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Does Your Corgi Have A Cat?

Gidget the dog and Zion the cat. We didn't put them like this.

Gidget the dog and Zion the cat. We didn’t put them like this.

Because I am blogging everyday for a month (to think I blogged daily for almost three years!), I am going to write about topics that aren’t necessarily all about marketing and websites. And that’s ok with me if it’s ok with you.

You might know from reading this blog or knowing me that I have a dog. I got her two years ago (almost three now). A few things that I knew about her (ie the only things I knew about her at the time):

1) She lived in Savannah Georgia (which explained her reaction to snow the first time).
2) She was about three years old.
3) She should never be in a home with kids or cats.

For awhile, Gidget was content being the only animal in my life. We had a lazy existence with an occasional walk.

When I met Derrick and learned he had a cat, I was nervous. How was this going to go? Would Gidget eat Zion? Would Zion slash Gidget? But most importantly, would this animal dislike be an ongoing source of frustration between Derrick and I?

When Derrick had me over for dinner that first night, I brought Gidget in. After her weirdness with the tile floor (she has a few other quirks the shelter didn’t tell me about), she met the cat. Zion is a 12 pound Maine Coon cat who was formerly living on the mean streets of Northeast Harbor when Derrick met him. Being large and fluffy, he looked about Gidget’s size.  How would this go?

Zion rubbed up on her head and they’ve been best friends ever since.

The two unlikely friends share  Gidget’s dog beds. Zion eats extra messy on his small perch so Gidget can grab a few extra crumbs. They play with each other just about every day.

I was at Jordan’s Restaurant (a local diner) with Alice and Jen telling them about this. Jen knew our waitress, a fellow corgi owner, and told her that I had a corgi mix.

“Does your corgi have a cat?” the waitress asked without even missing a beat. She had not heard the previous conversation.

Apparently, Corgi’s don’t like other dogs much but can bond with cats. Maine Coon cats are similar.

“My friend has four Corgis and every one of them has a cat.” the waitress told us.

“My corgi does have a cat!” I told her proudly.

And so it was settled. All this time, Gidget needed a cat, and Zion needed a dog.

Sometimes I joke with Derrick that I want to start a Corgi and Maine Coon cat rescue where you’d adopt the corresponding partner animal. To be honest, I am only kind of kidding.


My friend Leslie agrees with this cat/dog bonding phenomenon. “My miniature greyhound Bailey loves Zoey, her tiger cat.” Here’s a picture:

Further interspecies bonding!

Further interspecies bonding!


Norway Drive Winter Olympics: Part 2


I made olympic rings out of pipe insulators, spray paint, and electrical tape. Thanks Paradis Hardware for the hookup!

I made olympic rings out of pipe insulators, spray paint, and electrical tape. Thanks Paradis Hardware for the hookup!

In planning a huge event like this, you try to think of the little things. I was obsessed with making a life sized Olympic rings that people could take goofy pictures in front of. Derrick was obsessed with having fireworks. We tried to think not just of the adults but the kids too.

The bulk of the Norway Drive Winter Olympics happened on Saturday starting at 1 pm. We began the day with a snow sculpture contest (with food coloring in spray bottles for additional interest).

The winner was the sea monster:

The winning sculpture and its creators.

The winning sculpture and its creators.

But honestly, I think the taco was pretty awesome:

The snow taco with evergreen bows as its lettuce. Sean is a genius!

The snow taco with evergreen bows as its lettuce. Sean is a genius!

After snow sculptures, we did the luge, which was difficult due to warming conditions but we made the best of it:

My fiance Derrick hitting the luge he's been piling snow for for months.

My fiance Derrick hitting the luge he’s been piling snow for for months.

Moving the party inside, we at some food and held a Pass The Pigs tournament. A small badminton tournament was held as well:

Badminton in the snow? Of course!

Badminton in the snow? Of course!

Alice then cooked us an amazing Armenian dinner and we all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Then the final competition began: the dessert tournament.

The winner decided by popular vote was Hope. And it was even her birthday so the victory was even sweeter.

All the entries in the dessert competition explained their entry before we all dug in and voted.

All the entries in the dessert competition explained their entry before we all dug in and voted. Note Hope is in black wearing a gold medal she won earlier that day. (Happy Birthday Hope!)

The ceremonies closed with some fireworks by pyrotechnic expert Derrick.

Thanks to everyone that came and even before it was over saying they couldn’t wait for next year. This will definitely be a yearly event.

Norway Drive Winter Olympics: Part 1

Me in my toga, awaiting partygoers. I picked the picture where the cat looks most annoyed. Yes, that is real ivy on my head.

Me in my toga, awaiting partygoers. I picked the picture where the cat looks most annoyed. Yes, that is real ivy on my head.

Sometime in the last few years, I told Alice that I’ve always wanted to go to a toga party. Much like a food fight, it’s something I’ve seen in movies but always wondered if it would be cool if it actually happened.

“We should do something in the winter when it’s boring.” Alice said.

“Like a long john toga party!” And the idea was born.

