Tag Archives: Gertie

A bumpy wagon ride

In college I made a mental rule for myself – once I put a sports bra on, a workout or run must take place before I can remove the sports bra.

It’s worked pretty well for me, forcing me into workouts when unmotivated, or perhaps I would have otherwise “opted out.”

Tuesday, I found myself climbing back on the running wagon after recently falling off. (I fall off that doggone wagon so often, you’d think they’d put a recall out for it.) Apparently it had been so long since I’d even put on a sports bra that I had forgotten how to get into it.

I found myself flaying about my room like a drunk octopus, sticking my head into holes that didn’t fit it, trying to find my arms and in general very confused about where everything was going to fit once the arms/head were free. It turns out, it was on backwards.

FYI, the back side of the sports bra does not cover much.

Lest this blog turn into the bra blog, I digress on this matter. But not the run I was suiting up for.

I have another pre-running ritual.

Gertie, my running partner, must do ALL her business prior to departing.

Because nothing will ruin a run faster than having to carry with you a swinging  bag of your dog’s poo.

That’s what home is for.

But this day, I didn’t monitor her goings outside, so I found myself having one of those really awkward moments.

My dog was doing her #2 and I didn’t have a bag.

I HATE that.

Gertie, no! Fumble. Party Foul. Running Fail.

So we did the only thing I could do in that moment.

Ran away. Faster.

And now I have blogged about bras and dog poo today. Do not fear. This blog is not going to turn into Dooce. (I mean, the book deal and popularity would be nice, but it’s not really my shtick.)

What I really wanted to share was, I ran. Despite a few fumbles. No more excuses for not running. At least not this week…. I’m hanging onto that stupid wagon for dear life.


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The Quirkys: Weighing In

It’s no secret that weight gain is common during the first year of marriage.

So I wasn’t surprised when my clothes started fitting a little more snug, and even my mom jeans were hard to pull on.

Mr. Quirky has been on me about the laundry because it turns out, he only has two pairs of jeans that fit him. (Also because I am a horrible slacker when it comes to laundry in general, but that’s another post.)

But when I learned Gertie has gained six pounds, I declared something had to give.



Notoriously Ms. Slim and Trim has put on an entire six pounds since we got hitched. I know this because right before the wedding we took her to the vet and she weight 150 lbs. Saturday, she weighed 156. I made them weigh her again just because I couldn’t believe it.

This is the dog that never puts on weight.

It was time for something drastic.

Weight Watchers.

No, not for her. For me. For the 10 pounds I’ve gained from being newly married and NOT working out due to the broken tail bone. The way I figured, it would be a trickle down method of weight loss for us all. But it has to start somewhere, right?

It’s so hard to be the Queen sometimes.

For example, every Saturday & Sunday morning, I scramble two eggs. I eat approximately 3/4 of the eggs and put the plate down and let Gertie finish it. It’s something we’ve been doing for two years now.

But on Sunday, I only scrambled up one egg. Sure enough, as soon as she heard the sounds of my egg, she came running. But instead of my usual portion sharing, I proceeded to eat it without sharing. Gertie looked horrified. Finally, I gave in and gave her the last little morsel of egg. You see how this is going to work? Default doggy diet.

And Mr. Quirky is also going to diet default style when I begin omitting butter, cream and cheese from our dinners and adding in more veggies to keep things within my point allowance.

While this is all good and well, and sure to get results, I just want to share one thing: Her highness is hungry.

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New wife fail

This is the face of disgust. Two months in.

Except I keep telling people it’s been three.

All that wedding planning, you’d think I’d get the post-wedding time frame down. But no.

Fact: Mr. Quirky is better at remembering how long we’ve been married.

Additional fact: I forgot his birthday.

Well, truth be told, it wasn’t anywhere near his birthday. I was just talking about his birthday and got the date wrong. (In front of his sister.)

I will never live it down.

Trust me. He won’t let me forget.

Kind of like he won’t let me forget that I have the most wretched dish washer loading skills on the planet.

