Adventures with a creamsicle cat

I’m sharing more stories about Gizmo (for those that don’t know, we helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge last week — read more about him here).

As I was sorting through photos and trying to choose them for the post above, there were so many that told stories.

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Giz enjoying some spring weather too from the safety of his kennel . . . 

Gizmo enjoying some time outside safely
This photo above doesn’t really tell a story, but it was in my last TOLT post. OTOH, it’s Gizmo in his outdoor kennel. Back when the boys were tiny little kittens, we decided we would build them a kennel outside that they could access via a cat flap in the house. It started out somewhat small, and it grew . . . and it grew . . . and it grew . . . and furntirure moved in . . . and it moved with us from TX to NY.

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The kennel in TX

The boys just loved this kennel. So did my elderly cat, Puss. Simba was in it on his last day on earth — Gizmo hadn’t gone into it in the last several weeks, though. In the photo at the top I am sitting on the bench next to Giz.

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Fresh air. Sunshine. Little critters. What more could a cat want?

My first two cats were strictly indoors. I wanted the boys to be able to enjoy fresh air . . . safely. There was a price, though — the critters they caught & brought in! They were mighty hunters.

Which leads me to one our most told stories about the boys: the time when I came home to find them staring intently at my treadmill. The space between it and the wall. I took a look, and I thought I saw one of their little furry balls. And then it moved.

Too big to be a mouse, I thought ewww! It’s a rat. Eventually they lost interest and wandered away. A few hours later, though, when Mr. Judy got home, they were back at it. And then we heard squeaking.

We managed to get the 3 cats (Puss was still alive) into separate rooms, and then we lifted  the treadmill. And it went from ewww, a rat, to awww! a baby bunny!

We eventually managed to get it, and Mr. Judy was concerned that it couldn’t fend for itself — so he put it out in my garden! The next morning there was no bunny, so I’ve always assumed somehow it’s mama found it. I just believe that it survived — poor thing had quite the adventure to tell!

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Cats’ agility is amazing thing to watch

How’d he do that?
I never tired of marveling at the acrobatic capabilities of the boys. I mean, I knew he jumped onto that little corner shelf, then jumped from there into the window — but how? They used to jump from the floor onto the top of our 6 foot entertainment center, too. Gizmo used to give me heart attacks jumping from our top floor here straight down to the bottom floor!

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Gizmo supervising my painting

Eventually Mr. Judy built this shelf for that back window and a ramp up to it. We don’t have windows like that here in NY, but we do have a big bay window in our living room and the boys spent many hours snoozing in beds there.

I remember the one time a tornado actually got quite close to us in TX . . . I was able to easily get Gizmo in the bathroom, but Simba was just sitting on that shelf staring out at the storm; eventually I got him, too, and we rode it out in our bathroom. It wasn’t a big one, but it did get somewhat close.

Puss was still alive and I wasn’t able to find her. After we got out, I found her behind the dresser in our bedroom — against an inside wall. I had no idea she could squeeze back there, but she was a smart cat — that was a good place to ride out the storm!

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Literally bouncing off walls

Speaking of acrobatics . . . 
We used to throw balls up against the quilt for the boys to catch.

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Training is fun

Who says you can’t train cats?
Before we ever had dogs, we trained the boys to sit up, lay down, high five, jump over a hurdle and jump through hoops. They loved it. They got so excited when the clicker came out — the dogs did, too — except Bandit. He’s afraid of the clicker. Not the vacuum cleaner, but the clicker. Weird dog.

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Jumping hurdles. Lola used to love this, too (we did agility with her when she was younger, just for fun)
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C’mon Simba, it’s fun in here!

Double Trouble
I remember the time that one of them got into the wastebasket . . . I fished him out, only to turn around and see the other one get in. This went on for quite some time. I’m sure they were laughing at us. I’d had two cats before, but this was the first time I’d had littermates — they were so much fun.

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We want to choose our own toys!

And so much trouble! Into everything! We actually had to put child locks on the drawers in our kitchen in TX because they figured out how to open them. In better days, every time I opened that pantry door (where the treats were), Gizmo would come running.

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Looking for trouble

This photo reminds me of the time the boys got out. Our windows were low to the floor in TX. They had solar screens on the outside, and we had some bars we’d prop up in the open window so we could get some air and keep the boys safe . . . or so we thought.

One day, when I was sick, I heard that yowling you only hear from cats when they see another cat. I got up to investigate, and they’d gotten the bars down, popped open the screen, and both of them were outside — as was some stray cat.

Gizmo always listened. I told him to get back inside and he just hopped right back in. Simba, OTOH, took off after the cat, who made a beeline for our neighbor’s yard. The one with the Chow Chow behind the fence, with Simba in hot pursuit.

Thankfully Simba had the good sense not to jump the fence, but he sure didn’t want to come back inside, either. I had to go in, get a crate, and eventually I was able to lure him into it and get him back inside. That training really comes in handy at the darndest times!

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Have you ever tried to train a cat?

Every had littermates?

What would you tell me about your furkid?

 

To everything there is a season: TOLT

I’m  Thinking Out Loud , randomly, in no particular order: things ending, another movie, sleeping patterns, and running with dogs. Because that’s my life! Well, running with a dog, anyway.

Expect troubles as an inevitable part of life, and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass.
— Anne Landers

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Have I got a house for you . . .

This too shall pass
One of my mom’s favorite sayings. Of course, while something hard is happening, it seems like it will never pass. Every time this past year I thought my life was getting back to normal, something else happened.

