A MinD in MoTown


Two? Already?
December 14, 2009, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood"

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sophie!

It’s official. My puppy girl Sophie is two years old!

Although I was fairly sick most of the day, I spent nearly my entire Sunday cuddled up with my beautiful dog on her second birthday, which was marked with a big bag of natural rawhides and a blue stuffed toy that will undoubtedly be destroyed in a matter of days. But that’s okay because my Sophie is very much worth it.

I cannot believe she’s already two! Craziness.



Take your dog to work day!
June 23, 2009, 6:59 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood", News Girl, Recommended by yours truly

Her inquisitive self will most definitely be at work with me on Friday.

Her inquisitive self will most definitely be at work with me on Friday.


You read that correctly, and this Friday, June 26, is “Take Your Dog To Work Day.” And if you don’t believe me, you can visit the official site before asking the boss if Fido can accompany you.

I, for one, can guarantee my Sophie girl will be with me at the Tribune office at the work-week’s end, and I hope your puppy can tag along, too. And if you’re curious what the top five pet-friendly employers are, check out this article from Petside.com, which is an awesome Web site filled with tons of helpful information about animals – everything from health and wellness to interesting pet news.

Speaking of pet news, I found quite the gem on Petside as I was perusing the site today: “Indoor Pet Loo: The Litter Box for Dogs.” No joke! Apparently this grass-topped box is “perfect” for the late-worker, the apartment-dweller, the older pet owner or just your average lazy individual, although it got some mixed reviews.

The Pet Loo.

The Pet Loo.

Could it be beneficial? Sure. Sophie sometimes doesn’t hold it long enough for me to get my arse home from work and I’m sadly greeted by a special present as I walk through the door. In times like those, the Pet Loo would be ideal! However, I had cats once and their litter box was not fun, not to mention the fact that this square box (of sorts) costs $200!!!! Last time I checked, grass was free and likely didn’t stink up half the house. So I guess, as with everything, the Pet Loo has its perks and its downfalls.

In other related news, the Associated Press released two articles/polls today about pets, “Americans consider pets family” and “Half of pet owners give pets human names,” both of which I found somewhat duh-worthy and yet interesting. Check them out if you have a chance and are craving a heavy dose of doggy articles today.



Yet another installment of “Foto Friday.”
June 19, 2009, 11:57 am
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood", Artsy fartsy photos

I absolutely loved, and appreciated, the feedback I received from those of you with more photography experience last time I posted a “Foto Friday,” so I’m going to attempt to make this a regular gig. Thus, a second installment today.

Except for the last photo in this bunch – which was apparently my moment of narcissism – these are some pictures of my pup, Sophie, whose shenanigans are nothing new to this blog. However, she behaved amazingly well when I shot these pics.

I will note that I snapped these the same day as the previously posted pictures – June 5, “How about a ‘Foto Friday’?” – so I haven’t yet put anyone’s advice to the test. But I certainly plan to before the next batch of photos rolls out. Let me know what you think and please offer any constructive criticism you can. Thanks!

P.S. I know, I know, I should use Flickr, but … I don’t want to. Sorry!

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Until just a few weeks ago, Sophie *hated* this chair. Now, it's her favorite spot.

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She kept trying to take a nap, but then her mean Mommy would wake her up to snap another photo.

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It looks as though she's daydreaming. I love it.

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Starting to doze...

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Doesn't this look very relaxing?

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Took a quick picture of myself as I laid on the floor. That's where I was as I tried snapping the shots of my Sophie girl.



I’d be the mom whose child got stuck in a well.
April 30, 2009, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood"

My morning started like every other… The alarm sounded, I rolled over and promptly turned it off, giving myself another 30 minutes of rest that I likely didn’t need before jumping out of bed at 8:30 a.m. After a quick visit to the restroom, I tossed a hoodie over my tank top and went outside with my dog so she could do her business.