From Mr. Quirky’s standpoint: 40% of these items do not belong in the dishwasher at all.

20% certainly not on the bottom rack.

And, 10% are just poorly placed.

And then there’s the laundry. Or rather, the dog bed.

This shot may have been staged, but Mr. Quirky found Gertie sleeping here last night.

Because I wouldn’t let her in the bed because she smelled like a camp fire.

And despite threats, I was too lazy to bathe her.

So, she found the next best thing.

I really can’t blame her. Just like I can’t blame Mr. Quirky for being slightly annoyed when he has to wear his boxers inside out because there were no clean undies. I’m just lucky I have an ample supply of granny panties I mean underwear to get me by for a few weeks.

Marriage = awesome!

Editor’s note: No husbands or dogs were completely neglected in the making of this post.


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Camping: It’s for the dogs

[Editor’s note: Gertie wanted to blog about her first camping trip. Who was I to stop her?]

I knew something was up when the stuff started piling at the bottom of the stairs. Some of the stuff smelled like my friend, Penny, so I was pretty excited. Anything that involves Penny is pretty fun.

Then my mom got my leash out, and I’ll admit, I went a little nuts. It wasn’t the running leash. It was the other leash. The leash that means…


Daddy rolled down the windows so I could stick my head out. Sometimes it was scary, so I came back in.

We drove for a while. Daddy and Mommy kept looking at these papers. I wondered what they were up to.

We got out of the car and I saw a lot of stuff in the air. It smelled funny. Kind of like sausages. But then I saw there were some people I knew there. Auntie Erika [Roomie] and Christi [DD Girl] were there. I love those girls.

Daddy and Mommy got out chairs and joined them.

They were all talking and drinking the stuff that makes them laugh a lot.

There were so many smells.

I decided to check out the joint. You know, inspect it to make sure it was ok. First I had to poop. I like to poop when I get somewhere new.

Then I discovered there was some tall grass.

I had never played in grass like this before.

I loved it. It seemed like the perfect place to chill out and keep an eye on the people.

Daddy even got a new toy out. It was kind of like a ball, but flat. It was kind of hard to figure out how to pick it up and bring it back, but I got the hang of it quickly.

Then, Mommy and Auntie Erika took me on a walk. There was lots of goose poop on this trail. I was very interested in it.

When we got back, Christi got out this weird thing. At first I thought it was scary, but then I realized what it was. It was a crate for people. They even put small beds in the crates.

I was down with that.

I remember when I had to stay in my crate a lot. It made me feel better about being in a new place. That must be why the people had them there.

I wondered when they would get in their crates. Usually the people told me when to get in my crate. Who would tell them to get in their crates? Maybe that was my job?

I decided to worry about that after dinner.

There was a lot of food to check out.

The food made all the people happy.

I got a few bites here and there.

It was kind of like when my mommy and daddy have people at the house.

Only we were all outside.

And then even my food got put in a bowl. I was kind of surprised to see it there. And I wasn’t all together sure about eating it.

Don’t tell anyone, but after I had fun playing, I started to get a little nervous.

The people were getting louder and loud people scare me.

To make matters worse, mommy put me on a long leash attached to the ground.

She said it was because it was going to get dark and she didn’t want me wandering off.

I thought it was mean.

But she was right. It did get dark.

I really didn’t like the dark part.

The people seemed to have a good time and the warm smelly thing they sat around got big and red.

I stayed away from most of it.

Some of the people looked like they needed to be put in their crates, if you ask me.

Finally, my mommy decided to get in her crate, and guess what?! She invited me in too. I got to sleep right up by her head. She never lets me sleep there. She said I was keeping her warm.

Then daddy got in the crate too. But he made the tent get really stinky and then tried to blame it on me. Mommy didn’t let him. She knew it was him and not me. I love my mommy.

In the morning, I decided I really wanted to stay in the crate, even after mommy and daddy got out.

But then I discovered that Auntie Erika was still in her crate.

If I haven’t told you,  Auntie Erika is one of my favorite people.