Everything has a beginning and an end, and I am happy to report that my parents’ home, my childhood home, is now listed. Just in case you’d like to move into a relatively large home right behind Vassar College, you can look at it here. Feel free to pass along the link to anyone that might be interested. It cleaned up pretty well.

I still remember our very first meal in that house — pizza, I think, sitting on the kitchen floor of the empty house my parents had just bought, partially so that my sister and I no longer had to share a bedroom — I was 9, she was 16.

Go see Boston: The Documentary
If you have the chance to rent it, or it’s re-released again at some point, it’s well worth it. I never go to evening movies. Heck, I can fall asleep watching tv at night at home. Despite it being way past my bedtime, I didn’t nod off at all.

I also don’t remember ever hearing Matt Damon (who is supposed to narrate it) at all.

But did I sleep in the next day?
Nope. And that’s my problem — I don’t usually sleep any later even if I go to bed later. I do occasionally sleep later when we’re on vacation (no animals to take care of, no pressing matters on my mind) — but even that is rare.

People (and by people I mainly mean my family, who all seem to be night owls) give me a hard time about going to bed early all the time. Mr. Judy and I can go to sleep at the same time (like Tuesday night), but I’ll be out of bed at least an hour before he is.

My FIL used to go to bed even earlier. No one gave him a hard time. I think there’s a double standard there.

uvmraffle

Come run Utah with me
We’re a month away from the Utah Valley Marathon (or half, or 10k) and code crj15 still gets you 15% off of your registration.

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.
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They look a bit worried

Bandit update
I find the dogs together more and more these days. Not all the time, but definitely more frequently.

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Time sharing the bed
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Just chilling

We also took our first run with the Tuff Mutt Hands Free Leash (Amazon affiliate link) yesterday. It’s still easier to run solo, I have to admit, but I do think this will be a game changer. Holding the leash while running with Bandit might be the culprit in some hip pain — we’ll see.

In fact, I often wondered how people who have lost a limb run without pain — or do they just accept it will always be painful?  I’m guessing they do. And it’s pretty amazing to me that they still do just do it.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Do you feel any attachment to your childhood home?

Successful running with a dog (and what tools do you need)?

Have you thought about how it must feel to run with a disability?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Chocolate makes everything better: TOLT

I’m apparently still Thinking Out Loud about getting outside your comfort zone. I guess my trail race has that weighing heavy on my mind!

No matter what happens, chocolate makes everything better, right?

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Getting comfortable being uncomfortable
That was something mentioned in one of the AMR podcasts I listened to on my last trip. I still have problems with that, I admit (in fact, I might just runfess it tomorrow).

Sometimes I can push myself outside of my comfort zone, and sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes it ends well, and sometimes it doesn’t.

I see, though, how easy it is to get stuck in life. So I’ll keep trying. Sometimes I won’t be able to unstick myself, I know, but I hope that I never stop trying.

Just how do you dry out the bladder?
From a hydration vest, that is. No matter what I do, it seems, there is always some water stuck in the bottom. I’m worried that TSA will take it away from me!

I considered abandoning run/walk
For the trail race, that is. Because if the hills are really steep, I will add in extra walking. On my next to last long run I found myself pondering it. Just run until I can’t? Walk the hills and then just run?

Then I realized I’d done all my training using my run/walk intervals. And as I wrote about on Sunday here, that’s what training is: practicing what you’ll do in your race.

So I guess I will stick to my run/walk intervals. And if the hills are really steep (or the trails more technical than advertised), I’ll just walk where need be.

I experimented on my last long run — skipping walking intervals when the trail was fairly flat. It seemed to slow me down, actually. I’ll let you know what happens during the race. It’s still going to be a play it by ear sort of race.

Which hydration vest?
I’m pretty sure I’ve actually made my decision, and I think I’ll be taking the Camelbak with me (thank you, Mr. Judy), providing I can actually dry the thing out in the next couple of days..

My cheap one actually feels a lot lighter, despite holding the same amount of water, and I like that it has an on & off lever. But the Camelbak doesn’t bounce around as much, due to the chest strap, I believe, and that makes it less annoying. Plus the cheaper one seems to chafe my neck a little — the farthest I ran with it was 10 miles. Hoping for no neck chafing!

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Do I dare get them muddy?

Which pretty clothes should I wear?
There is the usual debate on just what the heck to wear. Will it rain, or won’t it? I’m assuming it’s fairly shady, and therefore cooler than actual forecast temps — but I don’t know.

What I do know is that’s there is a very good chance that whatever I wear will end up getting muddy. The race is called Mud & Chocolate, after all.

While it’s possible I’ll wear a skirt, I’m leaning towards capris. So there are my black capris from Athleta or my capris from Skirtsports above. I’ve tested both out on long runs. Both of them have two front pockets and a zippered pocket in the back. I’m leaning towards the Athleta capris, just because they’re not my pretty Skirtsports capris (although I do like both).

And if you want to try out Pocketopia — which I highly recommend (or almost any Skirtsports products) for 20% use code SPRINGCPT20.

uvmraffle

Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.
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Giz enjoying some spring weather too . . .  

Bandit update
I do believe he’s back to normal as far as the crate and mornings go.

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. . . and Bandit

Did I tell you about the pug? I don’t think so. So one of my neighbors is pet sitting an elderly pug; she’s about Lola’s age. The first time everyone met nothing too surprising happened, but Bandit seemed very interested in her and there was a lot of tail wagging, but no unusual behavior.

