Expos√©. Of my dog.

I’m just not ready to take on the world yet, and I think that by making everyone read the same depressing facts and figures, I’m going to do something delightful. I don’t want to be known as the bearer of all bad news. Because that’s only half of the story. The other half is the part where I bring smiles and happiness to others and to myself. So in keeping with that, I wanted to post some pictures and things of my (our) dog.

PupPup was born on Christmas Day in 2013. He is a little Havanese dog, and when we got him he was covered in fleas, emaciated and terrified. We rescued this little guy from his life of obvious crap and have spent loads of time loving him. I’m a cat person, so it took me a while to grow to love him, but I believe that all spirits deserve kindness, so I was never mean. He was no longer than the length of my arm from wrist to elbow and weighed only about five pounds. He was about four months old at that point.

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This was him after we got him home. You can see from the patches on his head that he had a bit of mange, and the dirtiness of his fur is from neglect. I gave up my heating pad for him, because he was shivering all the time. We named him PupPup because we couldn’t decide on a name and then eventually he just answered to PupPup. He has since accepted “Puppy Yuppy”, “Pooper Dooper” and bizarre rhymes of the sort as things he will answer to as well. He doesn’t seem to mind-he just wants attention.

Over the years, we’ve had the chance to see him in several styles. Sometimes we shave him sometimes we fluff him. And almost always, he’s sleeping. You can see from the pictures below that he’s actually a white dog-not cream and brown. And he’s gained quite a bit of weight. The following two pictures were taken in the past year.

 

I think we may never find a dog with more personality than this one. He knows English (salted potatoes, french fries, go to bed, oinkie), he knows when we’re making fun of him (he snorts) and he’ll stop play-fighting with you if you say “just love”. He can tell when one of us gets home based on the sound of our car and then he “goes to his post” to let us in the door. Usually though, he’ll sleep on us. And I’ve gotten him into Supernatural and puppy videos on YouTube. He knows who Dean and Sam are, and he loves watching huskies learn how to howl. He still hasn’t figured out where they are (we watch on my computer) but he stays really attentive. (Bottom left was an epic capture. My husband really was asleep and didn’t kn0w I’d taken it, but PupPup’s face was priceless. He agreed when I showed him later.)

What’s more than that, he’s actually well-behaved. He doesn’t yip or bark or do much more than sass us when he wants treats. He doesn’t have accidents in the house and he’s pretty much a human. He uses my clothes, my pillows and his toys as pillows. He usually doesn’t sleep without a pillow. The bottom left picture I took as soon as he woke up and it’s one of my favorites.

Anyway, I wanted to share these photos because even though you can’t really interact with them, he’s a sassy dog, and sometimes the nice parts in life get stuck behind all the crap. I just wanted to share some happy memories to make ya’ll smile.

And if none of the above worked, here. Have this complimentary picture of my bizarre dog after he was washed and then blow dried. (This is hands down my favorite picture of our dog. It cracks me up every time I look at it. It’s an old one, but definitely worth it.)

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It’s a Love Story

In my update of life, I promised to try to do three things: a depression post, a lifestyle and a love story. I did the lifestyle one, and as you can probably guess, I’m not here for depression. So let us begin.

 

I wanted to do this elaborate short story for ya’ll, with visuals and stuff, and while I still may in the future, my love story is a pictorial one. I took all of these myself and I will show you, through these pictures, the greatest love that I can.

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This frog was found while I was getting the pumpkin patch ready for planting.

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This is our puppy, before he went to the groomer. His name is PupPup.

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My husband bought me flowers just for funsies.

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This is the road I named “Shady Lane” when I was a kid, because of all the trees. Most of them have since been cleared out by the Amish.

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The berry bushes at my parent’s house. We’d gather in between 15 and 20 gallons of berries each year.

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Milkweed, which will come into play in a moment.

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This was the batch of wildflowers that served as my wedding bouquet.I dried them out and they are now in a labeled ziplock.

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This was taken at the park near my parent’s house. I absolutely loved the way the snow slung to the branches.IMG_1245

Also from that park, on one of the nature trails.

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The picture directly above this sentence and directly below are of the same field, just different years. It’s right across the street from my parent’s.

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I told you that milkweed would come into play. This was the best picture I’ve ever taken of a caterpillar. You can see the little drops of dew!

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And here the caterpillar is all grown up and transformed. I knew it was the same one because it remembered me and only came around when I went looking for it.