She used to live with mommy, and sometimes when mommy wasn’t home, Auntie Erika gave me food and cuddled with me.

It was time to see about getting in Auntie Erika’s crate.

Mission accomplished.

You know, camping was fun and all, but mostly I was just glad to get home.

Until I heard mommy and daddy saying I stink like campfire and I might get a bath.

Maybe next time, I’ll leave the camping to the people.


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Eli Invasion

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted by Gertie, who had a lot to say about what took place in Quirkyville last night. 

One minute I was playing fetch with my dad.

The next minute my whole life was ruined by an alien. They called it an Eli. I call it evil.

I have no idea what it was. But I don’t want one in my house. Ever again.

It started off innocently enough. The man who my mom calls her brother, came by with some big packages in his hands.

I like packages because sometimes it means the person is staying and there will be food for that person, or sometimes there is just food in the package. Either way. I might benefit.

So we all went inside. I tried to sneak my ball in, but the brother helped my dad get me back outside to drop it. They think it should stay outside. I think I should have it always.  But they are my people and they win.

The brother then left and the packages stayed. I decided to examine the packages. They smelled really funny.

Then something in one of the packages made a noise. I licked it to check it out.

That was when I came face to face with the alien.

At first I didn’t know it was an evil alien. It was kind of pleasant. It tasted nice too.

Then my mom picked it up. She began talking to it and calling it an Eli.

This is when things got really weird because she was talking to it in the same nice voice she talks to me. I thought at first she meant to be say those things to me. So I went over and rolled over for a belly rub.

Instead, she put the Eli on a big blanket in the middle of the floor. My floor.

 And she talked to it more.

I got out some of my toys, because I could see this thing was trouble and I didn’t want it to start taking my stuff.

My dad was no help either because then he picked up the Eli.

And that’s when it began to make the noises.

Oh the noises. I’ve never heard noises like that.

I didn’t like them one bit. So I pouted.

 And the noises grew louder. What is that thing, I wondered.

The noises were high pitched. The Eli was angry for sure. My parents clearly had no control over the thing.

Then my mom took the Eli and you know what she let it do? She let it get on the couch with her.

I’m NEVER allowed on the couch. Oh the indogannity of it.

After it stopped howling, she put it on the blanket again. And then she gave it a toy.

I would have really liked that toy. It looked just like one of my toys with squeakers in them. But the Eli had it and I wasn’t about to go near the Eli for fear of the noise again.

I couldn’t believe the Eli was allowed to take over my floor, get on the couch with my mom and even got to play with toys I couldn’t have.

It was time to eat my dinner before the Eli took over that too.

Then, my mom went into the kitchen and my dad wandered away.

Suddenly, the Eli was lying on its blanket with no human to gaurd it.

Look, I might not like the Eli, but it seemed small and a little helpless. So, I sat by it to watch it to make sure it was okay until my mom stepped back into the room. She seemed to like that I was doing that, but I do not want her getting the wrong idea. (Even though it was kind of cute when it wasn’t angry.)

After what seemed like the longest night of my life, a lady came and took the Eli away.

But there was no way I was going to let my mom and dad off easy for ruining my night.

 I decided it was best to ignore my mom until she went to bed.

I have a feeling she had a role in allowing that thing into our house, and I didn’t like it one bit.


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Dutch Oven

Wedding planning is stressful.

It especially hurts the pocket book. (That’s North Carolinian for wallet. I like to throw out my old North Carolinian lingo sometimes. It makes me feel well-exposed to a variety of United States sub-cultures.)

You can actually hear the tension in the Quirky household as we are trying to figure out why exactly we didn’t elope to Vegas? Or maybe that was just Gertie farting. Whatever. It’s stressful.

But we know that in the end, celebrating our nuptials with our friends and family will ultimately be worth it to us. We are keeping it very tacky cheap. You can follow more about that on the Quirky Wedding blog.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep us healthy and satisfied in the food department without spending crazy amounts of money at the grocery store. I felt pretty good about the meals I planned this week. And then I kind of messed it up with a work function that went late on Tuesday, but my intentions were good…

Monday – Chicken Satay with brown rice and snow peas

Tuesday – I planned for Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce and a pea risotto.  I didn’t feel like cooking after that work function, so I made a frozen spinach, mushroom and chicken pizza.