The next time we saw her, he went ballistic — but not in an I-want-to-eat-you way but more a I-love-you-and-need-to-play-with-you way.

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What’s wrong with Lola as a playmate?

He rarely plays with Lola more than a couple of seconds, despite her best efforts. Which is really sad, considering how much she loves to play, and she has been stuck with dogs twice who just aren’t that into her.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Do muddy running clothes clean up easily?

If you have multiple furkids, do they play well together?

Do you like pushing outside your comfort zone?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Just Do It: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud about how everyone fears the unknown, a few thoughts on what a runner’s body looks like, the mysterious workings of the canine mind, and matzo brei.

Bring on the matzo brei!

You must do the things you think you cannot do.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Are you clinging to preconceived notions?
I let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, about running a trail half marathon. In just a couple of weeks. Gulp!

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t scare me at all. It does. What surprised me the most? The number of runners who said they could never do that because they were afraid of falling.

Sure, it’s a legitimate fear. But can’t you fall on the road? It hasn’t happened to me often, but it happens, and let me tell you, the road is a far more unforgiving surface than a trail.

I could injure myself in this race, yes. I could hate every minute of it. But what if I don’t? What if I listened to all the people over the years that have assured me that running will ruin my knees?

The assumptions people make
So an older woman who doesn’t have what looks like a runner’s body walks into a running shoe store . . . yup, that was me this week. And the salesperson just assumed that I wasn’t a runner or was a new runner.

What does a runner’s body look like? I think when we think running, we think Meb. We think Deena. The naturally thin runners with few curves, often on the shorter side.

All it takes is one visit to a race to know that runners come in all sizes and shapes. And why is it that every time they measure my foot they tell me I wear a size 8? That’s correct in regular shoes, but in running shoes, I wear a size 9 — depending on the shoe, of course — and I so far (knock on wood) have all my toenails to prove that that’s the right size for me.

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This will fuel this weekend’s long run

Looking forward to my matzo brei
In case you missed it, it’s Passover. The biggest complaint I hear about Passover is that matzo makes you constipated. There are matzo recipes for just about anything: granola, lasagna, grilled cheese (that could make a good post-long run meal, maybe).

So how do I avoid being stopped up during Passover? Just as I don’t eat a whole lot of bread normally, I don’t eat a whole lot of matzo, either. When you just concentrate on mostly whole, unprocessed foods (and don’t worry too much about the many dietary restrictions observant Jews do), it’s really not that bad.

I do miss my popcorn, although even that is something I only eat occasionally.

My favorite thing about Passover is Matzo Brei. Matzo brei is essentially french toast made with crumbled matzo; I like mine with just salt, no maple syrup or jam — jam is the traditional way. Which is kind of odd, when you come to think of it, since I prefer sweet to savory breakfasts.

I could eat that every dang morning. Maybe then I’d know what everyone is talking about. Unfortunately I like me a big plate of matzo brei. If I ate that every morning, I’d be packing on the pounds.

Matzo brei is how I fuel my long runs during Passover and I can’t wait til Sunday!

Don’t you hate when that happens?
There I am, finally with a little time to meal prep. I’m making myself a nice salad that requites a fair amount of chopping. And I’m chopping up some red onions. And realizing I haven’t put my contacts in yet. This is gonna be painful (enough time passed so that it wasn’t, thankfully).

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Oh no you didn’t! Why do I bother making the bed at all?

Or how about as I’m finishing up my salad, I look outside, see that it’s drying up from our rain this morning, and realizing Lola hasn’t been out in hours (she hates the rain).

So I go get her, and Bandit, let them out . . . and of course it has started to rain again.

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I remember when that maple was a sapling

Looking forward to getting my life back . . . maybe
I am still not sure whether or not I will need to work on my parents’ house this weekend, and we still actually have a piece of furniture we want to take back from it at some point, but soon, anyway, I will not have to be spending a part of every weekend down there.

It seems for a couple of years, every time I thought my life would get back to normal, something else happened to disrupt it. Like Bandit refusing to get in his crate; in the scheme of things, that is small potatoes but right now it’s just adding on to the extra work in my life.

I have a feeling that it’s going to be a while before I actually enjoy a long stretch of normalness.

uvmraffle

Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.
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Seriously, Dude,Whassup?

Bandit update
I do not know what’s going on, only that it has me at the end of my rapidly fraying rope, because it’s been a frustrating couple of weeks. Bandit is now refusing to go into his crate in the mornings to eat his breakfast.

I have always fed the dogs in their crates (and that includes Chester). It serves a couple of purposes:

  1. It makes their crate more desirable (or so I thought).
  2. It prevents any fights over food (or a food-seeking cat).

I do not know what started this behavior. He still goes in (at least as of Tuesday) happily when I go out and for dinner. He’s been known to hang out in there while we eat dinner occasionally.

I’ve manged to get him in there with a little luring until yesterday, when he flat out refused. And I lost it, which of course only makes matters worse.

Did something happen to him in his crate while we were away? The pet sitter didn’t mention a problem. Was it the morning that some device (turned out to be the carbon monoxide detector) decided to start chirping just as he was eating breakfast?

All I can say is that it’s beyond frustrating and I am not sure how to get him comfortable in there again, but he needs to be comfortable in there. By the afternoon, yesterday, he was completely back to normal, and going into his crate of his own volition to search for any missing treats.

I took the opportunity to have both dogs come in and out of their crates for treats a few times, and he was happy to do so. He was waiting in his crate for his dinner. It’s only breakfast. It’s beyond bizarre!

