. When it comes to domestic skills, Heath is far and away the champion in our household, and I, unfortunately, am the weakest link. I am incredibly grateful Heath’s mom prioritized these skills in her children.

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Next is Annie’s human mom, who may be my greatest cheerleader for new endeavors and experiences. She is always enthusiastic about my choices, even though a lot of them mean we don’t get to spend that much time in person for the foreseeable future.

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There’s also Fergus’s human mom, who has a special place in my heart for giving me so many opportunities to take care of Fergus and even paying me to do it! She’s been rooting for me to find my place in this world and I am so grateful for her love and support.

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Photo by Sonja Zinke from the Norfolk Library 2nd Annual Pet Parade

Up next on my Great Moms list is Dottie, who will be turning 101 this year! A hug from Dottie can turn your whole day around. She is a bright and shiny beacon of light in this world, and I miss seeing her smiling face. She also hosts one heck of a tea party!

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My friend, Barbara, is also on my Great Mom’s list. Barbara and I would listen to music nearly every week I lived in Norfolk. It’s because of Barbara that I can identify Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream within one second of hearing the first note.

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Cecily may not be of this world anymore, but she’ll always be on my Great Moms list. Cecily had a true zest for life, and we bonded every day over our love of Dodger. Cecily also loved going out and about with Heath on her arm, and I found her endearment towards Heath so charming.

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Speaking of Cecily and Dodger, I’m including Dodger’s new mom on my list of Great Moms because I can’t imagine a better home for him. Dodger turned 15 on April 19th, and he’s doing remarkably well for his age. He is loved, adored, and well-cared for, and that’s all anyone could ask for in a second dog mom.

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Last but not least on my Great Moms list is my 86-year-old best friend, Arlene, who lives in North Carolina. We recently celebrated nine years of friendship in February. I admire Arlene’s wit and wisdom. Her penmanship is practically perfect. She loves dogs, horses, and writing. It’s because of Arlene that I know and love Rilke and that I had the courage to find my own writing voice. Arlene once wrote an essay years ago about how “the truth will set you free.” I think about her essay often and how her writing has such a profound effect on my life. Although I don’t have a photo of Arlene readily accessible, I do have this photo of her penmanship to share. When Heath and I eloped, I carried photos of my loved ones in my pocket. I also didn’t have a photo of Arlene then, but I did have one of her letters.

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So that’s my (non-exhaustive) list of Great Moms. Although I am not a mom and much prefer to be the “fun Aunt Kelly” to children and animals, maybe that will change in the future. When I went to the Boulder Farmer’s Market yesterday, I took this picture and sent it to Heath:

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Have a great day, everyone!

April (Snow) Showers 27

April (Snow) Showers

This past Friday, Heath and I drove to Longmont, CO. The gray skies turned white on the way back, and snow began falling.

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When I woke up on Saturday morning, a winter wonderland greeted me.

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I love winter and snow. Yet, the high temperatures of 80 degrees on multiple days last week and the fact that we’re heading into May made me less welcoming than I usually am to our surprise winter guest. I decided I didn’t want to go anywhere. So, I picked up my phone, opened the MeetUp App, and changed my RSVP from Yes to No for the cold water plunge I’ve been attending semi-regularly at a park in Boulder.

I felt good about my decision, even when I second-guessed myself. During those moments, I practiced some compassionate self-talk and told myself that I was allowed to change my mind, especially because it would take me over an hour to get to the park on the bus. I especially wasn’t keen to wear my wet bathing suit under my clothes for the long bus ride back to Lafayette (where I’m currently housesitting).

Then, I took my new favorite friend, Arthur, out for our morning walk.

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Everyone, meet Arthur!

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Arthur is a big love bug and one of the goober-iest dogs I’ve ever known. We both enjoy naps on the couch, which means we get along well.

While I was walking Arthur on Saturday morning, a small beam of sunlight broke through the clouds and shone down on us. I immediately felt overcome that I had made the wrong decision – I needed to go to the cold water plunge instead of staying home. I still had enough time to make the bus, and that’s exactly what I did.

As I rode the bus, I marveled at the beautiful winter landscape that befell me. I couldn’t see the mountains because of the cloud cover, but snow-covered prairies stretched for miles. This was definitely the right decision.

At least, that’s what I thought until I almost missed my bus stop because I had been listening to an audiobook on my phone. I jumped up, grabbed my bag with towels and other cold plunge necessities, and hopped off the bus.

About twenty feet from the bus, I stopped cold (pun intended). I reached up to my head. My glasses weren’t there. With a sinking heart, I remembered I had set them down on the seat next to me. I took them off because I can’t read with them on, and I wanted to make sure I could quickly look at my Google Maps app in case I couldn’t remember my bus stop (oh, the irony).

