Monday, May 18, 2009

Meet Sophie

For some time Daniel and I have been on the fence about getting a dog. For one reason or another we have continued to put off the whole dog thing.

Last Monday, Mike, the editor of the magazine I work on, sent out a company-wide email saying that he was looking for a home for one of his dogs and that he would even offer a week-long trial period. Now how often do you get to test drive a dog? We figured it was a golden opportunity for us and that if we discovered that we weren't dog people, we would kindly give her back.

Saturday morning, Mike came over with Sophie. She is a 45-ish pound Beagle mutt who is extremely friendly and very well behaved. Unless you are a stranger. Unfortunately for us, we were strangers. She did fine when Mike was there, and even after he left and we took her inside, she was good for about 30 minutes. But somewhere in there she started getting nervous and soon was growling and barking at Daniel. A dog that barks at his owner isn't much good, but we decided to give her some space and some time to adjust.

Daniel took off to do some work for a friend and I hung out doing Saturday chores and ignoring our new pup. Over the course of an afternoon of on again, off again thunderstorms, Sophie and I bonded. To be truthful, I think a round of thunder made her realize that letting me pet her was probably a better alternative to laying on the floor cowering to the rumbles in the sky.

Daniel came home and Sophie growled and barked but she soon she warmed up to him as well. I ran out to go grocery shopping and came back and things were much better, still some barking, but that is to be expected.

Sophie was not overtly curious about our house at first. She was actually scared of our basement, but she soon started exploring. She stays off of our furniture and out of our things and knows to go outside to do her business... what more could you ask for?

Saturday we did a couple of tests to see how she would do without us home. First we went on a 10-minute walk to make sure she wouldn't destroy our house. As soon as we went out the door, this is what we saw...

She whined for a little while, but eventually calmed down. When we came back, she was laying calmly in front of the window. We decided to test her a little more and we left for an hour and went and grabbed dinner at Five Guys. Again, the whining, but she didn't bother anything in the house.

Sunday we went to church for 2-ish hours and she was fine by herself. It is so nice to not have to worry. In fact, we were kind of asking ourselves what was wrong with her because this all seems way too easy.

After lunch we put her in the car and took her for a walk at the greenway. We really want to socialize her a bit more to people. She really liked the car ride and didn't bark too badly on the greenway - I think she was just overly excited to be in a new place with lots of scents to follow.

So far things are going great. She loves to play fetch in our back yard. She tends to be attention happy, but we are spending some time ignoring her so that she doesn't think that she needs to have our attention 100% of the time. Daniel managed to get her to go into the basement today and now she has no problem going up and down the stairs and in and out of the basement. She leaves us alone when we eat - no begging from this dog. One funny thing Daniel noticed today is that she is starting to move certain items of ours. He found a hat in the middle of the living room. Twice. She doesn't chew, she just takes it with her. She is a funny dog and has some quirks, but we really like her.

The best part (according to me) is that she is short haired and doesn't shed terribly, she doesn't drool (too much) and she is not a kissy dog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ever had one of these mornings?

Didn't sleep that well last night. Was in a rush to leave for work and locked the front door before I realized it was cooler than I had expected and that I needed a jacket. Went back inside for said jacket.

Proceeded to make it to the car before I realized that I had left my coffee on the counter. Since you can't sleep poorly and then not have a large cup of coffee to start the day, I went back inside for said coffee.

Proceeded to the car a second time. Sat down, stuck keys in the ignition and had the feeling I was missing something. Checked my purse and saw that I didn't have my phone with me. Went back in (for a third time) for said phone.

I hope my day does not turn into a continuous string of forgetfulness...

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Some time in the past year, I got it in my head that it would be cool to ride a century (100 miles in cyclist speak). Quite possibly this idea got into my head, when my friend, Taryn decided she was going to ride in the Hotter'N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, TX.

Daniel and I have recently been discussing the need to 1) get back into shape and 2) reclaim some of the fun things we used to do with our time (hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, cycling, etc). Now that Daniel has time to work on the house during the week, we are feeling the urge to get out and do the things we love again.

So this morning we decided to start "training" to ride 100 miles. Our initial goal is to be able to ride the full length of the Virginia Creeper Trail (67.2 miles round trip, starting in Abingdon, VA). We have actually done this ride starting in Damascus, VA for a total of 35.2 miles. Doing the ride from Abingdon will give us a metric century (approximately 100 km).

After that, we are considering doing all 72 miles (round trip) of the Cherohala skyway. A couple of summers ago, we actually biked 18 miles of this beautiful road (my introduction into road biking). This would be more difficult than the Virginia Creeper due to the mountainous terrain.

Building on that, we would like to find a route where we can ride a full 100 miles. Hopefully this is something we can work on doing some time this year.

We plan to start a pretty aggressive riding schedule to help us work on our mileage. We started today, riding a measly 8+ miles on the greenway. We have A LOT of mileage adding to do to get to 100, but I am excited about having such a lofty goal.

Friday, May 01, 2009


You may have noticed that I haven’t written many notes lately. Chalk it up to not having much to say, but I really haven’t been sure what to write about… Should I write about life with an unemployed spouse? Should I write about how I feel about my own work? Should I post about my general restlessness or my thankfulness for spring (even with the onslaught of allergies).
Here is a quick recap of my trip to Memphis...
Last week/weekend I was able to spend a lovely five days with my (very pregnant) sister and her husband. Also saw my parents, grandma, great aunt and uncle and my sister’s in-laws. However, I did miss that my little brother couldn’t come visit, but that is life these days, you take what you can get…

Besides visiting with family, the highlight of the weekend was attending my sister's baby shower and surprising her with my gift... Five years ago, when Daniel and I went to Papua New Guinea, we bought a bilum for carrying babies. We figured someday, we would either use this bilum ourselves or we would share it with my siblings. To be truthful, I had forgotten about it until a few days before my flight to Memphis. I am so happy I remembered because when my sister opened it, she started crying because it was such an unexpected and special gift because she was actually born in PNG.

Angela with the bilum

And now a brief update on the unemployment status...
I figured that it is about time to give an update on how things are going with Daniel and the job search. To be truthful, we agreed that he should put off serious job hunting to allow time to study for his Professional Engineering (PE) licensure test, which thankfully he took last Friday. He feels good about the test, but we won’t know the results for a couple of months.

Now that he has extra time on his hands, he is focusing on finishing our house renovations. This week he is actually working on a house project for a friend, but I am anxious to get our basement and master bathroom finished.

At this point, we are taking life one week at a time. The job market continues to look bad in the Charlotte area, last I saw, unemployment is hovering around 12% and civil engineering job openings are practically non existent.

He has passed the one-month mark for unemployment and we are finding that we are able to live within our means and even save a bit. This is encouraging. It would be nice for Daniel to get a job, but this gives us some leeway for him to find a good job, hopefully in a good location. We are not really sure what the future holds for us, but in the mean time, we are not stressing about it.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...