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This next picture is probably my hands-down favorite. I got to drive my dad’s car that day and the way the mirror lent itself to the view is just perfect. Same “Shady Lane” as before, just different direction, different season.

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These little purple flowers are all over the roadside and I love them!

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There are plenty more to share, but for now, the story is at an end.

Walk Away

There are days which comes at me a little more harshly than others. I feel like although this could probably be glanced over, maybe it’s still important to get it out in the open. Who knows, maybe someone else will have a similar story.

In three days, I will have been married to my husband for two years. In those two years, we have grown as a couple in ways that I didn’t think we could. We now can anticipate each other: he moves, I move. We know each other’s schedules-not just for day to day life, but days that are hard, moods, all of it. It’s really nice sometimes, sometimes it’s really annoying. (Sometimes I just want to be mad by myself, you know?) But anyway, it isn’t that that bothers me. I love being able to say I am married. And watching people look with their disapproving little heads at us. So many people thought we’d made a mistake getting married young, but we’re stronger now than we were, and we’ve now seen each other at our worst. He and I believe that you should work on a marriage every day, and that having each other is a gift to treasure, not a safety net for convenience.

Around this time, a lot of my Facebook friends have also gotten married. I smile at each and every one of them, hoping they have a good life, a life full of love and happiness. I was invited to several of their weddings, but somehow never managed to make it any.I have a very real issue with new places, new people and large quantities of them. That makes me exceptionally frustrated when I receive an invitation and in a mania state say “yes, I will be attending” and then find the day of the affair that I’m mid depression, full of social anxiety and unable to get dressed in “street clothes” let alone make my way to a glorious event. I’m not making excuses, I’m just highlighting an issue I wish wasn’t an issue.

But there’s something else, which creeps into my heart and creates an emotional disease. When I got married, Ben was in a suit, I was in a cream colored dress from Victoria’s Secret.

crochet¬†(It was this one, as a matter of fact. No, this isn’t me.)

Ben and I were married in a classroom at our college, by one of Ben’s Political Science professors. It was an intimate ceremony, my parents, his dad, his best friend and his best friend’s parents, my siblings and maybe a straggler or two from the university.

I’ll tell the full story on our actual anniversary, because that’s a really epic story, but here’s the part that makes me sad. The professor brought his guitar and played us a song-our first song as a married couple. It was Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. I actually liked that song before, and knew the lyrics ahead of time.

“So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while”

We came back from our weekend away and waited for pictures. We hadn’t hired a photographer, we just asked everyone there to take some. My mother took a video recording (so she and my father are exempt from this).

Every picture was blurred.

I know it sounds trivial. I know. And I’ve gone back and forth for these last two years about how silly I sound. But I have no pictures from my wedding. They all are shaky, blurred images of my backside, of the professor, of the group of people who were there. I have the blurry images, and trust me, they were blurrier as I cried about it.

So I look at Facebook, and all of my friends who got married and the weddings I couldn’t attend. I look at their pictures, the photos they will have forever. And I can’t help but get a little gloomy. I hope they all have the best lives they possibly could. But I also wish that I too had photos to share.

As I listen to that song each anniversary, I can’t help but be reminded of the lines I quoted here. I am left with the memories in my head. And my brain isn’t the most reliable of things, let’s be honest.

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I told Ben that I was upset because when I am old and don’t remember who I am anymore, I will have nothing to show for our wedding day. That’s certainly half of it. But it’s more than that. I also feel incredibly jealous that although I know and he knows that we got married, I have nothing to share with my friends. I can’t show them how happy we looked, our very first moments as a married couple, nothing. And they can all show me.

So I made it my mission to take as many pictures as I could from then on out. I’m working to save up more money for my anniversary tattoo, and I’m going to make sure that although I have no pictures of my first moments as Mrs., I will have enough proof to show that it wasn’t short lived.

(And for those of you interested in the video, there isn’t any audio, and it’s only the back of our heads.)

 

The Start to a Great Day

This past week was a brutal week for human beings. Earthquakes, bigotry, hatred, fear and on my own campus there was a display of some very xenophobic graffiti. But there were also some wonderful things which happened. The grafiti was covered over by messages of acceptance and love. The bigotry and hatred was combatted with hope and kindness. Aid was given to those who needed it.

Yesterday was one of those weird days when I missed something from my old life: routine. Not the kind that I’d expected, but I missed having songs to sing to my deity. I had seen a video of someone singing “It Is Well With My Soul” and vividly recalled all the times I spent in church singing that song (and playing it on the piano) and then all the times I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to go to church, I didn’t even want to sing the song. I wanted to revisit a time when there was a routine in my life that made everything seem simple. That is the way it is because is is that way. You know?