Just last week, my landlords – who are also my next-door neighbors – fenced in our yards (together) so their one-year-old son could play, and my Sophie girl as a result, without worries of little bodies meandering into the streets filled with oncoming vehicles. Sophie had been behaving very well in the yard while enjoying her sans-leash freedom for the last few days, so this morning I tucked the purple leash into my hoodie pocket as we greeted the morning air.

NOTE: As I continue this story, follow the diagram*. My neighborhood is really old and strangely planned, but this is what the block of Mill Village – all small mill houses, nearly identical in size, layout, etc. – looks like. The numbers detail my story and the sequence of events. The *blue lines* are fences; the *black lines* are streets; the *red blocks* are houses; the *green dots* are trees and shrubery; and the *purple dot* is my trash can. We begin in my yard, bottom center.

my-yard3

She did her thing – #1 and #2 – and as I dumped her droppings into the garbage on the other side of the fence after ensuring my dog was still within the gate’s perimeter, her tiny puppy frame squeezes underneath the door and makes a run for it (1).

At first, I don’t panic. A dog lives next door so she’s slowly sniffing every blade of grass as I walk back into my yard and start yelling her name in the hopes that she’ll come back through the now-open gate. But she doesn’t. Instead, she moves further into their yard. And then, because they used to live around the corner, she slowly moves into that yard (2) to work on smelling each inch of that area.

I follow her despite knowing my dog is not one to be chased. If you go after her, she runs, but I simply could not turn my back on her and cross my fingers she’d return home. I had to stay as close as possible to ensure she didn’t dart into the streets and become another piece of roadkill. What kind of doggie-parent would I be, after all, if I let my one-year-old puppy be smooshed by a Nissan Sentra that zoomed by?

And just when I’d get close enough to possibly snag her collar, boom, she’d swiftly back away then bolt elsewhere (3).

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Sure, she looks all innocent and nice here, but I warn you, my puppy is a pro at deception.

The corner house posed a problem: two streets, i.e. two opportunities for my dog to be flattened. Not good. So I snuck around to the edge of the property. Clearly she had no desire to run to me – I apparently suck – and was maneuvering the opposite direction. Thus, if I stayed on the perimeter, she’d wander inward. And she did (4).

At this point, I’ve been eyeing my dog for 20 minutes, repeatedly yelling “Sophie!” in a variety of tones and voices, and trespassing onto my neighbors’ property all while wearing blue sweats from Victoria’s Secret, a Penn State hoodie reading “I tailgate with the best,” and without a bra. Awesome, right? And since I naively assumed my outdoor adventure would last no more than five minutes before my morning shower, I was without glasses or contacts with the ruins of my Wednesday evening makeup still adorning my face. More or less, I was a hot mess chasing a black blur around the block (5).

Then I saw a glimmer of hope. With her nose to the ground, she wandered into a yard where I knew two dogs resided (6). These two animals were notorious for barking at everything just before you heard their owners screaming as a result of the noise. Realizing how long I had been outside at this point – my feet slipping around my flipflops because of the morning dew – I quietly begged and pleaded for those dogs to cause chaos because my Sophie was in their terrority. All I wanted was for those owners to come outside and perhaps they could help me catch my 20 lb pup.

But no. Instead a six-year-old boy chased his terrier mix, Oreo, around as that dog and mine played in the yard. I waited for her to tire, to stop and catch her breath so I could make my move. But Sophie grew bored with Oreo and left the scene (7 & 8.).

My frustration levels were high, my feet were wet, my hopes dwindling that I’d ever get my ass to work. And then this dog of mine crept into another corner yard (9).

I’d chased Sophie around most of these parts before, but this was unfamiliar territory for her and I. This was a new yard. The others, she had a brief familiarity with, but not this one, and I was entirely unsure if she’d finally make a break for it and cross the street or not.