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Are you scared of the trails?

What does scare you about running?

What little frustrations drive you bonkers (or are you totally zen)?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

NOLA & Sightseeing: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud about NOLA again, only this time, it’s about the attractions: what we did, not what we ate. Well, sort of; food might be involved in what we did, too. Despite wracking up lots of steps, even before my half, we didn’t do a lot — because of that half marathon. And because this wasn’t our first time to NOLA, either.

There is more to New Orleans than eating & drinking!

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Libby kept us informed, entertained & well fed

Food Tour
Last week I talked about the great time we had with Tastebud Tours and our guide Libby, who is a 10th or so generation NOLA native and has her own tour company, Lucky Bean Tours. So I don’t need to rehash that (but you can read about it here).

If you’re in a new place and you like to eat, I highly recommend a food tour. We’ve done them in Saratoga, NY (close to home); Seattle; NYC; and now NOLA.

You won’t get a sit down meal on a food tour (usually), although you might sit down at several stops — and most of the food might just be a smaller taste — but you won’t walk away hungry, I promise you.

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Stacy educated us about houses

Garden District Walking Tour
I had wanted to tour the Garden District, since we hadn’t gotten out there the last time we were in NOLA. We had hoped to hook up with Libby again, but she ended up canceling her tour, so we went with Legendary Walking Tours and our guide Stacy.

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Close up of the corn husk fence at this house in the Garden District

If you love old buildings, you will probably really enjoy this tour, although you will only see the outside, no insides. Most likely your guide will point out the homes of some of NOLA’s more famous residents, as Stacy did.

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Entrance to Lafayette Cemetery

And then you will end at Lafayette Cemetery — since we hadn’t visited any cemeteries, this was on my to-do list. This bit was interesting; I’d always assumed the vaults were because NOLA is below sea level. Our guide disabused us of this myth.

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We learned the real purpose of the vaults

Turns out, the real purpose of the vaults — at least according to our guide — is basically a way to incinerate the occupants. The vaults basically become crematoriums after the occupants inside go through a NOLA summer.

After the tour we spent some time wandering the shops along Magazine Street.

We took the trolley to get out to the Garden District; this is the only day we rode the trolley, and quite frankly, they need a better system. Our hotel was right by a trolley stop, but often the trolleys were full.

Getting back from the Garden District? That was even worse. We had to wait for quite some time, as most of the trolleys were full (a continuing theme all along the ride); it got to the point that I was seriously considering just walking back. Granted, it was a Friday and it was about the time people got off work. There were no Ubers to be had, either.

If you do ride the trolleys, unless you buy a pass — we didn’t need one for just that one trip — you need exact change, which as of 3/17 was $1.25/ride.

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Near the Riverwalk

Running on the Riverwalk
The first time I visited NOLA, I wasn’t a runner. Since becoming a runner, I have thought many times about how fun it would be to run along the Riverwalk and the Mississippi River.

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Always soothing to be near water

Unfortunately, my reality didn’t match up with my dreams — my advice to you, if you want to do it, is go in the morning. We were there one morning and there were mostly runners, not too many tourists.

I chose to run in the evening . . . it was hot, the Riverwalk is not actually long, and it was very crowded. One of the runners I chatted with after the race told me you can run along the levee there for a long way . . . I didn’t see a way to do that at the time.

Fleur de lis Fountains in the park

 

Louis Armstrong Park
The race started and ended at this park, so naturally I went there the day after my Riverwalk run for an easy run. The park is very pretty, but also very tiny. I ended up looping (again), and running around a lot of parking lots. When I got back to the hotel, Mr. Judy pointed out the path close to the park that goes on a long way.

I wonder how safe that path is, but it would have been nice to know about it before my run. Some runners did confirm that it is, indeed, a nice place to run.

If you check out this park, be warned that it is also where a lot of homeless people sleep. I never felt unsafe, though, as there were a few other runners there and other people around, too.

The Warehouse/Arts District
While I did a little shopping, and bought my bakery treats, we also stumbled across a glassworkng shop: New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio. We had a long chat with one of the workers, who had actually worked at Burlington IBM, as did Mr. Judy — although they weren’t there at the same time.

This looks like it could be a fun diversion, something outside the norm, but they weren’t doing classes while we were there. There is a shop with many beautiful items. I have done printmaking, as my degree is in Printing Management, and had also done a glassblowing class in camp one summer.

What we didn’t do
Because we went to the World War II Museum the first time we visited NOLA, we didn’t go back this trip; I do recommend it. I thought the Audobon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium sounded fun, but we never got there, either. MB @ Tutusandtennies went to a cooking class at Crescent City Cooks; that sounded like a lot of fun, only it was the day after the half and we had to switch hotels and I didn’t want to be rushed (the afternoon class that day was full).

In case you missed it:

uvmraffle

Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.

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When a detector starts chirping . . . velcro dogs


Bandit update
We brought the dogs with us to my parents last weekend. It’s the longest trip they’ve ever shared together in the car; Lola starts getting anxious after about 45 minutes, and Bandit just laid there sleeping as she paced. Lola, BTW, loves the moon roof; it definitely calms her down, and we were able to have it open on the way home.

My parents don’t have a fenced in backyard, and that meant every couple of hours we had to get the dogs from upstairs, take them down the flight of stairs to get out, too, and then walk them.

When we weren’t doing that, we were working on the house, and they were in an upstairs bedroom together. No problems. We also slept in that bedroom, although Bandit was crated as usual; again, no problems.

