Slice of Life #31

Today Dublin and I hiked 3 miles through a local county park known as the jewel of the park system.  It’s hidden away and I had never heard of it until I started googling canine-friendly hiking in the area.  The park supposedly had some of the best trails in the state.  Well, I can now attest to that!  We hiked for almost two hours and over 3 miles.

This is a gorgeous park with a lot of trails.  We hiked through the glen forest, wetlands, meadows, and Dublin even got to swim in the small pond!  He spent 20 minutes leaping through the water and trying to figure out how to get to geese who were very mean and just paddled around the middle of the pond, honking loudly!

By the end our hike, Dublin was finally exhausted.  He was dragging and even spent some time laying in the farm field, pulling at the grass.  After being cooped up for days on end due to the rain, it was great to be able to get outside and spend some time in the fresh air.  It was even better to tire Dublin out!

What was not as fun was the bath I had to give him when we got home.  As you can see in the picture, he was covered in mud, from head to toe.  He doesn’t exactly love baths, so it is always an adventure when we come home from our hikes!


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson’s debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, is a book to be savored. I found myself not wanting to turn the page because I wanted to revel in the beauty on each page. Jandy Nelson is an author to watch and I would be shocked if The Sky Is Everywhere isn’t nominated for the Morris Award this year.

Lennie (short for Lennon) is floating in a sea of loss after her older sister, Bailey, suddenly dies. Lennie has always been the companion pony to her sister’s racehorse and doesn’t know how to move on without her. Her upbringing has been a little unconventional- mom abandoned Lennie and Bailey when they were kids and they have been raised by an eccentric grandmother and pot-smoking uncle. But with vivacious Bailey gone, the family is struggling. Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend, has been coming around more often and he seems to be the only one who really understands what Lennie is going through. But when she starts getting a little too close to him, she freezes. And then there is the new boy in town, Joe Fontaine. Joe is smitten with Lennie and forces her out of the shadows.

The premise may seem quaint- sister loses sibling, is forced out of the shadows, learns to love herself- the writing is anything but. One way Lennie deals with her grief is by writing snippets of poetry on scraps of paper and leaving them all over town. These poems are spread throughout the book and give insight into Lennie that no prose could do. And the prose itself is stunning. Nelson has taken a book about grief and made it so much more- the heartache is real and so is the joy. I can’t wait to see what Nelson does next.

I would recommend The Sky Is Everywhere highly to fans of Sarah Dessen, but also to those who love words and writing. This is a stunning debut novel and the writing will hook even the most reluctant readers.

*ARC courtesy of the publisher

Slice of Life #30

It’s been raining here for days.  It’s grey, wet, muddy, and just damp.  I put on my raincoat, my best investment this year, and called Dublin over.  Taking him out to the bathroom is an ordeal in the rain because I have to get myself into all my rain gear.  First comes the aforementioned North Face raincoat.  Coat zipped and hood up.

Next come the galoshes.  Actually, before the galoshes I have to put on my boot socks.  Then, my coat only reaches to right above my knees and the polka-dot galoshes come to right below my knee.  This leaves a few inches of my pants exposed to the weather, so they end up soaking wet.  But finally, I am prepared to go outside.  It doesn’t take much time for Dublin to get ready.  He sits at the door, tail wagging, as I get dressed.

Stepping outside, I pull the raincoat tighter around my body, hoping to block out some of the driving rain.  My boots squelch in the mud, puddles rising above my toes.  When will we see the sun again?

Slice of Life #29

Today I did absolutely nothing and it was glorious.  Dublin and I spent the day cuddled up together on the couch, avoiding the torrential downpour occurring outside.  As e.e. cummings said, “the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful”.  I had absolutely nothing on my to-do list.  I read, watched daytime TV, and just relaxed.

I did spend about two hours on the phone with Bosch, manufacturer of my brand-new dishwasher.  When it was delivered at the beginning of February, it was broken.  It has been broken ever since.  I have been going in circles with Bosch and their local repair shops, with no progress getting made.  But after today’s endless phone calls, we have finally made some progress.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have the new motherboard installed and I will finally have a fully-functioning dishwasher again.  Because of my day off, I actually had time to make phone calls during the day and take care of the situation.

Slice of Life #28

Today’s plan was to head up to East Brunswick to visit the K&G Men’s Superstore so that Chris could look at suits for the wedding.   Here is how our drive went:

1. Head down the backroads, figuring we would avoid the traffic on the highway.

2.  Hit traffic at a complete standstill.  Due to the rain, the racetrack was letting out early and hundreds of cars were dumping out onto the road.

3.Make a quick u-turn head towards the highway,

4. Halfway there, hit traffic again.  This time, backed up at least 1.5 miles before the ramp onto the highway.

5. Make a quick turn, cut through a neighborhood, and try a 3rd route.

6. Hit a little traffic, but nothing bad.

7. Make it to the highway and shoot up to the town where K&G is located.

8. More traffic.  We manage to get to the side of the road where K&G is located.

9. Pull into the parking lot.

10. Realize that the building is empty.  K&G is gone.  Apparently, they went out of business.

Definitely a wasted trip!

Slice of Life #27

This morning Dublin graduated from his intermediate obedience class.  The last class is a review before the certificates are handed out and we torture the dogs by putting mortarboards on them and taking pictures.  After everyone came to class, we moved out of the ring and to the back of the store, where distractions were aplenty.  All of the owners grumbled good-naturedly, complaining that there was no way any of the dogs would be able to work that way.

We began with a few basic commands, like sit-and-stay with distance and duration.  Dublin did pretty good, only breaking and getting up when things got really exciting.  Next was down-and-stay with distance and duration.

Chris took the reins this time.

“Down, Dublin,” he commanded while holding a treat in his hand.  Around us, dogs were laying down and calmly looking at their owners.

Dublin sat and stared at us.  Making no move to lie down.

“Dublin. Down.” Chris commanded a little louder.

Still nothing.

This continued for almost a minute.  Dublin looked around, looked at us, and did everything but lay down.  The instructor and our groupmates couldn’t help but laugh.  He was like a petulant child refusing to do what his parents said!

Thankfully, that was the only command he refused to participate in.  I told him if he didn’t shape up he was going to be left back!

Slice of Life #26

Today is a glorious day.  Absolutely wonderful.  Amazing.  Spectacular.

Why, you may ask?

It’s the first night of spring break!  Today was last day of school before our break and it could not have come at a better time.  It’s been a stressful few weeks at school and it feels like winter break was ages ago.  I am so tired of hearing about the budget, and the possibility that I could get RIFed, and politics.  It’s just too much.

Apparently, the students had enough, too.  As the final seconds ticked away before first dismissal was called, their volume rose, getting louder and louder.  Their excitement was palpable.  (To be honest, so was the teachers’!)  Once the principal made the call for dismissal, some of the students in my homeroom actually started pumping their fists!  Come on, we are in NJ.  😉  As I watched them speedwalk down the hall, calling out excited goodbyes, I flipped off my lights, grabbed my teacher bag, and took off.  The day break starts it is like a mass exodus from the building as soon as the final bell tolls.  Today was no different.  I was outside and in my car one minute after contract time ended.

I am looking forward to reading, hanging out with Dublin, baking, and trying some new recipes.  I also hope to get a haircut and visit my grandmother.  Thank heavens for spring break!

Slice of Life #25

Today is my father’s birthday.  He and I have spent years trying to research our family history, but we always hit a dead end with my great-grandmother.  We know she ran away from home as a teenager, after her widowed father remarried.  We think she may have used a false name on the ship manifest when she came over.  She’s a mystery.

On a whim, I decided to check out the Irish National Archives today.  I hadn’t check in a few months because it was taking almost a year to get the 1911 census online.  My great-grandmother was born in 1909, and all the censuses before that were lost in a fire.  Only 1901 survived and it hasn’t been transcribed yet.

Well, imagine my surprise when I typed in my great-grandmother’s name and her family’s census return popped up!  We now know her parents’ names and her siblings’ names!  Needless to say, I have been researching on ever since.  I am so excited!  Isn’t genealogy awesome?

Slice of Life #24

Tonight I booked our honeymoon!  I’ve been putting it off for a few days because of all the uncertainty at work.  But tonight I decided to bite the bullet.   I need an amazing vacation to look forward to!

In 135 days Chris and I will set sail on the brand-new Norwegian Epic for a seven day cruise around the Western Caribbean!  I can not wait!  We will leave out of Miami and visit Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Honduras.  It is going to be amazing!  (And totally worthy of all the exclamation points I am using in this slice of life).  Now I get to spend the next four months deciding what shore excursions we are going to take.  Yay!

And the ship itself is unreal.  There is an aqua park, spa, multiple freestyle dining options, we have a balcony room, and the entertainment options are unreal.  August cant come soon enough!

Slice of Life #23

One of my favorite TV shows is LOST.  I look forward to it every week and today was no exception.  It’s been a rough few days at work but I was thrilled when I read that tonight’s episode would be six minutes longer than usual.  Six minutes doesn’t sound that long, but in LOST it could mean the answer to a question that has been haunting viewers since season 1.

At 9pm, Chris and I put Dublin in his crate to sleep so that we could watch LOST undisturbed.  LOST takes our full concentration because there is so much going on in each scene.  Each episodecuses on the story of one character and tonight they gave us the background on one of the most fascinating characters- Richard Alpert.

For an hour and six minutes, Chris and I sat at rapt attention.  There were a few answers!  And of course even more new questions arose.  But for those 67 minutes absolutely nothing else was on my mind.  That’s the power of a great story.  And there are only 7 new episodes left until the series finale!