One Repeat One, Volume Two: “If the King loves music, it is well with the land.” -Mencius

By April 8, 2014 music, On Repeat One
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This week has been a somber one. As you might have read, we made the difficult decision send our oldest dog, Cooper, into the great perhaps on Friday and we’ve been to a series of doctor’s appointments to make a futile attempt at pinpointing why Harper has been having some really gnarly headaches. It’s been exhausting and mildly terrifying, doctors rattling off a mix of mundane and extreme possible causes. And then most of last night I spent in the ER with my husband after he passed out. Twice!  My psyche has been whittled down the the width of a toothpick and it has been the least productive few days I’ve had in years.  The weather has been strangely cool for this time of year in San Diego and  I’ve found a lot of solace in the handful of rainy days all clumped together with their special brand of melancholy to commiserate with me. As always, my life is encased in music. I go to it when I need to known someone understands. This playlist has been on a loop all week. While I’m feeling pretty helpless right now, these songs are a mix of consolation and the potential for better weeks in the future (and more upbeat playlists).

1: King and Lionheart {Of Monsters and Men} 2: River {The Belle Game} 3: Anything Could Happen {Martha Paton – Original by Ellie Goulding} 4: Atlas Hands {Benjamin Francis Leftwich} 5: San Francisco {The Mowglis} 6: Like You Do {Jay Stolar} 7: Fall {Cinder Sky} 8: My Father was a Horse {Wild Light} 9: Let Me Back In {Rilo Kiley} 10: Landslide {Fleetwood Mac} 11: Skinny Love {Birdy – Original by Bon Iver} 12: A Case of You {James Blake} 13: In My Home {Young the Giant}

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Eulogy for a Grumpy Dog : “They bred dogs for everything else, even diving for fish, why didn’t they breed them to live longer, to live as long as a man?” – Peter Heller, The Dog Stars

By April 4, 2014 family and friends, le guppy, le pups
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Today, we put our oldest dog, Cooper, to sleep and this is a eulogy for a grumpy dog.  Cooper was 16 years old.  He’d been blind for quite a long time and it never seemed to bother him before. Lately, he’d been slowing down, limping, falling over on the newly unearthed, hardwood floors, and suffering from an unyielding parade of ear infections, one after another. We know it was time to say goodbye and let him leave this world with his dignity intact. Still, it was not an easy decision. “One more week, he’s bounced back before.” and “He’s just old. Old dogs limp.” have graced our lips more times than we can count.

When we rescued him from the shelter, he was a stray so matted you could barely tell he was a dog except for the infrequent thump of his tail on the concrete of his kennel. We knew our time with him would be limited. At nine years old, he was no spring chicken. Our lack of hesitancy despite his age seemed like a sign from the powers that be.  The shelter staff was not as convinced. They tried to talk us out of it. “He’s a project dog”, they said. “He’s got food aggression and a dominant streak a mile wide”, they said. “You don’t want this one” , they said. And they were right about everything except that last one. We couldn’t leave his sweet face behind. He was ours before he was really ours. Cooper was just what we needed.

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Cooper was a dog of many names. Technically, he was Cooper Frederick but he only heard that when he was in big trouble.We often called him Duder, Old Man Doo, Cooper Doo, Little Boy Blue, or Dude. He responded to each and every one of them.  He was a happy dog but he didn’t like to be reminded he wasn’t human. He loved people and greeted everyone with his very friendly signature howl unless that person was a UPS man or a member of the United State Border Patrol. He didn’t share my affinity for a man in uniform.

He licked sunspots. He ate underwear. He climbed up on the kitchen table. He was easily bribed whenever cookies were concerned. He championed long, undisturbed naps and seemed to have some very exciting dreams.  He snuggled babies. He obsessively licked our legs when we got out of the shower. And he never gave up his spot as co-pilot.

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I don’t want to paint an untrue picture of him. In our seven years together we have forged a multitude of memories. Some of them abounding with laughter : watching him scale the fortress we had built to keep him in the kitchen. Others joy : seeing him lick our baby’s feet for the first time. Some shadowed by disbelief : going to buy a dog kennel only to return to find he had eaten an entire bag of  Beggin Strips and littered the apartment with neon orange poop that never did come out of the carpet. Still others with uncertainty : the time he was attacked by another dog while we were camping and had to have his jaw reconstructed out of metal.

