Healthy Living Bloggers (HLBs)

Ranch

I consider myself something of a lifestyle/healthy living blogger.  And I am perfectly transparent in what experiences/education that I feel make me at all qualified to dish on all that I dish on.

Here’s what I got real quick so you guys know where I’m coming from.

  • Studied Psychology in undergrad.
  • Studied Social Work, focused heavily on health and weight loss.
  • Worked two full summers at a weight loss camp, spent time, after I got full-time work, at weight loss camp with my kids.
  • Worked for Fleet Feet (running specialty) for…well I never really stopped.  I backed off of full-time when I was employed as a Director at a local nonprofit facility….
  • I am Director of Group Fitness.
  • Been teaching group fitness for over 5 years.  Zumba® Fitness, Toning, Step, Cycling, Body Pump™.  You name it I teach it.
  • Also, I lost some like 35-40ish pounds I put on in college and while in a terribly volatile relationship.

This isn’t to say, like “la la la, I’m so fancy, I know all this stuff,” it’s more to say, I know some of what I’m talking about.  I still have bunches to learn, and I will never claim that candy, wine, and coffee never cross my lips, cause they totally do.  But I’m increasingly troubled by the rise of the “healthy” living blogger, or HLB, especially the sort that doesn’t work out, lost weight on potentially unhealthy and unsustainable methods, and then touts the weird crap they eat as healthy to unsuspecting followers.

Enter…well…let me know say her name, because I’m not here to embarrass anyone, but, she’s sort of what I described above.  Maybe a nice girl, but really in no place to be telling other folks what to be putting in their bodies to lose weight – and not because she hasn’t found success, but because what works for her simply may not work or be healthy for every body.

So the other day, aforementioned blogger posts a picture of a salad with what looked to be about 5 tablespoons of ranch dressing on it.

There’s nothing wrong with a salad, I think salads are amazing and awesome, but not only did she douse the salad in ranch dressing, but she very literally stated…

“The ranch is intentional…it’s a great source of healthy fat!”

And then when a follower questioned her on it, she then stated, ” The oil, eggs and cream found in ranch dressing are all healthy fats.”

Let me break it down for you really quickly.  Ranch gets like a D- from nutritionists.  It’s FULL of fat (and not the good kind), and even fuller of sodium.  There is not a nutritionist on God’s green earth who would EVER list Ranch as a healthy fat.  And FURTHERMORE the serving size is like 1 tbs.  Not 5.  Or whatever’s going on there.

All that to say, please, please, please, when you’re following HLBs, keep a few things in mind.

  • We’re human.  We lose weight, we gain weight.  We run a good race.  We run a bad race.  Some of us have suffered with eating disorders.  Some of us just like to write!  Please don’t look to us as the gospel.
  • Please be discerning.  How does (s)he  know what (s)he is talking about?  Did they do something idiotic like go on diet pills?  Do they look as if they have some sort of eating disorder?  Are they copious drug/alcohol users?  DO THEY WORK OUT?! No?  Probably not someone you need to be looking to for diet advice, and I think it’s important for us to recognize that in ourselves as the blogger.
  • Call us on it.  Do you see something on the blog that doesn’t seem right?  Doesn’t make sense?  Email us, leave a comment, or ask a genuine question.

QOTD

On a more positive note, who are some of your favorite HLBs?

Rock ‘n’ Roll – First time Marathoner!

Pink Ladies

I ran my first marathon 2 ish years ago in Virginia Beach on a cold, rather blustery day.  I know what my experience was like, but much like childbirth, you sort of forgot what the actual day is like, and you romanticize the idea of a marathon, only remembering the feeling of crossing the finish line and smiling a lot for pictures while you hold up your medal.  Or, as it were in my case, bawling like a baby whilst your husband snapped pictures of your blotchy face.

I thought it was important to talk about Rock ‘n’ Roll through the eyes of someone who’d just done it, and had just done it for the first time.  So without any further blathering on, here is my amazing friend, Liz!

Liz Marathon

Liz is in the pink in the middle, just after completing 26.2 miles in 4:45:06, which was her GOAL!!!