I turned around. If I sprinted, I may be able to reach the bus before it turned the corner. But the Achilles tendon on my left foot has been inflamed for nearly two months. So, I wavered. And I lost my chance.

Needing to do something, I pulled out my phone and found the number for the Boulder transit lost and found. To my surprise, even though it was a Saturday, they had actual human beings you could speak with to help you figure out where and when you could catch the same bus to retrieve your lost item. The incredibly kind woman gave me two different times, and I vowed to be at one of them.

Because there was nothing else I could do at that moment, I did my best to push away my worry that my glasses would be forever gone. Who would want prescription glasses? I told myself. Instead, I focused on the beautiful (albeit sad) juxtaposition of the bright spring flowers covered in snow.

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By the time I arrived at the park, I felt better. I would be reunited with my glasses, and all would be well. My mind mainly focused on our deep breathing exercises, and I only would worry about my glasses every so often.

I completely forgot about my glasses the moment we entered the creek.

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I’m waving at a bike rider! For privacy reasons, I blurred out the faces of group members.

Based on my past experiences, I would guess that the water was somewhere around 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Ninety-five percent of my body and mind love it! The remaining 5% is in my feet, and once we settle on a place to live (fingers crossed, we’ll know soon), one of my first purchases is going to be water shoes for future cold water plunges.

Today was extra special because of the beauty of the snow. I enjoyed the company and the connection, and the cold plunge itself was everything I wanted it to be. Yes, I had definitely made the right decision to be here. Everything would work out with my glasses.

After the plunge, I felt great joy and optimism as I made my way to the Boulder Public Library. I planned to hang out there until it was time to meet the bus I had ridden that morning. Before I knew it, it was time to head to the bus stop.

When the bus pulled up, I felt relief when I saw it was, in fact, the same driver from this morning. I greeted him and asked if anyone had turned in my glasses.

I held my breath.

No, he told me. He had even done a sweep of the bus. But look around, he encouraged.

So I did. They weren’t on the seat I had left them, nor were they on the floor. Every time the bus stopped, I scoped out different sections of the floor in case they had fallen and were sliding around. Sadly, nothing.

All too soon, I had to give up hope that my glasses would magically appear. But I felt determined to do everything I could to get them back, so when my bus stop came, I approached the driver again to give him an update. He was kind and courteous, and I left feeling optimistic that perhaps someone would turn them in.

About thirty seconds after I got off the bus, I again stopped cold (pun even more intended). This time, I had left my gloves behind!

I had been so focused on my glasses and ensuring I talked to the driver that I left them the seat next to me.

Seriously!?!?!?!

I had hoped that by the time I wrote this story, there would be a wonderful moral about listening to the little voice inside my head or how everything works itself out. But, alas, I am still stuck in the middle of it without my glasses. By no means do I think the story is over. How it’s going to resolve itself is still a mystery.

In the meantime, I will dig out an old pair of glasses from my luggage, snuggle with Arthur, and hope for the best.

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Dogs and Cats in Bunny Ears 36

Dogs and Cats in Bunny Ears

This year, I’m celebrating Easter with dogs and cats in bunny ears.

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These photos bring me joy, and I like to think that the time I spend creating them is one way I demonstrate my love and affection for the animals involved and their associated people.

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Now that it’s almost April, I only have a few more days with Basil and Irving. This month with them has gone by way too quickly. I’m no longer convinced they’re cats. After careful consideration, I believe they’re wizards and that they’ve cast a love spell on me.

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The level of ardor and devotion I have for these two is unprecedented because they’re, well, not dogs. I’m as surprised as anyone!

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I did put in an offer to be added to the list of people called if there’s ever a catastrophe and their humans need to find them a new home. I’ve been fantasizing about packing them up and taking them with me, so I’m pleased my offer was accepted. Maybe someday we’ll be together again; of course, I don’t actually hope for this outcome to happen. But it’s nice to know that I can now count wizards in my extended family.

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Happy Easter to all who celebrate! For those who don’t, Happy Sunday!

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Meet Irving and Basil! 43

Meet Irving and Basil!

One of the reasons I’m so fond of my little buddy Fergus is that he’s an excellent napping companion. When I’m napping, he’s napping. Because I enjoy naps so much, this relationship works out well.

Napping on the couch with Fergus.

Imagine my delight that the two cats I’ve been taking care of since the end of February are also champion nappers. Everyone meet Irving and Basil!

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Irving and Basil are ragdoll cats. One of their more adorable behaviors is refusing to drink from anything except a watering can.

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It’s been a joy to take care of and nap with them. Since I’m still recovering from last week’s daylight savings time change, I’m taking the easy way out with this blog post by filling it with more pictures of these adorable kitties.