In his old age, Cooper was cantankerous. He was particular and he peed on the bathroom floor every single chance he got. There were times I was sure I could hear him snicker at my roar when I stepped in a nice fresh, warm puddle. But he loved a good car ride and never lost his fervor for a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, plain.  Mostly, he has been our very favorite pain in the butt.

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Cooper helped show me the reality of purpose, both his and mine. I’m not sure I believe that we are all put on this earth to do one specific thing, but I do think it we all have something to learn from and offer one another. Cooper taught me patience. Good lord, did I need a lot of patience with that little knucklehead.  He also showed me there is more than one way to do anything if you look at it long enough.

Cooper lived without fear and worry. He lived each moment as it was occurring. My mom always says “don’t borrow tomorrow’s troubles” and its been something I’ve always struggled with. I have a hard time being present. When I am happy, I am concerned about how long that happiness can last.  I hope seeing Cooper’s collar hanging by the front door will be a daily reminder of his ability to enjoy each second without being concerned about the next.

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He also taught me how to take care of someone besides myself. He was the first of three precursors that prepared me for the arrival of  my daughter, Harper (who I’m sure our dogs think is some strange, blonde furless puppy but they love her just the same).  He needed me, more than I had been needed before. He had special health concerns and it wasn’t uncommon for me to stay up all night with him, making sure he was okay. When Harper was very young and I keep a vigil at her bedside just to be sure she was breathing, I found myself thinking of the dog that was curled  underfoot and how we had spent many similar nights in each other’s company.   I can hear the unadulterated scoffing from people everywhere.  Mothers appalled at the idea an ill-behaved stray taught me the mothering ropes, sighing especially loudly. Surely they are not dog people and I’ not writing this for them. I’m not even writing this for Cooper. I’m writing this for me.

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As always, regrets surface. I didn’t take enough pictures, especially before he got “old”. I didn’t stop to cuddle him enough without other distractions. I was too quick to anger when he knocked the trashcan over for the six hundredth time. Still, I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who was or is still in love with a dog as I with Cooper. I’m not quite sure how I’ll sleep at night without his old man snores and snuffles drifting up from the foot of the bed. Let it suffice to say I am better for having been given the opportunity to love and learn from him. Sleep easy, Duder.

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Blackberry Cobbler : “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” -Erma Bombeck

By April 1, 2014 food and recipes

I’ve already disclosed that I’m a stress baker. I like how precise it is. I like that it demands my focus. Harper on the other hand she’s a 50/50 mix. One part mad scientist, one part artist and it’s in those traits that she finds her interest in baking. She also has a pretty prominent sweet tooth so that adds to her fervor. On this particular day, we had some blackberries we needed to use up and we decided to make a blackberry cobbler. This was the result. Scroll down for the recipe and a link to the website where we found it.

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Blackberry Cobbler

  • 1/2 cup butter, plus a bit extra for buttering the baking pan
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blackberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8-inch square baking pan.
  • Rinse blackberries and pat dry; set aside. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a microwavable dish; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk and then whisk in the melted butter. Mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until golden. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool slightly.

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Someone Liebsters Me : “You like me, right now, you like me!” – Sally Field

By March 20, 2014 just me
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I’ve been lucky enough to have two lovely ladies from the blogging community (Jessica at Stumbling Along  Thru Life and Lynsey at Eternally Wanderlyn ) nominate me for a Liebster Award. Apparently liebster means “darling’ in German. I don’t know German so I’m not sure it is actually factual, but it’s the sentiment that counts.

How To Liebster:

  • Tell 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you.
  • Choose 11 blogs you like and link them in your post.
  • Write 11 questions for these bloggers, so they can answer them.
  • Go to their page and let them know that you nominated them. No tag backs!

Since I was tagged twice, I am going to post 22 facts about myself and answer all the questions posed so go get some pop, a light snack, and find a comfy seat. Settle in and get comfortable. This might take a while.