  • Introduce yourself!  Name, how do you know me, and what do you do! Hello! My name is Liz Passannante, I am 25 years old and currently live in New York City. Cheri and I go way back to my freshman year of college when I joined her a cappella group Twisted Measure and we’ve been friends ever since. I work in HR for a consulting firm in NYC, and have been dabbling in running for a few years now.

Liz caught my attention during her audition.  She was really cute, fearless, and admitted to fully appreciating Nicole Richie at the audition.  I was hooked then!

  • What made you decide to sign up for a marathon?  What running had you done leading up to it? I decided to register for the Raleigh RNR Marathon kind of on a whim – I had run a few half marathons and always felt the ultimate goal would be to run a marathon. I started running after college when I signed up for the More Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon in Central Park. It was really a life-changing day – that race is still my favorite to run. I always hated running in high school and college, but found myself wanting to stay active after I stopped playing sports.   Enter running! This past October I really just kind of decided to go for it – I registered and set off on my training plan!
  • Tell me about your training process?  Since it was a spring race, I know you had to do some winter running/possibly modify your training?  What did that entail for you? I started running regularly again in November 2014 to build up a baseline before launching into the training program. I started really increasing my mileage in January, just in time for one of the snowiest winter’s we’ve had in recent history. I think the biggest trick with Winter running is to prepare, prepare, prepare before long runs. I would make lists for myself of everything I needed, and it took a few tries to get it right. I usually pushed back the start time of my runs until about noon or 1PM so I could hit the warmest part of the day. On the coldest days I would wear 2 pairs of tights, a thermal layer, my winter running jacket, a neckwarmer, earwarmers and gloves.Keeping all that gear in one place was surprisingly difficult (ex: a few times I left gloves or my watch at work, and would have to swing by the office on my way to the park). I also don’t have a washer/dryer in my building, so it was also a task keeping everything clearn! I did some of my shorter runs indoors, both by booking gym time on ClassPass (best thing ever) or by attending classes at Mile High Run Club (<<<so much fun). My most memorable run was probably when I ran in 8 degree weather in Vermont on a ski weekend – FUN!!! Overall though, I was usually able to find one day of the weekend where it was bearable.
  • Why did you choose the race that you chose? I chose the Raleigh RNR for a few reasons. 1) It’s always been a goal of mine to run the NY Marathon, and I was advised to run one marathon before tackling New York so that when the time came I could really enjoy the experience of the NY Marathon. I think looking back that was smart – I have a much better idea of how to train and what to expect, and now am genuinely looking forward to when I will (hopefully) get to run that race! No first time race jitters there. 2) I wanted to run a race where I was close to my family, both because I like spending time with them and because logistically it made things much easier. My mom took me to the expo, the starting line and we had an awesome lunch all together after the race. It would have felt lonely without them, and seeing them along the course was such a great motivation. Race day would have been way less fun without them – my sister even hopped in for the last stretch which was a really cool memory for me.
  • Okay, race day.  What were you jittery about?  Looking forward to? I think I was most anxious about 1) hitting “the wall,” and 2) not being able to keep up with the pace group. I think I can say pretty confidently that I did not hit “the wall.” As Cheri can attest, there were a few times especially towards the end where I needed to walk, but I was for the most part able to push through. I definitely didn’t feel like I was going to die or anything (although I probably said it LOL).  I also for the most part was able to keep up with the pacers, which is good for me because they were amazing. They were so so helpful, and I knew that staying with them for as long as possible would be key to me hitting my goal. I lost them a little during the last mile, but I think I ended up finishing only 2-3 minutes behind them?
  • Talk to me about your nutrition leading up to/on race day?  I kept things pretty normal leading up to race day. I didn’t drink for the majority of the 2 weeks leading up to the race but that was mostly to make sure I was well hydrated. The night before I ate some delicious gluten free pasta, and the morning of I had a luna bar, hot tea and water. During the race I used 2 flavors of Gu: Tri-Berry and Jet Blackberry (delicious). The plan was to take them at 3, 10, 15 and 20. I ended up taking one at 19 because I started feeling tired and I felt like I wanted to get ahead of any potential crash.
  • Talk to me about the race.  What time did you wake up?  Talk to me about your outfit (silly, important tho!).  Talk to me about the day.  How long did you feel good for?  When did you start to feel rough (if you did at all)?  Did you run with pacers?  What factored into your decision to use/not utilize a pacer? Race day I woke up at 4:20AM because we needed to be out the door at 4:40. I tried to pick clothes that I had run in many times before, but it was hard because I’ve been training in cold weather and race day was warm! I wish I could have worn shorts, but it was just risky because I hadn’t trained in them and the last thing I needed was some type of wardrobe malfunction. I honestly felt great up to mile 18. I feel like I looked up and we were at mile 13, and then again at 17 when Cheri joined. At 18-20 I started thinking to myself “this is getting really hard” but overall the race flew by. I could not believe when I crossed the finish line. As I mentioned above I did run with pacers and am so glad I did. I wanted to stay with them for majority of the race because I felt like I would probably really benefit from having a group later in the race. I was confident in my ability to push myself through 20, but felt like having the extra motivation during the last 6 miles could be helpful. It was such a lifesaver. = The pacers were truly amazing – they had an altitude specific pace plan and they did such a great job telling us when we should bank time or when we could dial back and take a rest. I definitely lost them a bit on the last mile but really feel like I was able to stay on target due to their help.
  • And finally, what’s your takeaway from this experience?  Would you/will you do this again? I had such an amazing experience training for and running my first marathon, and I would totally do it all over again (and hope to this fall for the NY Marathon!) I was initially dreading the training process but by the end I really enjoyed it overall. The hardest part surprisingly was fitting in runs during the week – I weirdly started looking forward to my long runs and feel like I don’t know what to do with all of my free time now that my weekends aren’t going to be dominated by training! My key takeaway – if you want to run a race, any length, just go for it! I hated running in high school (ask my parents). When my field hockey coach made us run 3 miles I thought it was the hardest thing in the world. Little by little I trained, improved and learned how to enjoy myself! I also need to give credit to you, Cheri Armour Samples, because you definitely have inspired me to run races far beyond what I believed I was capable of doing (hello, marathon). My race day was so fun and you were such a huge help to me – thank you!!!