Even though Lola is not a good traveler in the car, she doesn’t get car sick, and she has been all over New England with us. I could now see traveling with Bandit, too.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

What would you recommend doing in NOLA?

What sort of things do you like to do when you travel to a new place?

What have you wanted to do in your travels, but haven’t done yet?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

NOLA & Food: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud something very simple today: thank God for spandex! Have you ever eaten your way through New Orleans? If you follow me on Instagram (here), you know I sure did last week. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t fit into the only pair of jeans I brought, but spandex is our friend sometimes.

Since I just got back and you never know when you might end up in NOLA, I’m sharing the good eats we found. This will be photo intensive and drool worthy. You’ve been warned!

Food Tour
Food tours never disappoint us. It’s a good way to get your bearings, learn a little bit that you didn’t know, and eat good food. We had a fabulous time with Tastebud Tours and our guide Libby, who is a 10th or so generation NOLA native and has her own tour company, Lucky Bean Tours.

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Brisket Po’Boy

We started with the brisket po’boy at Tujagues, which came with a side of history about how po’boys came to be. It did not disappoint and that horseradish sauce can sure clear your sinuses!

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Gumbo

Next we stopped at The Old Coffeepot. It’s a lovely restaurant and the food was good, but we waited . . . and we waited . . . and we waited. We had gumbo, jambalaya, and calas cakes.

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Calas Cake

I’m glad we got to try the Calas cakes, since I’d never even heard of them. I want to recreate these at home, although interestingly, the recipes I’ve looked up show them as fritters, not the cooked rice cakes we ate, which I really enjoyed.

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Muffulettas — a NOLA must!

I think the Muffulettas were actually the highlight of the tour, although all the food was really good. We ate them out on the riverwalk, which was a nice touch.

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Tea Sampler

While our guide picked up our sandwiches, we got to explore The Spice and Tea Exchange — turns out this is a chain, which I didn’t know at the time. I bought some teas, naturally.

Our final stop was at Lara’s Candies for Pralines tastings; the store offered a 10% discount, and we always like to bring something back for our pet sitters, so we took advantage of the discount. I must have eaten my weight in Pralines while in NOLA — it seemed every store had their version out for tastings. Of course my favorites were the chocolate ones.

And that was just one day!

All.the.carbs
Well, I was there to run a half marathon, after all. I’m not sure that really justified everything I indulged in, but New Orleans sure does have some good food, baby. I think I heard “baby” a lot more than y’all.

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Cafe du Monde Beignets

One day we were both up early so I dragged Mr. Judy over to Cafe du Monde. We had been to NOLA once, pre-Katrina, but it was so that I could attend a conference (as a blogger, but not a running blogger, obviously) — so while we’d eaten at the Cafe Du Monde in the Riverwalk Mall, we’d never eaten at the original location.

I think we got there around 8 am and while they were somewhat busy, we were able to walk in, sit down, and be waited on, rather than having to stand in a crazy stupid line. There was a pleasant breeze coming in off the river and we enjoyed every bite (it’s cash only, by the way, although it’s also quite reasonable).

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Go with the flavored Buttermilk Drops

Mr. Judy had a groupon for Winks Bakery. They didn’t open until 9, and actually, they were having some employee problems, so it was a little later. And it was totally worth it.

Winks is famous for their buttermilk drops. What’s a buttermilk drop, you ask? A big donut hole. That’s what’s in the box. I wasn’t blown away by the original, but the flavored ones? Yeah, baby. That morning the cream puff was calling my name. It was divine, too.

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Carb loading at Big Pie Pizza

Of course I had to carb load for my half, too. I took Tricia’s recommendation and we went to Big Pie Pizza. Even though I’m not really a fan of New York style pizza (despite having been born and lived most of my life in NY), it did not disappoint. We just got a simple cheese pizza and garlic cheese sticks (which have now guided me to 2 PRs — wish that could work every time!).

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Trust me: get the sweet potato fritters

And then there was a lucky find up in the Garden District: The Rum House. We were just walking around in search of a mug for me, when we walked by this restaurant with what looked like amazing food. We walked on by . . . and then came back, and thank God we did, because the food was amazing.

We shared the Sweet Potato Crab fritters and the Jamaican Beef Patties, which were like empanadas. And then I had an amazing sweet potato beet goat cheese salad while Mr. Judy enjoyed one of their tacos.

If you get out to the Garden District, I highly recommend this restaurant!

Apparently Bittersweet Confections was on Cupcake Wars?

 

Our last day in NOLA we walked around the Warehouse district a bit and I made a beeline for Bittersweet Confections. Some woman in front of me nabbed the last Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake. The nerve of her!

I got a cookies & cream cupcake and a chocolate chocolate chip scone. Both were yummy.

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The Ruby Slipper’s take on Migas

There’s more to life than carbs
Another restaurant a couple of people recommended was The Ruby Slipper. So we went for brunch one day. It was a few days before my half, still, and I decided to be slightly virtuous and got Migas. They were good, but not quite like the Migas I was used to in TX. The portion was very generous, though, and I actually ate them for lunch the next day (yes, the day before my half!).

There were so many things to choose from, so many things I wanted to try. It wasn’t an easy decision. I’m not sure Mr. Judy really wants to go back to NOLA, but some day I’d like to!

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Boudin Balls at Sobou

I had wanted to try to eat lunch at Commander’s Palace, but it just didn’t work out. However, walking home one day, I noticed a restaurant named Sobou (a Commander’s Palace restaurant). I looked them up when we got to the hotel, and it got very good reviews. And for good reason.