Meet Irving and Basil! 46 Meet Irving and Basil! 47 Meet Irving and Basil! 48 Meet Irving and Basil! 49

The kitties live in North Boulder, which, to my amazement, is even more beautiful than South Boulder. These photos were taken on Saturday morning, after a two-foot snowfall on Thursday.

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I hope my body and brain will have adjusted to daylight savings by the time I post again. In the meantime, here’s another Irving photo to make you smile.

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Dog Days of Norfolk 53

Dog Days of Norfolk

I’ve now returned to Boulder after 2.5 weeks of taking care of my buddy Fergus back in Norfolk, Connecticut.

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Such a distinguished gentlepup.

There’s a lot I could say about the trip, but for right now, I’m not yet ready to share because I’m just starting to process some “life just sucks sometimes” events that have evolved these past few days.

In the meantime, I am overwhelmed with the amount of love and friendship I developed in Norfolk since September 2016. The support these past few days has been comforting and uplifting. From dogs, yes, but also the people. I got to visit with so many friends and friends who are like family. I love you all so, so much.

Some highlights from the week include:

a tea party worthy of Downton Abbey with some friends who are the epitome of aging well (can you guess who in the group is 100?)

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walking with Dodger, Fergus, Dodger’s other dog walker, and his adopted mom in the Barbour Woods,

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many walks with Annie in the woods, which also means I got to see Annie’s mom a lot (she is also very near and dear to my heart),

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a walk up Haystack mountain with two friends, but because I’ve been trying to distance myself from my phone, I didn’t take any pictures,

and discovering that the groomers missed one hair on Fergus’s head.

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I hope by the time I post again I’ll have some happy updates to share. If not, well … I’m sure I’ll have some more dog photos.

My Greatest Achievement in 2024 (Perhaps) 59

My Greatest Achievement in 2024 (Perhaps)

One month into the new year, I remain entirely unimpressed with 2024. I also fear that my greatest achievement is already behind me.

On January 3, I posted a comment on the Instagram account Frannie’s Fight.

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As you can see, it’s amassed almost 14,000 likes! I have never had something I said on the internet be this well received. So it very well could be my greatest achievement this year.

There are obvious reasons I’m so invested in Frannie’s Fight. As her first-ever Instagram post shared with us, “She is an 8-year-old, 125-pound golden retriever who was set to be euthanized due to her weight. She could barely even sit up and was defeated. She lived outside and slept on concrete her whole life leading to massive callouses on her legs. Her tail has been rubbed raw due to her sitting on it as she cannot sit normally due to her weight, in addition to her hypothyroid condition.”

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Frannie was rescued by Rover’s Retreat and adopted by a vet student (a hero, in my opinion). They’ve been posting updates on Instagram regularly, and I find myself repeatedly opening my Instagram account to see if there is any Frannie news. This habit sure beats doom scrolling the news and other social media accounts (which I’ve stopped), so I can’t be too hard on myself.

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Based on the other comments I read on Frannie’s posts, A LOT of us seek emotional uplift from this content. I can’t help but wonder if we’re all feeling stuck, aimless, and out of sorts.

I offered to be president of the Fran Club as a way to find some much-needed purpose, but because this was one comment out of literally thousands, I’m not surprised it got no response.

In the meantime, I continue to love all the dogs I can here in Boulder (and soon-to-be Norfolk when I return for a 2.5-week visit starting on Thursday). I especially got to show my love to a dog named Copper, who had such a wild case of spring fever on Thursday when temperatures here climbed into the 60s that he snuck out of his fenced-in yard and took a hike on the Shanahan Ridge Trail.

I just happened to be standing on the back deck when I noticed a park ranger holding onto a dog by the collar as they navigated down the trail. The park ranger was on the phone, and it became clear that he was trying to figure out how to return Copper to his family. I waved and called out with an offer to leave Copper with me until his human mom could get him.

So that’s what we did.

Everyone, meet Copper!

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Special thanks to Foster, who had to watch us from the window without helping and who had to share his leash and water bowl. Also, thanks to Heath for bringing Foster’s leash and water bowl onto the back deck so we could keep everyone safe and happy.

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Foster, just in case you forgot what he looks like.

Copper had a happy reunion with his mom, and I went back to Instagram to see what was new with Frannie. I was generously rewarded.

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If you want to follow along with Frannie’s Fight, her Instagram account is @frannies.fight.

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24 in 24

So far, I am not impressed with 2024. On a macro level, that is. The big things I want, like my own bed and home, continue to be outside my reach. I will nevertheless persist because that’s the type of person I am.