Pink Ladies

And that’s it! An extremely well-prepared marathon first-timer!

How was your first race (ever)?

Britt McHenry is a terrible person

It’s pretty rare I will jump on the bandwagon, Justine Sacco style, and rage on about how someone needs to have their life ruined over an idiotic decision they’ve made.

And admittedly, though I feel like people like Justine, or people who dress in blackface for Halloween, or even an idiotic blogger I used to follow who threw a black and white party for Martin Luther King Jr’.s birthday are complete idiots, but I’d hate for most of them to like lose their livelihoods over it, right?  I mean jobs still aren’t easy to come by, no sense ruining some dumb person’s life over their complete ignorance, right?

Side note:  In the case of that blogger I used to follow before she threw a black and white Martin Luther King Jr. party, complete with popcorn and fake mustaches, the fact that she was Mormon made the entire thing worse.  The Mormon church and black people don’t have a fantastic history, and I will leave it at that.  When I mentioned how offensive her behavior was, she seemed 1000% clueless, and I couldn’t do any more than just unfollow her and hope she realizes that as a white Mormon girl, that since our history already ain’t so good, she should really chill on parties featuring hipster mustaches as a way to “honor” Dr. King.

I digress, however.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/2E2eJC/nbcNewsOffsite?guid=tdy_hill_rant_150417

So, by now, I’m sure you’ve seen this horrible video of Britt McHenry, ESPN reporter, saying heinous things to the woman behind the towing counter when she went to pick up her car after it was towed from a restaurant.

We’ve all been in this situation.  Remember when I was towed this time last year?  It was completely my bad.  I am willing to admit that.  But it was still frustrating to go through the process of getting my car back, and even more so when it seemed that the towing company was taking advantage of the fact that I was carless and that they could do whatever it was they wanted to me.  However, the thought didn’t necessarily cross my mind to do any of what Britt did which included:

  • Stating how being in that place made her skin crawl.
  • Talking about how her being on television would somehow magically enable to her “sue this place”.  Whatever that means.
  • Making fun of that attendant’s weight.
  • Stating that people who worked in those places were not educated.
  • Making an extremely rude comment about teeth, or lack of teeth and people who work in towing places?