Then she stopped. Completely stopped. For some unexplainable reason, the resident of this home had thrown two halves of a ham and cheese sandwich into his/her tiny garden growing within cinder blocks. I kid you not. A row of cinder blocks with potted plants sat behind the home and my dog was desperate for a piece of that sandwich, which I took fast notice of … so I picked it up.

With no clue whatsoever if this sandwich would be dirty or moldy or filled with bugs, I threw one half back into the garden and held the other. Luckily, and most certainly to my relief, the sandwich was perfectly clean and fresh as if it were made only minutes ago. My dog stared at my hand.

“Sit, Sophie,” I said. And she did. I squated down. “Shake hands,” I told her, and her little left paw raised up.

And bam, 45 minutes after our excursion began, I grabbed her collar, throwing the sandwich piece back into the garden. I pulled the leash from my pocket, snapped it on, and trotted back home as I repeatedly said, “Bad girl. Very bad girl” to the still-hungry puppy by my side.

* Yes, I know how lame this is, but serious confusion may erupt without my super-awesome drawing.



365 Days.
March 18, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood"

One year ago today, I flew back to Charlotte from a five-day Scranton visit and drove my butt directly to a local animal shelter.

It was only a week beforehand that I put down a deposit for this adorable black puppy, four months old, whose name was Raleigh. She was shy, but quite inquisitive and unbelievably excited.

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And just 365 days later, she’s had her name changed to Sophie – she was a Sophie the minute I met her – and moved with me into a new home. She’s experienced her first major snowfall, traveled 1,000 roundtrip miles with me to Pennsylvania and back, learned to sit and shake hands, had her first birthday and shared more than a few ups and downs with her still-learning-how-to-be-a-pet-owner mother. But I love her more than anything and I’m certain she loves me just the same. (And if ever I doubt that, her 10-minute joyfest the moment I arrive home from work clears up that confusion quickly!)

As I look back on this same day of 2008, I’m so glad and grateful that little dog’s life collided with mine. I think a new toy and maybe a big treat are in order tonight as I celebrate this milestone anniversary with my puppy girl.



I wish my dog pooped dollars.
March 16, 2009, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood", Money makes the world go 'round

$300. That’s how much my one-year-old puppy* cost me on Friday.

01040913121As a childless individual – and I’m very much okay with that – my dog is pretty much the only other living creature on this earth I must worry about aside from myself. And, truth be told, she probably eats better than I do as I regard her health far above my own. I mean, how many 20-somethings out there who regularly munch on fast food, a variety of pastas, pepperoni pizza and way-too-much white rice solely feed their Heinz-57 (i.e. mutt) puppies natural/organic meals and treats?

Yep. I’m a bit of a moron.

Friday brought my beloved Sophie and I to her annual vet appointment where I assumed the bill would reach into three digits. She was due for her shots and I wanted to discuss some skin issues my baby girl – yes, I call her that – had been having. Being the underpaid individual that I am, I waited for my federal tax refund before scheduling an appointment and with four digits worth of monies 03020915041back from the government, I knew spending 1/4 of that on my glasses-eating, accident-having dog would be perfectly possible even if I somewhat wanted nothing more than to splurge my dollars on this beautiful chair-and-a-half I’ve been pining over for several months.

One hour later, my puppy-puppy – I also refer to her as such because yes, I am that lame awesome – had her annual vaccines and a complete checkup as well as medicated shampoo, prescription meds for her skin irritation, a year supply of heartworm pills and the undoubtedly uncomfortable feeling lingering long after a long blue stick was shoved up her ass for a fecal sample. (I hope none of you were consuming your lunch as you read that. My apologies.)

02020922531And so I shelled out $244 at the vet’s office before traveling to Petco with my slightly violated Sophie and waving goodbye to another $60 for the Frontline flea meds the doctor strongly recommended. She also pranced out of the store as the proud owner of an organic pork bone she refused to put down which made its way into the trash two days later because it made her shit turn yellow and that kinda creeped me out.