Tuna Tacos. Delish!

 

I got the Boudin Balls and the Cracklin’ Crusted Yellowfin Tuna Tacos. So good. And then the Chocolate Coma Bar. I mean, seriously — how could I skip that? It was probably the best dessert we had in NOLA, which is saying quite a bit!

Not my best photo, but probably the best dessert — which is saying something!

Go for the race, stay for the food!

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Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.

Bandit update
Well, obviously we didn’t see the furkids last week. Although Bandit’s pet sitter sent us this photo of Bandit — I cropped out the dog he was playing with. Apparently he got along great with a couple of the dogs there. We were joking that we have a gay dog (because he doesn’t play with Lola, who is dying to play with him).

Lola, OTOH, apparently helped herself to some hot dog rolls that were on a counter where she was staying. Thankfully she didn’t actually eat them — or have time enough to eat them, I guess — but she did nest with them.

I think next week I’ll be rounding up some of the stuff we did while in New Orleans.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Do you have a furkid that likes to bring stuff to their bed?

Any great NOLA restaurants to add?

Ever tried a food tour?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Never say never: TOLT

Today I’m Thinking Out Loud about not being jinxed by well wishes for a PR in my upcoming race, and everything race related. Of course. Plus the furkids. Of course.

Trying something different
I’ve pretty much been trying to lose weight for the last 8 years or so. That includes during training for all my halfs. This year is no different. And yes, I’d still love to drop about 5 pounds, but I decided to try something different, at least during the last few weeks.

I didn’t worry as much about what I ate. I’m not saying I went crazy, or didn’t continue to plan my meals, or be mindful of sugar. But I decided this training cycle it was more important to eat some extra carbs and maybe be just a bit heavier. As long as my clothes are comfortable, I’m okay!

And speaking of okay, yes, I’m about 3 pounds heavier than I’d like to be — I know that sounds like nothing, but for a petite girl that can make a big difference in how my clothes fit. So while I’m not saying my clothes are uncomfortable, they are a wee bit tighter than I’d like.

What will my night before race meal be?
Normally I like sushi. But since I was in a group for my last half, pizza and cheese garlic bread it was. And then there was that surprising PR.

Maybe I should go for cheese garlic sticks again? Nothing much better than cheesy garlic bread if you ask me.

Finding the time
I spent just under 6 hours running in my peak week of running, which was actually a total of 29 miles.

So why does it seem like it was all consuming? We have 168 hours in a week, so seriously, 6 hours shouldn’t be a burden. Of course, there’s changing, driving to an area to run in, warming up, foam rolling, showering, eating a recovery snack . . . it’s not really just 6 hours.

Still it seems like it should at least have been about 20 hours!

And then of course there’s the thought that that’s like running a marathon. Only spread out over a week. So no, not so much like running a marathon.

I’ve seen the signs
Everyone keeps telling me on I’m track for a PR. I know that it all comes down to race day; no matter how hard you’ve worked for it, a PR is never a given. I also know I do better if I don’t put that sort of pressure on myself, even if I did tell Rachel @ Runningonhappy that I wanted to work towards a PR.

The main reason I did tell her I wanted to work towards a PR was that the course should be flat and fast and since it’s early spring, there’s hope for favorable weather.

Whatever, I truly intend to enjoy my race (and carry a little extra water in case).

But Thursday, I saw the signs! As I left to go to my chiropractor appointment, I was passed by a Smuttynose truck. I’ve never seen one here. And Smuttynose was my triumphant return to running after a really bad half and intense bout of ITBS.

Then who should I run into while at the chiropractor’s? My running buddy, whom I kept meaning to email (she’s not on social media, dammit), but hadn’t gotten around to. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of months.

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Another timely affirmation

Are these really signs? Who knows, but I’m going to take them as such!

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Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.
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A surprising find

Bandit update
Speaking of things I’ve never seen before . . . the photo above. Oh sure, every once in a while they share a bed. For like 30 seconds.

This time they stayed side by side for a good 10 minutes, while I went downstairs to retrieve the good camera (taking a few shots with my ipod first because I was sure they’d never be together when I came back up).

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Would you rather drop a few pounds to be comfortable or eat all the carbs?

Do you believe in signs? If you do, do you remember the last one you saw?

Got any NOLA restaurant recommendations for me? Or any tips about NOLA?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Loving Lately (1): TOLT

Today for Thinking Out Loud I’m simply going to share with you some of the things I’m loving lately. While this may come off as a sales pitch, it’s not meant to be. I love reading about stuff other people love — and as was the case with Wendy’s recommendation below a few paragraphs, sometimes it’s something I end up loving too!

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Pretty nails without a lot of fuss

Essie Treat, Love & Color Polish
I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now. It’s a lot simpler than regular polish: two coats and you’re done and it kind of looks like your nails are buffed or almost like a french manicure. It’s kind of a translucent, slightly glitterly nail polish (yes, I totally made up glitterly).

It doesn’t dry immediately, but I do it a couple of hours before bed (after changing into my pjs) and it doesn’t smoosh.

It stands up fairly well to a week of housework, too (and I’m not wearing gloves). You can find it here at Target (not an affiliate link).

A weekend at home
Seriously, it’s been so long since I wasn’t driving to my parents on the weekend. Even though this weekend will be super busy getting ready for my racecation, I’m stoked to not have to drive three hours one day.

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No need for a hat, either!