The woman working the counter seemed to handle herself well, and mentioned to Britt that there were cameras there, to which she continued on her rant.  Additionally, after a particularly mean-spirited comment, the attendant even told her, “don’t say that,” and she continued on.

I get it.  Like I said, I have been on the towed end of things.  But the little old auntie at the counter?  She’s not the one who towed your car.

Britt,

You’re blond, and I suppose you’ve been told you’re really special and beautiful your entire life, which may have lead to some of the terrible comments you made that night.

However, think about this.  You, me, anyone reading this could be a few paychecks away from working behind a counter at a tow yard in order to make ends meet.  Jobs still are not easy peazy to come by, and you went into someone’s place of employment, and judged her based on the way that she looked, and made a scene.  You made it perfectly clear that deep down, you feel that you’re better than her and people like her, and that people who aren’t like you – blond, technically pretty, with a fancy visible job, with perfect teeth, don’t deserve dignity and respect, especially in their place of work.

You aren’t better than anyone “baby girl”, and you made that clear not only with the words you chose, but also with the apology that you issued on Twitter?!  Pro tip, next time you do something wrong, maybe an actual apology to the person you hurt is more appropriate.  Not some canned, creepy apology you made on Twitter because HR showed you the morality clause you signed and made you apologize at the threat of you losing your job.

So Britt, you pathetic, miserable, soul-less, nasty human being, I truly hope you learn a lesson from this.  And in the event you didn’t, which I believe to be true, please get a job as a server, as an attendant, as the person who takes your money at the tolls, or as the person who has to call and chase you around to get you to pay your student loans, and then decide how much better you are than those people simply because you have blond hair and a “fancy job”.

Best.  Just kidding.  That wasn’t sincere.  Let me start over.

Here’s hoping you learned something,

C

 

 

Pho Pho Pho

IMG_2312

Hi lovers!  I know it has been a few days, but it was a few well-needed days of rest that I spent with my dad between DC and New Jersey.  More on that later.

But I wanted to touch base about something I talked about after last weekend, when my quest to find pho, a Vietnamese soup, was finally somewhat resolved.  Also ramen.

So about two years ago, when I was training for my first marathon, I swear (and barely anyone remembers this, so it’s almost unbelievable), that Whole Foods, in their sushi section, had bowls of real ramen, with an egg and everything in it.  I ate it religiously as “second lunch” as I was ridiculously hungry during the training cycle, and seemed to do well with the sodium.

Soon after, WF set up a pho station, complete with fresh jalapenos, and I went on the quest to find a bowl of pho and real ramen somewhere in the Triangle.

Saturday morning, after we’d worked at the expo, some of the folks posted some pics from a spot called Pho Pho Pho on Facebook, and the decision was made then, especially after one of the folks there told me that the Sake Sangria was on point.  I mean, duh.

So after a short convincing period, Austin and I headed out to Pho Pho Pho on Glenwood, that was so new (about 4 weeks old), that it didn’t really have a sign out front, and I had to rely on an old episode of bar rescue to find it. Totally not joking about that, but that place was a total creepy dump before.

Anyhoo, so we got there, immediately ordered a few drinks, and got to ordering on the menu from this adorable server who had a smile permanently on!

IMG_2312

This is what I ended up with – a pho ramen mashup that only cost about $10, but came out in a bowl that was without a doubt large enough for two meals. I ate as much as I could, then poured the rest away for lunch the next day.

My verdict after waiting for like a year or two for some legit pho is that this place is legit. Good soup, good noodles, and great drinks, and I can’t wait to go again. (Seriously, I asked Austin to take me again tomorrow.)

Now, since pho is such an awesome sore throat/replenish your sodium food….what’s your favorite sick food?

Weekend Review

So my weekend started long, long before Friday at 5pm.

Tuesday evening, I stayed up until 2 am, getting my ducks in a row for work because Wednesday morning, bright and early, we were headed out for our Annual Director’s Retreat at work.  The day kicked off with a scavenger hunt downtown, and then we boarded an activity bus for Lake Gaston in North Carolina.