On a micro level, however, things are going well. The podcast discussion group I lead finished off 2023 with some Gretchen Rubin “Happier” podcasts. Gretchen and her sister each came up with 24 in 24 lists, which are 24 goals they’d like to accomplish this year.

Most of us in the discussion group liked this idea, and we had a fun time creating our own. Here’s my list:

  1. Order a passport to replace my stolen one.
  2. Move for at least 24 minutes a day.
  3. Meditate for at least 24 minutes a day.
  4. 2-4 minutes of breathwork, 2-4 times per week.
  5. 24-hour social media breaks every week.
  6. 24-hour game breaks every week.
  7. 2-4 months of news fasting.
  8. Review 24 dog books for a new Instagram account.
  9. Create 24 dog posts for a new Instagram account (same new account mentioned in #8).
  10. Eat 24 baby spinach leaves 2-4 times per week.
  11. Revise 2-4 manuscripts I’ve already written.
  12. Watch 24 sunrises outside.
  13. Do yoga 2-4 times per month.
  14. Visit 2-4 friends out of state.
  15. Go rucking 2-4 times per week.
  16. Meet 24 new dogs.
  17. Write and post 24 new blog posts.
  18. Listen to 2-4 Great Courses.
  19. Attend 24 cold-water plunges (assuming we stay in CO).
  20. Buy 2-4 outfits I genuinely like and that feel comfortable.
  21. Hike 2-4 times at Rocky Mountain National Park (assuming we stay in CO.)
  22. Sell my book, D Is for Doggo, at 2-4 events.
  23. Give 2-4 psychology presentations.
  24. Color 2-4 times per week.

Three weeks into the new year, I’ve kept my daily tasks, such as meditating for 24 minutes every day and 24 minutes of movement every day. I’m on track for my weekly tasks, as well, and I’m enjoying the heck out of rucking.

I had never heard of rucking until late last year when the NY Times ran an article. Essentially, rucking is hiking/walking with a weighted backpack. Should I ever get hired somewhere, one of my first fun purchases is going to be an actual rucksack. Right now, I pile barbells and books in my regular backpack and use that. It’s certainly sufficient, and as a minimalist I appreciate using what I already have, but I would love less bulky weight, as well as a pack that has hip and chest supports.

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Sunrise rucking session on Thursday,  January 18, 2024

I find my list manageable and doable, especially when I use the two-to-four mindset for activities I’d like to do but aren’t my highest priority, like doing yoga 2-4 times a month.

And for anyone who knows me, I also just like setting goals and achieving them!

I’ve already met three new dogs: Packa, Karmine, and Nala, and I’ve even been to Rocky Mountain National Park once already in 2024.

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Hiking to The Pool at Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday, January 5, 2024.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my new canine friends, but you can enjoy these photos of Willow and Mookie. I came back to Fort Collins for a housesit two weeks ago, and now I’m back with them again.

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24 in 24 70
I’ll be here until Tuesday. After that, it’s back to Boulder for the time being. Fingers crossed for some macro-level progress in the coming weeks.

 

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Thinking about Death in the New Year: 2024 Edition

It’s time once again for my annual death meditation. Every year, I imagine what my life would be like this year if I knew it was my last one on Earth.

Previous death meditations have prompted me to visit more National Parks and go all in with my writing. Last year, because I knew 2023 would be filled with immense change, I made it a goal to keep breathing to get through what I knew would be stressful times.

Now that 2024 is here, I still need to keep breathing. The stress and uncertainty that lived with us for 2023 is sticking into 2024. Despite my best efforts, I still don’t have a job. And finding decent housing in Boulder is proving to be much more challenging than I ever thought possible.

But through it all, I’ve learned what I really and truly want, and that information is priceless.  It’s just three things: a bed, a home, and a Heath. Anything else is a bonus.

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What I want more than anything in 2024 is my own bed. A bed that I picked out for its features, comfort, and design. I want to buy my own sheets (bamboo for warmer days and flannel for colder ones) and comforter (style and material yet to be determined). I want to wake up feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle whatever comes my way. I don’t know if that will ever be possible because of narcolepsy, but I’m ready to do all I can to get a good night’s rest.

I also want that bed in my own home. I love housesitting and meeting new furry friends. Taking care of dogs brings me joy and purpose. But I also need my own space. A place to return to that holds the most important things in my life. Heath has been my “home” for nearly eight years, but we both need a physical space that belongs to us. Heath has been saying this for years. I am now 110% on board.

Thankfully, I already have a Heath. At least for now. The future can be amazing and wonderful. It can also be challenging and cruel, a reminder to never take anyone for granted. We all know what it’s like to lose someone too soon.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much. I’m certainly willing to do the work. Fingers crossed that the stars align sooner rather than later. I have never been more ready than I am right now.

Happy New Year, my friends!

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