Wednesday – We will have this on Friday or Saturday or sometime before the cauliflower turns into a science experiment in the fridge. Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry. No real recipe yet. Going to wing it based on several I have read. Served with brown rice.

After discussing this menu with the fiance the other night. I blurted out, “I really want a dutch oven.” I don’t know where exactly it came from. I have no business thinking of new things for myself at this time.

But, truth be told, I have this really awful cookware that would be really embarrassing should any foodie wander into my kitchen.

We were laying in bed and the fiance got a wicked look in his eyes.

Oh no. Not that* kind of Dutch oven.

* I apologize for stooping to potty humor today. I’m tired, busy and moderately stressed.


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So many things could go wrong in the next 24 hours.

But so many things could also go right. 

Last night I made five gallons of chicken broth. Five gallons. Who does that?

And today I will make 10 pounds of mashed potatoes and put a turkey outside to brine and just pray, I mean PRAY no wild animal decides to have itself a little Thanksgiving treat.

Speaking of an animal having a Thanksgiving treat…

I’m reminded of a Thanksgiving years ago in Rocky Mount, NC. My friend and then sports editor at the Rocky Mount Telegram , Patrick invited his displaced reporter friends to celebrate together. We all came bearing food, and lots of it.

The friends who brought the turkey (God bless them) had a bit of turkey crisis on the way over, resulting in most of the turkey juices all over Steve’s pants (crotch).

After we were stuffed and settling into our turkey comas, Steve decided to take a nap before going into work to finish Friday’s paper. He was out fast.

What happened next would forever be burned in my memory.

Patrick’s miniature schnauzer sniffed his way over to Steve’s turkey crotch and, well, let’s just say he was going to town. Steve was still out cold.


I think it was the best Thanksgiving that dog ever had. Steve might think otherwise.

Good times. Good times.

So as my bird continues to thaw and I rush home at noon to get started on peeling and preparing a gazillion potatoes , I need to keep in mind what this feast tomorrow is really all about.

Thankfulness. And Family. And Friends — new and old.

Not to mention those quirky memories in the making, whether they be whipped cream explosions or turkey crotch violations.

So from QoQ, the fiance and our  turkeylurkey, have a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving, and of course, keep it quirky.


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Quirkyville: Kickin’ it Sunday Style

Have you ever woken up with absolutely no plan and suddenly you have a list a mile long of things you want to get done?

That was me today. I woke up at 9 because Gertie was pacing around the bed and putting her snout up on the bed in the most pathetic manner.

Suddenly I wanted to do it all. Drink a good cup of coffee, go for a run, make a football feast for the fiance and pick up some things from Wal-Mart. The Chiefs game began at noon, and I knew he’d be up by 11:45, so there was no time to waste…if I wanted to be ready in time to serve him some game food.

I could combine the run and coffee if I ran to get coffee.

I picked a route that would take me just far enough to feel like I had exerted myself, but not too far to be a lot of work. (It was lazy Sunday, after all.) Then, I hit up a local coffee house…one that I knew had a little patio so I could leave Gertie while I went in to grab a latte. As I approached the shop, I could see there was another dog on the patio.

Uh-oh. Last time there was a dog there, it didn’t work out so well considering the dog was barking and growling so much,  it scared Gertie to the point that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her for a few minutes to go inside. No coffee for me.

Awww man, that would put a damper in my plan.

But then I heard someone call out “Hey Stephanie and Gertie!”

The dog belonged to my good friend Jessie and her boyfriend. Oh fun! Not only did I have someone to hold Gertie when I went inside, we got to sit on the porch and catch up over coffee, an unexpected but pleasant diversion to my plan.

Once home, I decided to skip a shower and just run out to get the stuff I needed from Wal-Mart,  plus the ingredients to make the wings, rotel cheese dip and homemade ranch I was formulating in my head.