We encouraged our friends to dress up in togas, giving out prizes to the male and female best dressed.

To give the event a bit more clout, and to combine two good ideas into one, we decided the toga party would be an excellent way of having opening ceremonies for a sort of ‘olympics’ we would host.

Since this summer, Derrick and I have talked about having some kind of game day at his house where we set up things like our badminton set and get friends to have fun and be slightly competitive. Since life is slower here in the winter, this seemed like a ‘winter olympics’ kind of thing.

The Olympic Planning Committee set the agenda and a date. These winter games (with a snow and no snow plan) would be an excellent weekend event people could look forward to, whether they were into the party the night before or the day of games and fun the day after… or ideally both.

After the lighting ceremony, we all enjoyed the fire. Great photo by Derrick!

After the lighting ceremony, we all enjoyed the fire. Great photo by Derrick!

We decided to hold a ceremonial torch lighting to ‘open’ the games and light off  a few fireworks this night before to make the toga party not only a fun (and slightly random) event but to give it some importance.

You know you’ve thrown a good theme party when people who *aren’t dressed up feel uncomfortable. And this was one of those cases. Good thing Mike and Lynne, veterans to throwing great parties, brought extra sheets and ivy to dress up everyone.

Here’s a link to the video of the torch lighting to give you an idea of the feel of the toga party: https://vimeo.com/60926465

I’ll post some more pictures of the whole event tomorrow but here are the takeaways:

1) Toga parties are fun. Like in the movies.

2) Have extra toga materials on hand if you want stragglers to participate and feel like part of the group. We will definitely do this.

3) People will eat as much food as you put out. Remember they are there for fun, not to judge your hors d’oeuvres.

4) Tell people the date waaaay in advance. Over and over.

The toga group, good times!

The toga group, good times!

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the games and post some fun pictures. In the meantime, if you were at the Olympics and want to share your photos, request to get added to the official Dropbox folder where you can upload your events and see everyone else’s. Or on social media (all except Facebook), you can tag your photo #ndwo13 and I’ll be able to track it down and put it in the album!

The Girls’ Guide To Hunting And Fishing

girlsguidetohuntingandfishingSo I think it’s really important to read things other than industry books, which is what I’ve believed from the beginning of starting a business and blog. First of all, everyone needs some relaxation time and secondly, looking at sort of ‘non-traditional’ sources can give you ideas, about work or life, you wouldn’t have necessarily had otherwise.

My hands down favorite book ever is The Girls’ Guide To Hunting And Fishing. (I am linking to this terrible review not because I agree with the author but because you can read the whole first chapter with the link on that page.)

I don’t remember where or when I got this book, I think it was in a used book store for a couple dollars the part of one summer that I was a camp counselor with nothing to do except entertain children at odd times and plow through books I found at the used book store in town. Since I read it almost ten years ago, I’ve reread it every year and have even sent it to friends on the fence about their own relationships.

Part of the reason I like it so much is kind of self centered. I have always identified with the main character, Jane. People always tell Jane she’s funny and smart yet she keeps ending up in these relationships that don’t work out. From Jane’s struggles to figure out a career to dealing with a death in her family (I am not going to give too much away here), I feel like we’ve had semi parallel lives, not just with the dating stuff. I appreciate that the writing in this book is not at all self pitying and is actually funny. I have similarly really tried to take the turns in my life from a humorous or at least good natured angle.

The other thing I really like about the book is that it’s effortlessly well written. There is dialogue and descriptions in a nice mix (sometimes too much of either drives me crazy. Yes, I am talking about you Charles Dickens, you over describer!). I like how the different characters we meet in this novel show us some lessons we have to learn over and over, mainly that we can’t change anyone except ourselves. When I set out to write my novel in November, I really wanted whatever I ended up with to be like this book: easy to read, fun, and with some universal truths.

With the internet there are any number of sites that can give me recommendations on the next book to read. Sometimes I listen but mostly, I just reread my favorites.

What book do you reread?

Get your own copy of “The Girls’ Guide To Hunting And Fishing” on Amazon (Note: this is an affiliate link)

4 Hour Chef: My Experiences With Weight Loss

Some would argue I’m not that overweight. I don’t have to go to special stores to buy clothes, I can run a mile (most Americans apparently can’t do this), and I do a lot of my own cooking that many would have perceive as healthy.

4-hour-chef-coverBut as a former athlete, having a BMI that is technically obese has bothered me for awhile.

Go to the gym more, people said. Doing this made me hungrier and didn’t budge the scale nearly enough to keep me motivated. I’ve heard before that you lose pounds in the kitchen and ounces at the gym so I figured once I got an eating plan down, I could add the gym back into my routine for toning purposes. But I needed to feel success first… and have some go-to recipes that I could confidently throw together.

Cutting out sugar and carbs didn’t do it. Gluten free didn’t do it. I realized I had to take drastic measures… but needed some guidance.