My thermoball
Thanks to Wendy @ Takingthelongwayhome, I bought a North Face Thermoball (Amazon Affiliate link) a couple of years ago. If you run hot, it’s probably not for you, but despite our mild winter (which is kind of hard to type after having 2 feet of snow dumped on you in one day), I have had several occasions to wear my Thermoball this winter.

It’s how I managed a feels like negative numbers 12 mile run last week — Mr. Judy ventured out for a small amount of time to do a chore, and he couldn’t believe I was out there running . . . for hours. Of course, there’s a vast difference between standing out there in that arctic blast and running in it.

I’ve found them at a good price at 6pm.com, too.

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These toasty tights saved my knees!

My toasty tights
These toasty tights are perfect for cold, windy days; they’re from Skirtsports (I’m an ambassador, but I don’t make any money if you purchase through my link). I’m pretty sure they also saved me from a bloody knee when I fell last week — although even they couldn’t save me from a bruise, but really, I’m fine (the bruise I got on my finger on the treadmill yesterday actually hurts more).

These tights are a bit stiffer and more compressive around the middle than the normal Skirtsports tights, but I got them in my regular size (small) and that’s been fine for me. They also have a pocket on each leg, which I love.

They have heavier panels on the areas that tend to take a direct hit from the wind, although I find that sometimes my hamstrings and thighs get pretty cold. And that’s where the toasty cheeks skirt comes in (which is not the skirt pictured above, by the way).

180 Wind Gloves
I don’t feel the need to wear two pairs of gloves with these on, even on the coldest days; and I’ve never felt the need for hand warmers, either. You can find them here (not an affiliate link).

I got them on sale a few years back, and they’ve become my go-to cold weather running gloves.

Trader Joe’s Organic Ginger Turmeric Tea
No caffeine and full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. Does it help with the aches and pains? Who knows. But it’s very soothing. You can also buy it on Amazon here (Affiliate link).

Adding dark chocolate covered crystallized ginger to my overnight oats
One of these days I’m going to write a post on the benefits of ginger. I’ve actually got it started.

I’ve been adding a little ginger to my overnight oats for a long time. It already has some chocolate chips in it (of course). And I have some dark chocolate crystallized ginger on hand. So one day I decided to chop it up and add it also. The chocolate just melts into the overnight oats, making them even more chocolatey (another made up word that should totally be in the dictionary!).

I’m not sure I’ll continue with it, but I’ve done it a couple of times now and I do like it.

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You can still run Utah with me
And maybe meet a few of your favorite bloggers. I don’t have any more entries up for grabs, but code crj15 will get you 15% off your race entry (register here).

Come for the mostly downhill Boston Qualifier course, finish for the 10th anniversary jacket. Don’t forget to let me know if you do register — I’d love to meet you! It’s gonna be a party.

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Bandit doubles as a laptop shelf

No news is good news
Not so much going on in Bandit-world. There’s a chance he could be getting a new furry friend in a month or so. Not a dog. That’s all I’m saying right now.

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Lola mugging for a treat at the vet; notice her underbite

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

What are you loving lately?

What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever put into oats?

What’s your favorite cold weather clothing item?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Putting on your oxygen mask: TOLT

I sit down here at my computer, with no freakin’ clue what I’m going to be Thinking Out Loud about today. A smart blogger would probably just move on to polishing her Friday post, which is about 75% written. I never claimed to be a smart blogger.

My blog is stuck
I would love to grow the blog more, although I won’t be getting up to any shenanigans to do so. I guess I’m just not a shenanigans type of girl.

If someone offers me something to give away — something I like or believe in — I’m all too happy to pass that on to you. But not too many companies will look at a blog my size and offer me stuff. Obviously a few have, and I’ve also reached out on my own.

I won’t be buying you gift cards on my own dime to give away, either. I want to attract people who either get something out of my blog or feel a connection to me. I know I love building connections with other bloggers!

I’m not quite sure why my blog remains where it is. New people stop by. People still follow it. Yet it seems stuck. Maybe it’s because I am usually fairly busy during the day — the time most bloggers are stuck at work (and therefore blogging), or the fact that I’m not a night person, another prime blogging time, or the fact that I’m busy with my furkids and parents (or the fact I write about the furkids and the parents), or even the fact that I’m still self hosted.

Anyone with constructive insights, I’m all ears.

A little spoiler alert
I’ll be writing about this in my weekly wrap, too, but different folks read different posts. Last week the running was so good. Hard, but good. It’s my peak week this week, with my half just two long runs away.

I wouldn’t say I’m struggling, but it definitely started off feeling a lot harder this week. The wind? March is definitely blowing in. I’m so over wind, but wind ain’t done with me. The cumulative time and miles of training hard? Juggling all that training and the demands of everyone else around me?

Don’tcha hate when that happens?
I took out my credit card and put it in a coat pocket after my tempo run on Tuesday. When I got to the store, it wasn’t there. Or anywhere else that I could see (luckily I had more credit cards with me).

I ransacked my bag, my coat, and my car when I got home. Twice. I couldn’t find it. I informed Mr. Judy when he got home, and he had the typical male reaction, to which I naturally reacted with such grownup attitude (not — we all have  our breaking points).

Then he went to look in my car and found it immediately. He thought I’d blow up at him again — I was just super grateful that he found it — I think that is a male vs female thing (in general).