Was my puppy girl worth the dough? Of course. Should I have become a veterinarian and made millions (overestimate, I know) overcharging overworked/underpaid pet owners for a multitude of tests, problems, etc. that they likely know nothing about? Clearly.

* This blog entry gives me an amazing excuse to post some pictures of my Sophie baby girl.



When I grow up…
September 29, 2008, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Adventures in "Motherhood", Argh, Foodage, I am getting old...

When I was a kid, dreaming of little more than becoming a lawyer married to at least one of the two Jonathans – Taylor Thomas (oh ya, JTT was IT back then) or Brandis, who is clearly too dead to be wed at the moment – I never fondly looked into a future filled with chores, responsibilities and, my least favorite task, grocery shopping.

I have no idea why something so simple, so completely devoid of any brain power, would be so fervently avoided on my part. But it regularly is until something “drastic” happens, i.e. the dog has zero lamb pellets left to munch on for her daily meals or I’m down to the last three squares of toilet paper, knowing I’ll at least have to use the bathroom thrice more before venturing out the following day.

I tend to approach the task of grocery shopping with disdain on a semi-regular basis. If you had asked me to venture to the nearest mall (30 minutes away) and spend six hours perusing the stores, I’d do so with a grin on my face and credit cards in hand. But driving a measly five minutes/two miles to Food Lion causes me to grab my cell phone and call my grandmother who, I know, will talk for at least 20 minutes and, with any luck, keep me from dying from boredom as I toss food items into my cart.

You would think that shopping for necessities wouldn’t be so aggravating on my part, but the tedious undertaking brings me nothing but stress…

“Did I remember everything on my list (’cause oh ya, I make one just to destress myself as much as possible)?” “Do I really need the white bread and the cinnamon raisin bread?” “Holy crap, this cart is so full!” “Is there enough cash in my bank account or should I use a credit card?” “What kind of poor ass girl am I going to look like whipping out the Capital One?” “Great, I forgot deodorant (when I’m inevitably on the other side of the store).”

It’s an unending barrage of questions in my head, all as I attempt to add up the dollars I’ll be spending, which is nearly always more than I wanted to shell out for one grocery store visit. And then, as I step out the door with my 27 bags of groceries – half of which I may or may not touch, but felt that I “needed” – buyer’s remorse sets in when I realize what I could’ve gotten for my $143 that would’ve actually made me happy.

Yes, clearly I need to eat. It’s somewhat of a necessity for this whole living/breathing thing. But, jeez, must it be so damn stressful? Most days, I’d rather leave my cabinets as barren as the Mohave and travel to my nearest McD’s for a burger and fries. Perhaps I’m lazy, perhaps I’d simply like to avoid the hour-long hassle of dragging my cart up and down the aisles, twice, each. And don’t even get me started on Wal-Mart. Oh my … let’s avoid that topic as it pertains to this blog all together.

And what’s most unfortunate is that after glancing at nearly every purchasable object at my local grocer, I have to carry those 27 bags of groceries into my home, alone. At 5’1″, making it into the house – which means through the front door, the middle room and into the kitchen at the back of my place – in only one trip is often impossible … and keeping my dog away from the 13 bags I piled on my arms for journey #1 into Casa de Skutnick is nearly the same.

After at least 10 minutes of putting the items in their proper places in my cabinets/refrigerator/freezer/stove (I store bread there, and bagels, ’tis true), I don’t want to eat because I’ll then use something I’ll just have to purchase again soon. So I stare at my newly-bought food, attempting not to disrupt it – thus venturing out for Chinese or Taco Bell – just to keep from having to grocery shop again.

It’s a never-ending cycle, as far as I’m concerned. And since my dog has eaten only once in the last two days, me scraping every last morsel from her bag of Puppy Chow, it’s off to Food Lion I go following work today. Maybe I’ll try to score some overtime to avoid the task… Wish me luck!