I plunked down $30 for Four Hour Chef around Christmas. While I thought it was a bit expensive, I realized what I purchased was an encyclopedia. The pages are so dense with information, I don’t know where else he could have added anything. Well worth the price of admission.

It’s been a solid month since really taking on this latest book by productivity expert Tim Ferris. I’ve read his two other books: The Four Hour Workweek and the The Four Hour Body. In the Four Hour Body book, Tim tackled making your body work better. The chapter on weight loss was popular which is probably why he came out with Four Hour Chef, a cookbook that’s not just supposed to teach you how to lose weight but how to cook well.

This plan in summary:

1) No dairy, fruit, grains, alcohol, sugars, or other things that spike your blood sugar.
2) Eat protein, vegetables, and a few exception things sparingly (like avocados, tomato, dark chocolate, and red wine) only.
3) Eat a protein rich breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up.
4) Pick a cheat day and, after your healthy breakfast, eat whatever you want that day of the week.

How has this affected my life? I now take cinnamon in my coffee not creamer. No more quinoa at dinner or clementines in the office, both options I thought were healthy for me. And no popcorn, which is my absolute favorite snack. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m doing it.

This has involved trying new vegetables (for variety’s sake) and learning more about cooking things like eggs in a more flavorful way. This cashew basil pesto, for example, has rocked my world on chicken and also zucchini: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/03/16/vegan-cashew-basil-pesto/

Cheat days have been epic. Derrick, who has been very supportive in my diet, cheats with me hard on cheat day, which usually involves a pack of Oreos, something I would have never allowed myself before. Do the cheat days slow down my weight loss? Probably. But saying goodbye to popcorn and other things I love indefinitely would be unsustainable and possibly cruel. If cheat days mean I lose the weight slower, I am ok with that. The end result will be the same and I’ll have a lot more fun getting there.

So far I’m down eight pounds with 32 to go. 32? Yes, 32. Trust me when I tell you that I know what healthy looks like for me and I’m going there and no where close to anorexic.

If you are the kind of person who’s tried everything and needs something based in science that works, give this plan a shot. There are lots of people doing it (there are forums and everything) and other than the book, it’s free.

I just feel like I’ve been trying to play by the rules of a game and all this time, I’ve had the wrong rule book. And if even one person feels this way that reads this and gives it a shot, it will have been worth writing this.

Buy your own copy of “The 4-Hour Chef” on Amazon (Note: this is an affiliate link)

Holy Crap I’m Engaged

While there was something else scheduled to be written about today, some big news in my life happened yesterday. And I had to share it.

I got engaged to the best man I’ve ever met.

Me and Derrick, post proposal.

Me and Derrick, post proposal.

Those of you long time blog readers know I’ve had my share of dating. (Click here to read some amusing archives about it.)

I have always doubted my judgement because of repeated failed relationships. I seem to have this objective clarity when making other decisions in my life but romantically, not so much.

I knew I needed a specific kind of man. I had a list with about 35 things on it, a list I made in my early 20s after a bad breakup. Everything from minimum college degree to amount of time out of their last relationship had been perfectly calculated by me for my own happiness. Or so I thought.

Ten years after my formula didn’t work, I figured out I had to redo my criteria. These are the three items I decided were the only things that mattered about six months before meeting Derrick:

1) Someone who makes me always want to be better.
2) Someone I can talk with all night.
3) Someone I will never get tired of kissing.

I’ll be honest, half of me thought even these standards were too high. And part of me knew I wasn’t going to commit to anything less.

I met Derrick at a crowded party (I used a really lame pickup line of him). The night we met, he invited me out to dinner with ten of his friends the next day and I said of course. The best date I’ve ever been on. His friends were great and we left the restaurant around 11:30.

I knew he was it. All that worrying I wouldn’t know the right thing when I saw it was for nothing. When Derrick told me he loved me a ridiculously short time after I met him, I agreed. There was nothing else to do.

We’ve had a great almost year of doing new fun things and doing some same old things. His cat and my dog are best friends. He gives me what I need before I ask and somehow, by just being my regular self, that seems to be exactly what he wants. It’s somehow both small and epic.

It was a regular afternoon yesterday and Derrick and I went ice skating on Somes Pond. After a loop around the pond, we stopped near a rock in a cove and he started saying nice things to me, which was totally normal. Then he got down on one knee and I said ‘Is this happening right now?’ I even said yes before the poor guy could finish.

Derrick and I are probably going to get married sometime in 2014. But I hear this engagement thing is a fun time so I’m going to enjoy it. If only because I wasn’t sure this was going to happen for me. Not because I’m particularly hard to deal with or anything but because some measure of all this is luck: running into the right person at the right time. I am lucky, And I will never forget that.

I will also say though that Derrick would have never made it through an online filter or my own ridiculous initial criteria. There is no computer algorithm that would have put me with a finish carpenter and glass blower from Colorado.

So before you say no, friends, give that person your friend wants to set you up with a chance. Because love might not end up being with a guy who meets 30 of your 35 requirements. It might be in a completely unexpected package that is somehow everything you wanted anyway.

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