The home we stayed in was beautiful, and the first thing I did when we got there was hop on a paddleboard, and paddle around the lake, despite the fact that I haven’t really done it before.  But I’ve seen it done a ton in the tabloids, so I picked it up pretty quickly.

Lake Gaston

Because I’m still fairly new in this position (I’m only about a year old), I often feel guilty about taking time away from my computer and my email, but it was so nice to spend time sleeping, running, and paddling around the lake, without my phone going off, or without someone walking into my office with a problem that needed to be fixed then and there.

While I was there, relaxing, I continued to worry about my knee and hip.  I was resting (somewhat), taking a ton of Aleve, and hydrating, but some residual knee pain from this bad boy…

Rugby Injury

…which resulted in a fracture, some crutches, and some physical therapy, started to creep back. After I talked to my friend Google, and then the Physical Therapist, she told me it was most likely that I had a small tear in my right meniscus, and that I needed about two weeks of swimming, cycling, foam rolling, Aleve, and that the tear should take car of itself.

And there went my plans for a marathon.

I was a little disappointed, but relieved that I wasn’t making the pain up in my head.

Knee Brace

I was able to pull out some of the braces that Dr. Miller gave me when I was on crutches, healing that fracture, and make use of them for the first time in years. But I made the decision then that I would meet a friend who was running her first full on Sunday, and pace her for a few miles, and that was that!

Pho Pho Pho

After working the expo for a few hours on Friday and Saturday, I convinced my hubby to take me to this new place in Raleigh, Pho Pho Pho, since I’d been looking for pho nonstop since I had it from Whole Foods a few years ago, and hadn’t had a great bowl since.  It was AWESOME, and I was served enough to save some for lunch on Sunday after the race!

Race Day

The night before the race, I was able to sign up for text tracking for my friend Liz, who was running her first full in Raleigh.  When I got the text that she had passed the 13.1 mile marker, I started getting myself together, and walked down the street from my house, which was right between miles 16 and 17.  I spotted her, and we headed out.  My hip felt okay, and knee felt good, so my plan to just run a few miles turned into 5, which turned into 10ish.  Oops!  But I got to see my friend through her first finish line, and she finished her first marathon with an impressive 4:45 time, which was her goal!  And I got to test out my legs before going into a two-week break, which is supposed to fix me up.  Cross your fingers for me!

I had a nutty weekend.  What did you do this weekend!

Poison Control

Allergic Reaction

If there was ever a question in my mind about my husband’s love for me, he smashed it today.

Let me back it up.

I’ve completely been overdoing it the past few weeks.  Staying up working late, teaching multiple classes, running home and running a vacuum, and doing the best impression of super career woman and wife that there has ever been.  So last night, after I came home late from work, I kissed Austin, and told him that I was going to take a bath to relieve some of the achy-ness I’ve had in the same knee that I broke a bone in a few years ago.  Whenever I’m stressed or wearing myself thin, that knee reminds me to dial it back.

So, earlier in the day, I bought a bottle of real Aleve (the generic was not doing it), and I pored over my choices in the Bengay section before selecting some Capzasin HP for folks with Arthritis.  I figured that it would help my knee and my hips.  When I got home, I jumped into the bathtub and soaked in water so hot, that sweat started dripping down my face.

I got out, dried off, and grabbed the tube of the cream.  I put a little on my hip, then on the front of my knee.

Nothing.

I made sure to get the back of my knee.

Again, nothing.

So I started to get dressed.  Grabbed a pair of compression tights and compression socks and started to work them on when my hip and knee started to burn.  The burn grew exactly the way it would when you eat a little piece of habanero.  Silent, than louder and louder.  I made my way out to the great room.

“Babe, I think we need to call 9-1-1.  I used some Capzasin and my skin is on fire.”

He looked up from his iPad, recognized I was in some pain, and asked,

“We need to call 9-1-1?”

I begged him to help, and he Googled it.

“I think you’re having a reaction to it”

First we tried vinegar on a paper towel.  We got me back into the shower, and ran cold water over me while I tried to wipe the oil off.  As soon as the water would stop hitting me, the burn would start again.  Every single solitary expletive I know crossed my lips.  And finally, we had to call poison control.