11 (x2) Facts About Little Ole Rachy B:

  • One: I am allergic to mushrooms, chocolate, and Colgate toothpaste. All of them make my mouth bleed and the chocolate gives me migraines so intense I’ve had to go to the ER but I have been known to sneak some with a side of Tylenol on occasion. I often have to sleep my chocolate forays off like hangover.
  • Two: Some of the coolest, most interesting, best conversations I have ever had in my life have occurred over Skype because most of my friends are no longer local.
  • Three: Being a really big unapologetic geek has allowed me access to and solidified my bond with about 90% of my friends. I am certified obsessed with Harry Potter, Star Wars, Glee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Bones, Miyazaki films, Castle, Nightwing, DC Super Heroes, and a myriad of other pop culture entities.
  • Four: I feel too much. My empathy is always turned up to eleven and it frequently clouds my judgment. I’m a sucker for a good sob story and have a really hard time holding grudges.
  • Five: I have known my husband for more than half of my life.
  • Six: My top favorite movies (right now) are : Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, Peter Pan (the Disney version), An Affair to Remember, You’ve Got Mail and The Sound of Music.
  • Seven: I have a really hard time doing nothing. I am constantly working on projects, writing emails, checking my phone, and updating my calendar. Relaxing is stressful to be because it means there are things I need to do which won’t get done. 
  • Eight: When I am stressed out I bake. I’ve been known to get out of hand and bake dozens upon dozens of cookies.
  • Nine: The first thing I do every morning is make a list of the things I wish to accomplish before I go to sleep. I often have to rewrite this list after I’ve had my tea and/or coffee.
  • Ten: I hate talking on the phone because I feel guilty imposing my awkwardness on others.
  • Eleven: I am currently writing a novel I’m not sure will ever get finished.
  • Twelve: I am and forever shall be a Chicago Cubs fan.
  • Thirteen: I read very fast and still manage to retain minute details from the story. It is not uncommon for me to finish a 500 page book in three hours.
  • Fourteen: I own over 1000 books. Yes, I have am aware I have a problem. My only excuse is that I am a habitual re-reader. I go back to books and re-read them often.
  • Fifteen: I <3 Diet Coke. For Valentine’s 2013 my husband built a Diet Coke castle as my gift.  He has yet to top it.
  • Sixteen: Harrison Ford as Han Solo was my first crush.
  • Seventeen: I taught myself to cook after my husband fed my barbequed ribs which were so burnt they had actually turned to charcoal. Now I actually enjoy it but in the sake of fairness I made Guy learn how to cook so the house doesn’t get burned down on his cooking night. He has sick mastered the BBQ!
  • Eighteen: I am fascinated with drug culture but have never tried an illicit substance or taken a prescription drug that was not prescribed to me.
  • Nineteen:  I have a William Shatner phobia. Everything about him gives me the total creeps.
  • Twenty: I have several nicknames. My dad calls me Tweety. My mom calls me Tink. My husband and my brother call me Ray. Quite a few people call me Rach. When I was in middle school everyone called me Reggis (as in Philbin)  or Reggie but luckily I outgrew both of those when I changed schools for high school.
  • Twenty-One: I love punctuation. I’m enamored with its ability to change meaning with a single mark. I love it so much I have an ampersand and semi-colon tattooed on my right foot.
  • Twenty-Two: I have a Peter Pan complex a mile-wide and I have a hard time being around adults who are all grown up. Schmoozing and petty small talk have been known to send me to a nice empty bathroom stall where I can hang out and play Angry Birds until I feel like I can breathe again.  I have no idea what a Roth IRA actually is.  I also don’t have my driver’s license which I partially blame on this. I do know how to drive and have perpetually gotten my permit for years but plan to get my license this year.

