Reflections on the year of the poop-eating puppy

I thought I’d peek my head out of the hole I’ve crawled into over the past week to check in and let everyone know that our holidays were some of the best we’ve ever had. Maybe because it was so low key, so absent of assignments and projects and security checks at the airport. I’ve taken some much needed time to rest and reflect on the last year of my life both personally and professionally, and when I go look back at the photos and stories from the past twelve months I’m reminded of how lucky and blessed I am to have a supportive husband, a healthy and beautiful child, two insane canines who fill each day with memories, the ability to pay my mortgage, a job that I love, and the luxury of not having to fear for my life. I also know that I am very lucky to be pregnant and that although the process can be frustrating and frequently miserable, it is a gift to have the opportunity to live through it.

2008 was also the year of traveling, and I cannot count the number of miles I’ve added to my frequent flyer account nor the number of TSA agents who have groped my boobs in the name of national security. Here’s a list of the cities I visited in 2008:

January… San Diego, CA
February… San Francisco, CA
March… Austin, TX
April… Palm Springs, CA
May… New York, NY and Vancouver, BC, Canada
June… Destin, FL
July… Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA
August… San Francisco, CA
October… Kansas City, MO and New York, NY
November… Los Angeles, CA
December… San Francisco, CA and New York, NY

I’ve purposefully said no to a litany of upcoming engagements because I need a break from the layovers and delays and $25 per checked bag, although I resume a pretty packed schedule at the end of March (details to come). 2009 should look nothing like 2008 in terms of traveling, but there is that nuclear bomb that is set to go off in our living room in mid June and the consequent several-month acid trip caused by sleep deprivation. Oh, and the nursing bras. Two gigantic cups full of life lessons.

I’m going to continue with the holiday break for the next few days, but in the meantime I’ve put together a list of my favorite posts from the last year and a collection of my favorite daily photos set to one of my favorite songs released in 2008, “Blindsided” by Bon Iver who appears at about the 03:55 mark. Thank you all for joining me in what has been an amazing, humbling, expletive-laden year, certainly one of the best of my life.

A family of Five
“I won’t go into too much detail about how I persuaded my husband to get one of these puppies, just that I might have fallen to the ground, clutched the bottom of his pants, and dried my tears with his shoelaces.”

Smelling of puppy breath
“But that was just a trick. A lie! An EVIL UNTRUTH. Because the second night she was here she woke up every single hour and cried until we took her out. And I had a hard time not calling her names and making crass jokes about her mother behind her back.”

Daydreaming of palm trees
“And I’m standing there with my parts peeking out the front of this giant coat, a snow-covered puppy wriggling violently in my arms, her poop-scented tongue licking my forehead. Sometimes life is such that it’s too much to ask for them all to sit still so that I can take ten seconds and put on a pair of panties.”

First leg
“I will admit that I lost my cool there for a few minutes, long enough that Jon looked at me sternly and said that he could very much imagine punching me in the face but that he wouldn’t because he hears that’s illegal.”

Thou shalt not misrepresent thy husband
“Except she wasn’t Miss America, my mistake, how was I supposed to know when only two seconds ago my husband had whispered her correct title in my ear? Was I supposed to be paying attention? Because I wasn’t, I was busy plotting out how I could fling my body in the air and wrap it around her head. That’s how I show my patriotism.”

Girls, girls, girls
“Blame it on laziness or, I don’t know, laziness, it’s just that sometimes it’s so exhausting to watch the card reader transfer all those photos from the memory card to my hard drive. I burn at least a hundred calories just thinking about it.”

Life with two dogs. Much different than life on a beach with a margarita.
“Okay. I smelled their paws. I admit it. There is no excuse, I just had to know, you know? And when I smelled one of Chuck’s back paws, the one that had stepped in his own poop outside, I died. And fell over dead. My obituary read: KILLED BY MALODOROUS PAW. They sang Mormon hymns at my funeral.”

Grand total of 78,215 words
“Since then every single minute of my life has been heavy with the thought of those deadlines. I felt guilty if I took five minutes to read a magazine because I should have been using those five minutes to write my book. I felt like I was walking around with a 500-pound llama sitting on my face, and it hadn’t bathed in several weeks.”

Chuck’s heightened sense of AWESOME!
“So I said to the chimney sweep, look, I am not about to let you go around killing wildlife, can we just let him continue living in our chimney? All he wants is a few warm cuddles, why not leave him alone! We could adopt him and let him sleep in our bed! I’d name him Percy Twinkles Armstrong and take photos of him wearing Keds.”

A woman like that
“So Rick Springfield was standing not two feet from me, and I started to sing ‘Jessie’s Girl’ involuntarily under my breath, and oh shut up, you just go ahead and stand two feet away from Rick Springfield and see you if your mouth doesn’t automatically start humming that chorus, there is no way you could resist, it’s like a law of physics or something.”

Her tombstone will read WAS SOLD TO BUTCHER
“A little tequila can make you reconsider your entire wardrobe. Why didn’t I wear more hats? Hats are awesome! And it’s kind of hot in here, why are we still wearing shirts? ALSO! WHO WANTS TO DANCE? Here, if I jump off this counter will you catch me?”

We’re back in the will!
“I know that some of you will be totally surprised that I participate in this, that I willingly bow my head for a Mormon prayer instead of marching around the table with a picket sign, but I respect my family’s beliefs and they respect mine. I bow my head before meals at their houses, and they know that when they come to my house they aren’t allowed to come inside until after they have removed their pants.”

Regional differences
“It means that if I leave you in charge of teaching her how to speak we’ll have to hire a translator to follow her around so that she can communicate with the world.”

As high as a preschooler can count
“The Tumble Bus teacher, someone who has had no interaction with Leta, seemed concerned by this reaction, but I was all, dude, this is nothing. You should see what happens when I accidentally fast forward through the previews on the Finding Nemo DVD.”

On being more friendly to the environment

A conversation with my daughter that finally explains my relationship with my older sister
“No, the only good reason to have a little sister is to have someone else to blame when you accidentally set your dad’s car on fire.”

Why our next dog will be a sea monkey
“I immediately text message Jon: ‘Our dogs are awful. Also, Coco is a bigot.'”

Four years
“And one day you’re going to be having a complex conversation with that baby who is screaming her head off right now, and you’re going to go, holy shit, I made it.”

Short stack
“Want a bite of a yummy pancake? No. How about now? No. Now? No. Mmmmmm, this yummy pancake is really yummy, would you like a bite? No. How about I grab it off the plate and aim it at your head like a frisbee? No. Are you even paying attention to me? No.”

Rounding out her resume
“And it occurred to me that meeting Coco’s mother was probably a lot like what Jon experienced the first time he met my mother and was all, oh. Now I get it. The Crazy is hereditary.”

The multi-room installation
“In fact, when we employ this technique you can almost hear the lone cricket inside her head crawling up to her ear to yell out: THERE’S NOTHING IN HERE. LET ME SLEEP.”

In honor of her grandfather
“Dude, you do not want a ghost coming into your room looking for her shit. It’s not worth the heart attack.”

Our in-house recycling plant
“She, too, would grow up to be a mean mother like me and be surprised by how satisfying it is to watch the word ‘no’ fly through the air and paralyze a room of four-year-olds. It’s a parenting skill I like to call Magic.”