The woman I spoke to was a saint.  When I told her the percentage of the cream, 0.1%, she breathed, “oh boy,” before she told me what I needed to do.

“Are you rinsing in cold water?  That will set and solidify the oil in your skin.  You need hot soapy water, and do you have Maalox?  That will help.  Nothing like Pepto, it contains asprin.  Try that, and give me a call back and let me know how you’re doing.”

Austin poured baking soda on me.  Poured vinegar on me.  Filled his hands with hand soap.  Sipped a bear while I muttered the most filthy words the english language has to offer.  And grabbed the soap from the kitchen sink when nothing else would sud enough.

Allergic ReactionHad to avoid showing you guys a nudie to see what the cream did to my hip.  But it’s not good.

Word to the wise.  Go with the weak stuff when it will tingle burn the top two layers off your skin.  Here’s to a good Wednesday.   

Easter Weekend

Hammock

This weekend was a much-needed exercise in something I’m terrible at.  Sitting my ass down and relaxing.  It’s been a rough, rough week or so at work, and my body has been really upset with me.  Hips ache, Aleve is on a drip, and rest has not been as restful as I would like it.  That’s a completely different post for a completely different day, however.

So I started the weekend on the couch.  I didn’t have to work on Good Friday, and though I thought about it, I could not physically bring myself to open that laptop and answer the emails that had begun to roll in.  And it was for the best!

I was laying on the couch and received an awesome phone call from a friends who let me know that she and her husband were expecting!  How cool!  It’s getting weirder and weirder. Me and my friends are continuing to do adult things, and yet, in some ways, I feel like a kid still.  At what point do I become an adult?  My husband and I are talking about our home, our dreams, our travel, perhaps even plans for kids, and yet, I still find reality television hysterical.

But at any rate, after I spent some time on the couch, and did a slow few miles around the neighborhood, when I realized that I’d made no plans for the evening.  A friend texted, stated that she was in a similar plight, and we made plans to meet at the Whole Foods for dinner and drinks.  It was nice because I didn’t get too crazy, and I fell into bed with Austin at the end of the night.

Saturday, we didn’t do a lot, BUT we did make a great purchase in a mandoline to make chips out of sweet potatoes.  It was okay – I think next time, I’m going to roast the chips in my vegetable dehydrator.  I also was extremely pleased – my 13.5lb bag of Arm & Hammer finally arrived from Amazon, and I got to start some spring cleaning, along with the Bissell that showed up.

I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!
I sprinkle this on everything for some help with cleaning!

Easter Sunday, we met some friends for brunch, grab some more cards for me to write some letters, and when I was away running a lap in the State Park, Austin put together a hammock that’s been sitting in the house all winter.

Hammock

It was a great, restful weekend, and were leading up to a nutty week. I’m gearing up for tons on Monday, our staff retreat, as well as hydrating throughout for a big race on Sunday, which I don’t even want to talk about right now.

What were you up to this weekend? 

The worst April Fool’s Joke Ever

via mtv.tumblr.com

First, I have to address the fact that I truly feel that Jesus is smiling down on me with all of the pop culture goodness that has been bestowed upon me this week.  All culminating to the Roast of Justin Bieber that popped off on Monday night.

Now I’m going to be the first to admit, that I love me some Bieber, and saw him in concert from the nosebleeds with a friend, also in her 20s at the time.  The concert was awesome, and the best part was the entire thing.

Now, I had some apprehensions about this roast.  I mean it seems like a pretty transparent attempt to take a beating for acting like an ass these past few years (all of which I heartily enjoyed, including his deposition tapes, where he wore a curtain-inspired jacket and mouthed off to officers of the law.  Now, I’m not big on spanking, but that child needs a hearty ass whopping.  I’ll give it to him ;)

Now the finest part, the part that renews my faith in the ridiculousness of humanity, was when Bieber-dummy was lowered in a harness while a Gospel Choir sang him in.  About 3/4ths of the way down, Bieber plummeted to the ground.  I shouldn’t have been laughing, but I was.

via mtv.tumblr.com
via mtv.tumblr.com

Moving right along…

So yesterday was April Fool’s. I’m really not big on pranks. They make me upset. Except, of course, when Justin Timberlake was told that the IRS would be seizing his possessions, and he cried after the officer stepped on his acoustic guitar. Other than that, I really don’t appreciate pranks, because I don’t like being scared or thinking that I’ve ruined someone’s life. Call me old-fashioned.