Q&A, Part One:

  • If you had a superpower, what would it be? I would love to be able to transport myself and others anywhere. For the Potterheads, apparition would be my desired superpower. With my family being half way across the country and most of my best friends scattered across the Earth in all directions, I would love to be able to snap and appear wherever I needed to be.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? (I know we’re all just really big kids.) I would love to be a novelist. I’m working on it but I’m not sure I will ever get there.  I would also love to be a photojournalist for National Geographic but that seems highly unlikely at this point.
  • What fictional character would you choose as a best friend? Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes. Every boy and girl needs a trusty tiger at their side for the purpose of mischief and companionship.
  • Who is your greatest inspiration? This is impossible for me. I’m inspired by people every single day. I’m inspired by my daughter’s openness, my husband’s fondness for life, my father’s honesty, my mother’s tenacity, and my brother’s courage. There are so many people in my life and in this world that remind me why we are all here.
  • What movie would you want to live in for a day? Star Wars. I’m pretty sure I would be able to harness the force if given a proper opportunity to do so. Also, I want to cut pizza with a lightsaber.
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I would like to retire in Paris, France. I have started to learn French but I sound like I have 15 plus marbles in my mouth.
  • How are your New Year’s resolutions going? I didn’t make any this year so I guess they are going well.
  • Which holiday is your favorite? Christmas, hands down. I start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and celebrate all 12 days plus some.
  • What’s your biggest fear? The life unlived. I’m scared I’ll be lucky enough to grow old and realize I have wasted that time being mundane and self-absorbed. I want to travel. I want to help people. I want to use my time for worthy causes and projects that open minds.
  • What animal would be your spirit animal? My spirit animal is a fox, inspired by the fox in The Little Prince. I have a fox that my father painted tattooed on my right shoulder. I’ll have to get Le Hubs to take a good picture of him. I’ve named him Felix.
  • Why did you start blogging? I’ve been blogging since DeadJournal was a thing and at that time, I started because it was a way to vent my angsty teenage frustrations and communicate with my friends.

Q&A, Part Two:

  • How long have you been blogging? I started by first blog in 2003 and started Deleting the Adjectives in 2009.
  • What is your favorite thing to write about? Probably my daughter and my experiences navigating the various stages of motherhood as they happen. Being a mom has been a strange gift for me. I was nowhere near ready for her when she came. I was terrified and to be honest, I still am. Everyday is new and different, but also precious and frustrating and amazing and exhausting. I think parents, especially moms, are quick to talk about how amazing being a parent is, but often have a hard time sharing how easy it is to find yourself lost, lonely and confused.  I enjoy sharing my honest perspectives on parenting because I think authenticity breeds honest conversations, healing, camaraderie, openness and solutions
  • What is your favorite blog? Strangely enough, I am obsessed with Apartment Therapy even though my house is often a train wreck.
  • What is one piece of advice you would share with a brand new blogger? Worry about your content before you worry about your numbers. If you write good, honest content, people will find it and they will come. And then they will come back. Numbers are great, but a dedicated audience is better.
  • Do you have any blogger inspirations? Not really. I want this blog to be its own animal and let it become what it’s meant to be.
  • What is your favorite memory? Wow, this is a hard question. I’m blessed to have so many favorite moments but the time my dad and I went to the beach to catch Lake Michigan in a jar is one of my top favorites.
  • If you could go anywhere, where would you go? If I could go anywhere, I would go to Hogwarts. If I could go anywhere proven to actually exist, I would go to space.
  • What is your favorite app/website? My favorite app is Instagram and my favorite website is probably PostSecret or CreativeLive
  • If you could be anything, what would it be?  Taller.
  • What’s one life lesson you’d like to share? Nothing stays. Life is everything but consistent. Bad times don’t come to stay and nothing amazing can be sustained forever. Enjoy what you have, when you have it. Tell people you love them. Don’t be petty. And if youes are going through a rough patch, look for open doors.
  • What are some of your guilty pleasures?  Hmm, I have very little shame which I’m told is  a bad thing, but most people would probably consider the following guilty pleasures: day drinking, country music including Taylor Swift, Diet Coke, 90′s romantic comedy, Rice a Roni, Twitter. This list could go on forever.

My Nominations:

Question for my faves!

  • Let’s hear your elevator pitch. Who are you and what do you blog about?
  • What inspires you?
  • Where are you from and what are your favorite things about that place?
  • What is your biggest indulgence?
  • What are your thoughts on soul mates?
  • What music do you have on repeat lately?
  • Do you believe time travel is possible? If it is, where would you go?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest achievement thus far?
  • Who or what will you be in your next lifetime?
  • What blogs do you recommend?
  • Where are you going?

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