It was a weird feeling, but I think the point of it wasn’t that I found a hole in my belief system, it was that in those days, everything was simple (for me at least). I lived in a small town of people I knew and who knew me. I could walk all over the county by myself without fear. I could stop by people’s houses if I needed to call my parents or get a drink or hang out with people roughly my age. I missed the simplicity.

And yet, there are things I would not change about today. I braided my hair for the first time successfully all by myself. I got up on time, I dressed up today (I’m channeling my inner Snow White-red lips, blue top, yellow skirt) and I even managed to get rid a bunch of homework done. I didn’t panic when my husband drove us in this morning, even though I’ve grown accustomed to driving by myself. I got in to work early and successfully set up for the day. I’m a stronger, more independent person than I was six months ago. And what’s more, I accept myself for who I am more so than I did when I moved here. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to be a little different, but it means that I am not ashamed of who I am now.

  We are all products of our pasts. For me, that past means walking barefoot through grassy fields on the way to a raspberry patch to get my fingers completely covered in red dye. It means traveling downs dirt roads covered in arching trees and watching baby rabbits run across your yard right before a huge buck comes sniffing for roots and tulips. It’s picking apples off the trees while waiting for the bus to take me to school and bonfires with burnt marshmallows (which my parents had to eat). It’s dressing up on Sunday’s because that’s what respectable people did and then going home to pick garden produce.

  And we choose what becomes our future. Coffee dates with friends, and making time for people. It’s proving to yourself over and over again that you’re not the mistake you thought you were. It means taking the time to capture life’s little moments, watching a sunrise even when you’d rather be sleeping, making the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten and then being surprised that it tasted that good.  

  It means choosing to feel good about yourself and “I’ll be damned if I let other people shame me out of my own life”. It means giving up every reason you have for not being happy and just taking chances anyway-because you’ve finally decided that it’s in your best interest to believe in yourself.

  At the end of the day, we’re not always going to listen to the naysayers. And doing so will only hold us back. We’ve got to start living with love and passion, or else we don’t stand a chance of living at all.

(All photos today were taken by me and as you can see, are on my Instagram. Ya’ll can hop on over and browse about if you feel so inclined, but this is basically what I take pictures of. Only now it’s my dog and campus, but hey.)

Van Gogh’s Birthday

This day is such a beautiful day, each and every year. One of my favorite artists (second only to Da Vinci) was born on this day. He lived his life in such a way that it is remembered even today. Although not very rich, famous, or even renowned during his life, his work lives on today as invaluable.

  
   

                                                                  
(These are two of my favorite pieces of Van Gogh’s. They’re just fabulous.)

On top of that, today is World Bipolar Day. It was so chosen to be on this day BECAUSE it is Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday. You see, he was posthumously (after he was already deceased) diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which led him to commit suicide. Today, so many people are sharing their stories, promoting the end of stigmas and several hashtags, among which are #WeAreMoreThanADiagnosis and #WeAreNotAlone

                     

I’m in the middle of a couple other blogs, which are tandemly connected to this topic today about mania and depression, but I want to bring up one key point that resonates throughout. Today isn’t a day for words, it’s a day for pictures.

                                                   

                               

  
  

  

                                                 

The Problem with Selfie-Sunday

  I don’t really get into the themed days of Instagram, like #MCM and #WCW and #SelfieSunday for the sole reason that it seems like an attention seeking device. Like “Hey, look at me, I have this person who I have claimed as my own.” People use photos of their S/O, their children, the celebrities they adore and even themselves.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t love yourself. I vote that you love yourself first and foremost of all the people you’ll ever know. And really, I mean that with my whole heart, even if my words are sometimes less heeded by myself than they should be. 

Have you noticed the evolution of a “selfie”? I was part of the “emo” group in high school, followed abruptly by the “I have to dress like this because I am an adult” phase. (Don’t worry, I still dye my hair and I got an undercut shave last summer!) But back when MySpace was big, you saw the “emo selfie”, the predecessor, if you will, of the modern selfie. It was meant to show angst and depth.  

   

As you can see above, with these two beautiful models I plucked from online, “MySpace selfies” used to be either A: a downward shot where you can see your face and chest and arms or B: physically impossible to take the picture without help, or without a timer.