So in 2005, my parents were driving me back from Pittsburgh, as I was slated to attend the University of Pittsburgh.  Spoiler Alert:  I ended up at Elon, and was beyond pleased with my decision.  I would probably be very chilly had I gone to Pittsburgh.  But driving back from Pitt, I got a call on my flip phone from my sister.

“Hey…your job called. ”

I was working for Atlanta Bread Company, my first job, and was so proud of myself.  I worked hard, and at the end of the evenings, when the night was over, my manager would allow us to take treats from the bakery home in a brown paper bag, which me and my mom loved, because we have a wicked sweet tooth.

“They said you’re fired.  Something about you taking something?  Were you allowed to take the bakery?”

I was freaking out.  I kept screeching, “What?!”  My mom was flipping out and all of a sudden, after I’d been allowed to freak out for a minute or two…

“April Fools!”

I looked at the phone in disbelief when my mom snatched it from me.

“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO SOMEONE WORKING THEIR FIRST JOB?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

And that, my friends, is the worst prank every played on me.

Any of you had jokes played?

(Responsible) Pet Ownership

Two Saturdays ago, I peeked out into the yard and noticed a large black pinscher mix in the yard.  I was on the porch, and thankfully, Coco wasn’t outside with me because the dog seemed to be truly unhappy that I was in her space.  I’m assuming her, I could be completely wrong.  Anyhoo, so I looked at her, she looked at me, and she began to growl and bark, seemingly guarding my own yard against me.

I put two and two together, and realized the dog belonged to a neighbor.  We’d had problems with these dogs before.  Often, when we’re working out in the yard, the dogs will run back and forth behind their fence, barking and growling.  It’s always made me nervous, but at the same time, I’ve trusted in the fence to hold the dogs back.

So the dog shows up in the yard, very unhappy to see me.  I sort of squealed for Austin, who was at work in the office.

“Babe!  Babe!  There’s a black dog in the yard!”

I heard him scramble to his feet, and run onto the porch where I was.  The dog continued to be nasty, but didn’t get any closer.  And as suddenly as the dog appeared, I heard a female voice call the dog back, and the dog was gone.  I was a bit rattled, but didn’t think much of it.

On Saturday, prior to me running around in the State Park, I let Coco out.  She’s old and addled with anxiety so she won’t go far.  And just as soon as I let her out, she turned around and began pounding the door.  I looked, and right behind here was his big black dog.  This time, mere feet from the door.

“Babe!  That dog is back!”

Austin was pissed.  The dog was pissed.  So he slipped by the dog, and went to the neighbor’s door to knock and ask them to bring their dog inside and not let it come back.  And of course, no one was home.

We were at a loss.  The dog was just being a dog, but was a potential danger to me, but more so to Coco, who, despite her wild amount of adorableness, is a senior dog, and would be killed.  I mean, she has like four teeth (we had to get a few pulled when we got her for her health), and that bitch had a full mouthful of teeth from what I could tell.  We shouldn’t have to deal with someone else’s dog coming into our yard where we pay our mortgage to make us afraid.

We called an officer down, who pounded on the door.  They first ignored him, and opened when they realized it was an officer of the law.  The officer asked us if we wanted to witness a citation, but we declined, hoping that the officer coming around would be enough to get the message.  But in reality, I’m not afraid of a lot, and I’m afraid that the dog will attack me, or worse, Coco.  I can take care of myself, but I’m supposed to care for Coco.  I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to her.

I’m not sure what to do.  I’m hoping the neighbors got the hint, and it won’t be an issue.  But I have some nagging worry that every time I’m out in the yard, that dog will show up.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this except to express my discomfort.  I’m uncomfortable with this situation, but don’t want the dog “punished” necessarily, but I need for them to step up.  I don’t want to do anything that will get that dog sent to the shelter, but I can’t be comfortable with her running around.

What do you guys think?