Putting on my oxygen tank
You know what they say about oxygen tanks on planes. I’ve been trying to practice a little more self care lately. It can be hard to squeeze in, but it really is so important.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Try to use my footspa at least once per week (really shooting for twice)
  • Moisturizing my hands more often
  • Trying to use my massage chair a few times a week
  • Meditate daily
  • Do my nails (because pretty nails do make me smile)

Some things take only a couple of minutes; some things about 10-20 minutes. Don’t tell me you’re too busy to take a couple of minutes a day for you. You don’t have to do what I do — do what’s soothing to you.
uvmraffle

You can still run Utah with me
And maybe meet a few of your favorite bloggers. I don’t have any more entries up for grabs, but code crj15 will get you 15% off your race entry (register here).

Come for the mostly downhill Boston Qualifier course, finish for the 10th anniversary jacket. Don’t forget to let me know if you do register — I’d love to meet you! It’s gonna be a party.

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He’s a little camera shy

He loves me, he really loves me
One day Bandit was trying to jump into my lap, and I tried to help him up — the same exact maneuver that got Mr. Judy nipped the day we met Bandit. He didn’t nip me, but he sure let out a yelp and ran away. Later I made sure to pick him up a different way — he’s not super fond of being picked up, but he’s okay once you get him up.

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Look very closely for the Bandit photobomb.He loves hanging out there, looking out the Bay window.

Then during our “adult conversation” on Tuesday, I accidentally stepped on Bandit’s foot. Another yelp. And then he proceeded to climb into my lap when I sat down to check him out and try to lick me. Don’t you just love that about dogs?

Do something to hurt a cat and they’ll run away and hide. Hurt a dog, and they’re likely to try to cuddle up with you (if you have a good, established relationship). Don’t get me wrong, I love both cats and dogs pretty equally — dogs need a purr, for instance.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Cats, dogs, or both?

Is there anywhere in your life you feel stuck right now?

How do you show yourself a little love?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Chagrined Furkids: TOLT

Last week when the weather was so nice, and we actually saw the sun, I took some time and took some photos of all the furkids. Who apparently all looked chagrined — both Lola & Gizmo actually like the camera — a little too much sometimes — but apparently this particular day that’s all I could capture.

Don’t worry, I’m Thinking Out Loud about other things today, like congrats to Amanda on the her cookbook coming out!

My half is a bit more than three weeks away
And yet I have already added the city to my weather app. Not so much to stalk — not yet, anyway — just out of curiosity.

That might not have been the best idea. 86% humidity — and there is still three weeks to go? I told Rachel @ Runningonhappy that I wanted to train for a PR, although I absolutely do not expect one. First off, I know that all the stars have to align for a PR and that doesn’t happen often.

I also know that it can take way more than a couple of months of training. And that I don’t do well in humidity (do I really have to show my ZOOMA Annapolis picture . . . again?

I’m not giving up, though. You never know, there could be a miracle like there was in FL. I’ll continue to train hard and look forward to meeting up with Tricia and Mary Beth again.

I understand the purpose of a tempo run, but . . .
. . . as I was doing it this week, the thought crossed my mind that the real purpose of a tempo run (when you have a coach) is to feel so hard that when race day comes, you are happy to run at an easier pace. If racing can ever feel easier!

An unexpected compliment
There I was, just laying face up on the chiropractor’s table when she asked me if I strength trained in addition to my running. And proceeded to tell me what amazing arms I have. I won’t lie; it totally made my day. I don’t think anyone has ever complimented me on my arms.

I know the muscle is there, but it’s mostly hidden under fat and saggy skin from gaining and losing a fair amount of weight on more than one occasion. So while I know it’s there, I rarely see it when I look at pictures of myself. Especially when I’m standing next to Darlene, who has great arms naturally (and from playing tennis).

You know her from Running with Spoons . . .
. . . and the Thinking Out Loud Thursdays. That would be today, obviously. But if you’re not a regular reader of Running with Spoons, did you know that Amanda has a cookbook out? She does. Flourless bars, muffins, and cookies — get it here (Amazon Affiliate link).

Amanda is such a genius at creating tasty recipes that are healthy, too. I can’t wait to dive into her creations (and no, I did not receive a review copy, womp womp).

uvmraffle

You can still run Utah with me
And maybe meet a few of your favorite bloggers. I don’t have any more entries up for grabs, but code crj15 will get you 15% off your race entry (register here).

Come for the mostly downhill Boston Qualifier course, finish for the 10th anniversary jacket. Don’t forget to let me know if you do register — I’d love to meet you! It’s gonna be a party.

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He has no shame

Bandit, Noooooo!
Actually, this one is kind of humorous. So we let the dogs out, and we’re chatting, and Lola squats to do her business. We were actually discussing the fact that Bandit stalks Lola much when she’s getting ready to pee, just like Chester did. And we were disagreeing (of course) — Mr. Judy saying he wasn’t as bad as Chester, me saying most of the time he is.

And the next thing we know (Bandit has been stalking Lola while we’re discussing this, naturally), Bandit lifts his leg right next to poor Lola and for all the world it looks like he’s peeing on her. And she doesn’t even flinch.

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Apparently neither does she

Apparently he didn’t actually pee on her, but it sure looked like he did!

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I think he was just looking for treats

Bandit is doing pretty well, though, and just the other day I told him when it’s warmer, we’ll take him to Guptils (local ice cream place). The humans were enjoying some Halo Top, which the dogs can’t have because it has sugar alcohols (not good for them; not really great for humans, either, but a little bit occasionally . . . ).

Although we got Bandit last summer, we never took him. Because, you know, we were afraid of him attacking little kids and random strangers.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Do your furkids get ice cream?

What is your favorite hard workout — you know, the one you love to hate?

What body part are you proudest of?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud