travellers must be content

Since we traded my sweet BigLaw income for a sweet SmallTown lifestyle, I've been dabbling a bit with couponing. Yes, couponing. It never made much sense to me--such a hassle to save 50 cents--and even now with my altered economic landscape that seems like a paltry payoff. But what I had not realized is that there are various strategies that have to be followed that will multiply those 50 cent coupons to a more meaningful amount of savings. So I'm trying it. I even walked around Costco yesterday with my little pricebook, scribbling down the prices of everything I regularly purchase.

But here's the frustrating thing. Couponing really does not lend itself to a nutritious, whole-food lifestyle. When's the last time you saw a coupon for produce? I can think of one. I got a free pound of baby carrots recently. And a free bag of cookies with the same purchase. Really effective coupon shopping requires buying a lot of processed foods, which is not how I like to feed my family. Further evidence that the obesity war is not being fought on a level battlefield.

Those free cookies would have wreaked havoc on my calorie-counting regime this week if I hadn't finally gotten with the program on my long-laid plans to exercise regularly "now that I have time." Yesterday I even went for a 90-minute, mostly uphill hike. Albeit by accident. I set out to do a half-mile loop that is the only trail in the Olympic National Park where dogs are allowed (Peabody Creek), and I somehow got a couple miles up the trail to Hurricane Ridge before I realized that something had gone awry. Perhaps it is a good thing that the dog ban has kept me from doing more hiking.

Fortunately, my balcony offers views like this, no hiking boots (or compass) required:


Ay, kennel, puddle, sink

My dog is driving me crazy at the moment. She will not stop whining and scratching at the glass patio door no matter how many times I tell her that she cannot come in until she is dry. It makes me glad that Nugget is old enough to understand explanations. It hasn't been that long, but I'd already forgotten the daily frustration that goes hand in hand with the cuddly sweetness of babyhood.

The fact that Kiara--the dog (and no, I didn't name her, my Irish-name-obsessed sister did, but it's better than Lelu, which is what her previous family called her. She no longer answers to it. And who could blame her? They were the second family to abandon her before she was a year old. I'd want to forget everything about her life before me too.)--is soaking wet is completely her own fault, and I warned her it would happen, but "I told you so" is not that satisfactory when you say it to a dog. Who turns her head and cocks an ear and then barks again to be let in.

We went for a walk/run on the beach (most of the running was her, but I did run enough to get my heart rate up, which is something, for someone who abandoned her nascent soccer career after one day of practice freshman year of high school because there was too much running) and she insisted on going in the water. I managed to keep her from going in past her knees (which she wanted to do because there was kelp floating out there and she just had to know what it was), and she might have escaped without the full-body bath under a freezing cold hose when we got home if it weren't for this:
The standing water along the path to the beach was so thick with algae that it looked like solid ground. Appealing, right? I'm literally steps from the car and I look back to see where Kiara is, and she is actually going into that algae water. I could not believe it. What goes through that dog's head? I briefly considered making her run alongside the car rather than let her in the car with stinky algae-water dripping from her fur and stinky-algae-mud on her paws. And then I remembered that the back of my car is already covered in sand and dog hair and dried dog drool. Not to mention the toddler crumbs all over the middle seat. Plus the sunscreen that I was wearing on the way to the beach on Sunday, which got all over the front seat and, inexplicably, all over the outside of the car as well. So I loaded Kiara in and reflected that there is something to be said for a dirty car.

The other day when I took Kiara to the vet they told me that there are two boxers up for adoption at the humane society right now. "My husband would kill me," I replied. I went home and told him about it and he said, "No I wouldn't. You can adopt them if you want." My mouth hung open a little, and I wondered whether Trent had forgotten the regularity with which my separation-anxiety-riddled Kiara pees in the house when she's left alone. "You'd just have to move out," he continued. Oh. I guess I'll pass.


Yet, countrymen, O!

Sign outside the local hardware store: "Closed today for Jimmie Bob's funeral." That's a close second for "most obvious sign I'm not in Chicago anymore," right after this front-page headline in our local paper: "Duckling Shot with Blow Gun Recovering" (and the update a few days later, also on the front page: "Injured Duckling Returns Home to Mama"). I love living in a small town. It's especially comforting right now, knowing that if the morons* in Congress send us into default I'll be able to raise chickens in the backyard.

*We need to be fiscally responsible, let's start by not paying our bills ... GOD BLESS AMERICA.