Only I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. So the fiance was recruited from bed to join my search party all over the house. Nope, no keys. (This is not an unusual occurrence for me. He wasn’t too thrilled about being co-captain of my search team either. Oh well, he’d get over it when I served him piping hot crispy, tangy hot wings.)

There was no time to lose though. I took the fiance’s car while he continued to scour the house for them. (They were in his coat pocket from an evening where I wore his coat outside. Who knew?)

I was back  in 45 minutes…kind of a record for me to go to the grocery and Wal-Mart. But wings were at stake.

I found this recipe for baked buffalo chicken wings. It was super tasty. The only thing I would modify is I would be sure to spray my baking pans with non-stick so that I didn’t lose any bits of the crispy chicken skin. Other than that – perfection. You won’t even miss the fryer.

Then, I “winged” some homemade ranch dressing. Here’s what I came up with:

8 oz of mayo

1 cup of buttermilk

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 large clove of garlic finely, finely diced

2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley

2 tablespoons of finely diced green onion

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 tsp of onion powder

1/2 tsp of black pepper

salt to taste

I whisked it all together. The end.

It turned out pretty good, a little runny, but that’s how I like ranch.  You could probably thicken it up with more mayo or some sour cream. But I didn’t have any more mayo and I was out of sour cream.

Despite my feast, the Chiefs are losing and the fiance is downstairs yelling at the T.V.

My work here is done, folks. I’m hitting the bathtub with an army of bubbles.

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Have lasso. Will love again — my personal dating after divorce story Part I

old StephanieSome days, I look back and it all seems a bit like a dream.

<==== Here I am in 2005 — right around Valentine’s Day to be specific. My ex-husband and I were going to enjoy a night on the town and a free room at the Marriott downtown that I had won at a work event.

I thought I was reasonably happy back then. Life was pretty predictable (or so I thought.)

I had no idea that only four years later I’d be channeling my inner goddess of truth…

Wonder WomanI never really thought of myself as a super hero before.

I never really had to.

But things happened and like many women who suddenly find themselves faced with a very different truth than the reality in which they were living, I had a choice – pull myself together or don’t.

The latter didn’t seem like a very productive option.

And just a month after my separation, I decided to test the dating waters and joined Match.com on a whim, hungover one Sunday morning after a night out with the best girlfriends on the planet.

I figured I could always bail, if the waters got too weird or rough, but why not? After all, my soon to be ex-husband had already more than moved on (and in with)  his relationship. Why shouldn’t I?

Well, we all know there were probably a few good reasons why I should have waited a tad bit longer, but look, doing things the “right” way isn’t exactly my story. Besides, if I had waited, I might not have been around at the right time to meet my now fiance.

But I wasn’t quite ready for him yet…I needed to date. You know, casually date for a while.

And so, I sent my friend Kristin a text telling her that I just signed up for Match.com. Was I crazy?

No, she responded. Absolutely not.

I love Kristin because I knew that was going to be her response, and that’s probably why I asked her and not my more cautious, logical friend, Jessie.

Selective advice seeking, folks. I’m good at that.


Match.com was a weird and wacky place. But still, a fun place for someone who is testing the waters of dating after seven years of being off the market.

Soon, I found myself on my first date. We met at The Blue Koi, one of my favorite restaurants in Kansas City. I was dog sitting for my friend D who lives just around the corner.

As I was standing there waiting for my date, my stomach felt like it was in my toes.

“This is what it must feel like before one jumps out of a plane” I sent that text to Jessie and Dawn.

What was I doing here?

I hated all the other people sitting at the tables. They were all probably married, I thought. They didn’t have to stand here and wait for a strange guy to come in and then wonder if they would have anything to talk about and ohmygodwhatifhekissesme?!

I was seconds from walking right out the door. This wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t ready to go on a date.

But soon, this guy walked in and smiled at me. Thank GOD he looked like his picture, maybe even better than his picture.  Nice eyes. Nice smile. And we didn’t run out of things to talk about.