But what happened? These photos were the stereotypical MySpace shots, from just a decade or so ago. And now, in just a quick Google search, we find photos like this instead:

   
 
I know, I know, the first one is a parody of Mona Lisa, but the point still stands. We see fully “made up” women with puckered duck lips and acrylics and well, you can see. But what I don’t see are individuals. I see people who are conforming, who are trying to get others to notice them as sexual objects. Now, they may feel powerful, or dominating in these poses, and that is something altogether different. What I’m saying is that we as a society should not be willing to fall down into the pits of objectivity just because a few people thing that it’s the new standard. I mean, there is nothing “hawt” about a duck face unless you are a duck.

You are a woman, you are beautiful. And if you have flaws, you are blessed by not being a cookie cutter individual. We don’t need to hide our flaws with pounds of make-up or fake nails or Instagram filters. We should be looking at making ourselves better human beings, kinder, more loving, more beautiful on the inside. We should care about the earth instead of what size clothes someone wears, or about things like science, government and math instead of who has fake body parts. Maybe if we cared a little more about the quality of life instead of the number of likes, the world wouldn’t be so quick to see women oppressed.

Just my two cents. 

And for the record, I sure did have a MySpace with MySpace selfies. But I’m currently unaware of the log in details and have requested they reset my information so I can share all the chaos with you folks.

Thankfulness, Day 25

It’s exactly a month until Christmas. Mind you, the only reason I really celebrate is because it’s my mom’s birthday and she’s very into all that. But it’s a good reminder that there aren’t too many days left in the year. I have a grand total of 2 weeks left of classes and work before winter break and everything is wrapping up (well, sort of). In the next 36 days, there are 3 birthdays, 3 holidays, 2 weeks of classes and finals, and preparations for the standardized new year. 

All of that really puts into perspective how time passes. Just a couple days ago, I was talking with my husband about how time is just blazing by, without paying us any mind. This year, we’ve been together five years. We got married last year, and are approaching our 2 year wedding anniversary. But it all feels like we’re just wandering around like our high school selves.

Today, I wanted to do a segment on my husband, and I think that with all of the end of the year thoughts, it’s a good idea to do so.

We met in marching band. At the time, I was playing flute and he was a trumpet. (He’s always been a trumpet, but I like to switch it up.) I made jokes about him being too short for me to go out with. Eventually, though, his persistance paid off and we started dating my junior year in high school. We did all sorts of things together: band, prom, graduations, you name it. We split up twice and by the third time, we’d managed to figure out the rhythm in our lives. We got an apartment, left it, got married and then got a new apartment in the big city. But I want to share my favorite memory.

The Day of No Pictures.

We called the judge and set up the appointment. Yay! We were going to be married. Two college kids broke and in love, trying to get that one last piece of paper that signified we’d done everything right to claim each other forever. May 2, a Friday, at 4:55PM, the secretary called and told us that we would be unable to get married the next week because an error had been made in the books, that he was busy. Oh no! With all businesses closed and no one to perform a marriage, we began to email every single person we knew, many we didn’t, trying to find an officiant for the next week.

By Monday, we had such a person. He’s a political science professor at the college we attend. The week went by, time passing as it always seems to do, and Friday arrived. I put on my dress (which came from Victoria’s Secret) and did some makeup, putting my hair in a band. My family and I went to the university where I met up with Ben and we ate some pizza from Little Caesar’s. We got married in a classroom where I took History of Art. The professor brought a guitar and played Good Riddance by Green Day, said the words and it was done. We were married.

We had a weekend stay in Hocking Hills right after our ceremony. We were finished at 330, but we stopped at the store, picked up food and three seasons of Game of Thrones and arrived sometime around 9. We spent the entire weekend holed up, watching Game of Thrones. When we came back, our pictures did too. And much to my dismay, not one of them turned out. There were blurry images, images of our families, but none of them seemed to have been clear shots. (There was ONE, but it was of my behind and so it doesn’t count).

I spent a lot of time moping about not having pictures. What happened when I got alzheimer’s or dementia and couldn’t remember we’d gotten married, and all I had was a blurry picture of two people? My husband was great about letting me believe we could have a vow renewal and take pictures then. But then one day, I remembered all the memories in band, all the ones that had led us to where we are and how many of those I don’t have pictures for. It’s time I stop living through a camera and make memories for the sake of making memories.

My husband is my paladin, the one who stands strong when I can’t. He pushes me to be better, he reminds me that I have a purpose. He knows my order when I want coffee or Chipotle or Subway. And he’s the only person I want to be with. We don’t have everything in life that we wanted, we don’t have every luxury known to man. But what we have is each other, and I think that puts us a step ahead.