That was my first date after separation. There were more, of course. With him. With others. I was a wild woman – dating multiple men.

I had to fight my urge to want to get serious with the guys I liked. I fought the temptation to angst over texts unresponded to and get overjoyed by texts I did get.  When I started to try to imagine a future with each guy, I would get right back on Match.com and respond to my many “winks” and e-mails.

Sure, there were moments of weakness when I would gleefully tell my co-workers how big my crush was on so and so. They would roll their eyes at me.  But seriously, I’d say. He’s sooooo cute. Just look at this text he sent!

No, I told myself. This is fun time. Don’t get serious. I clung to my copy of  Crazy Time like it was my Bible.  The book told me that it was ok to feel and act a little crazy during my separation, and even up to two or three years after my divorce.

Oh crap, I thought. Would it really take that long to feel normal again, I wondered.

I knew none of the guys I was dating were “right for me.” Sure, they were good guys, but was I really going to be happy with a landscaper by day, soccer coach by night who was still playing the field at age 37? Probably not. And it was painfully obvious I did not share his love of hunting.

And the very hip and attractive 40-something salesman who was legally separated from his wife but had no divorce date in site? No, not really a good idea, Stephanie.

I’m going to pause and say, I’m so so glad I didn’t have any children. This story would not be the same if I had. I know I’m one of the lucky ones – lucky to get out of a worthless marriage of five years without spawn, lucky to not have that lifelong connection with my ex-husband and lucky to only have the responsibility of a needy Vizsla Lab mix.  I admire my friend Ms Single Mama and all the other single moms out there who weren’t so lucky.

When I wasn’t going on dates, I was enjoying my new apartment, reconnecting with old friends on Facebook (I never had an account when I was married.) and, trying to blog about my divorce without upsetting the settlement process with my ex. Needless to say, I was very careful what I posted here.

I was starting to really enjoy life. Sure, I was really, really sad sometimes. And there were a lot of “firsts” of being back on my own.

But these were part of the healing process.

And then one day, I got a call from my attorney that the divorce was final. It was the weirdest feeling. And a celebration with friends was to be had. (Truth be told, I had my fire engine red party dress ready to go at the drop of a hat.)

And the very next day after a night of wine and many toasts to my future, this guy calling himself KCFilmGuy a self-described “nerd with social skills” winked at me on Match.

He had red hair and a charming smile.

His profile said he loved the Muppets and The Princess Bride.

I had to know more….

(To be continued.)

Part II

Part III


Part IV

[Editor’s note- after I wrote this, I realized my title was a little too close to The Pioneer Woman’s From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels title for her love story with the MM. Completely unintentional, of course, but a correction worth making. ]


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Time Out

I needed a time out.

Yesterday, I took a PTO day and didn’t check e-mail. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I have a Blackberry and a habit of responding to things at all hours. But yesterday, I said, no to e-mail and yes to:

  • New tags for my car. I am officially a Missourian now. Unfortunately, just an hour after I had my new tags, I ran home to use the restroom and let Gertie out before running some fun errands (read: shopping). I was maybe home for five minutes. I walked outside and at that moment, I was getting a ticket. I hadn’t put my new plates on because I didn’t have a wrench.  Fantastic.
  • Local Shopping. I love days where I can just wander around with no agenda. Browsing for vintage jewelry for my wedding dress, funky shoes to wear under my wedding dress,  candles for my jacuzzi bathtub, a couple of bottles of wine for Fire & Wine night and…
  • Ingredients to make Chicken & Dumplings.
  • A good run with Gertie.
  • Covering my entire kitchen in flour. Somehow whenever I use flour in a recipe, I seem to spread it everywhere. As we were slurping down our dinner, the fiance looked down and noticed that Gertie had bits of flour on her ears and back.

I would say it was time well spent.

By the way, check out my post about working at the Perfect Wedding Guide show with my artsy & quirky photographer Blue Rue Photography. I may or may not have lied to get a few pieces of wedding cake.

Shameless. Someone needs to go in time out…


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