On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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Today: A weekend at home.

Home Alone

My older brother and sister-in-law celebrated their wedding anniversary this week, which meant Nick and I got to babysit our niece for the first time.  We partied like animals, singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while changing into PJs at 6:45 PM and reading not one, but two books before bed.  She is just heaven to be around.

Home Improvement

Much of the rest of the weekend was spent working on wedding projects and trying to rectify the broken sink situation.  We made two trips to Home Depot and managed to sneak in a little fun between visits to the faucet aisle.  There is so much to see and touch (and break) in that store.  I was tempted to buy a pink ride-on pony from the Christmas section, but refrained.  Instead, we picked up some PVC pipe for mobility and Crossfit practice at home.  It will also come in handy when I want to turn off the light switch without getting up from the sofa.  Just kidding.  Mostly.

Home away from home

 

We spent this morning at Clark’s home away from home, the local children’s hospital where he does his therapy dog visits.  I can think of no better way to pass a rainy Sunday morning than watching the kids snuggle with the Frenchie, feed him treats, tug on his ears, and hold him in their laps.  It makes my heart swell.

Home cookin’

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m very excited to share that On Tap for Today was included in the North Atlantic edition of the Whole Foods Market 2012 Holiday Magazine’s “On the Web: Fresh Voices” feature, along with my pal Caitlin and the lovely We Are Not Martha girls.  I’m really grateful to the team at Whole Foods for including me, and was sure to pick up a few copies today after grabbing groceries at River Street.

On the menu tonight?  Enough vegetarian chili to feed an army.

 

Homemade

What would Sunday night be without a do-it-myself manicure?

I live for rituals.  And weekends at home.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Packing up goodies for Kasee, my #atxbos match
  • Getting ready for the week ahead
  • Seating charts 🙂

What’s your Sunday ritual?


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Today: 21 hours.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Monday was a long day.  I was awake (and mostly functioning) for 21 hours straight.  When you’re up and about for that long, you’re bound to see some shi things.

4:00 AM Nick was planning to take an early class at CrossFit Southie, so when I woke up for no reason, just an hour before his alarm would go off, I knew my chances of falling back to sleep were slim.

5:45 AM When my alarm went off as Nick was heading out the door, I wrangled the Frenchie and took him on an extra long walk through the neighborhood.  We saw not one, but two dead pigeons.  That seems to be happening a lot lately.  It’s a bit concerning.

7:40 AM I was off to work in record time, and about to turn the corner to my office, when the biggest rat I have ever seen came sprinting towards me.  It was as big as, like, my dog.  Or Splinter from TMNT.

The last time I was that close to a rat (this is gross, but I am going to tell you any way), it had been run over and flattened next to my car.  It was winter time, and the puddle that the flat rat came to rest in eventually froze over.  It was there for weeks.  I had to find a new parking spot.  When the ice thawed, and my overwhelming fear of that dead rat waned, I went back to my normal parking habits.  Little did I know, the dead rat was still there.  One evening, after I had locked up the office, a strong gust of wind lifted the rat and hurled it straight at me.  I think I blacked out, because I don’t really remember what happened after that.

Anyway, Monday’s rat was very much alive and, fortunately, never made contact with my body.  I couldn’t help, however, but to enter a spiral of irrational fears.  What if the rat came back while I was out grabbing the newspaper (I am an old man) at lunch?  Maybe it would catch me by surprise, and bite my ankle, and then I’d have to miss my soccer game.  And probably, I would get rabies.  Or something.  Once I start worrying, and my imagination takes over, it’s hard to stop.

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM Fortunately, my workday was productive and largely uneventful.  Mostly because I skipped my lunchtime walk and stayed firmly indoors.  Two dead pigeons and giant rat?  I was not taking any chances.

5:45 PM I got home just in time to give Clark’s talons a quick trim, his coat a quick brushing, and his ears a quick cleaning.  The little dude has to look his best when he’s making his therapy dog rounds.

We spend an hour and a half visiting some great kids at a local hospital.  I don’t think either of us wanted to leave when our time was up.  It’s so incredibly moving to see children– up against so much– delight in rubbing Clark’s ears and crouching down on the floor to kiss his wrinkly face.  They were curious about his missing tail (perhaps he is, too), whether or not he could fight a lion (I suspect not), and what he keeps in the pouch on his therapy dog vest (treats, obviously).  Clark was in his glory.  I likely would have only been awake for 20 hours, but I had to stay up an extra hour to tell Nick all about it.  I can’t wait for our next visit.

7:30 PM I contemplated taking a nap before my soccer game, but instead I watched half an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  Why do they wear so much under brow highlighter?  Puzzling.

8:45 PM I was about to head out the door for soccer, when I received a very important FaceTime call.  From my three week old niece.  When an infant calls, you answer.

11:30 PM Though we lost our playoff game, we had a great 11 v. 11 season.  It was nice to play on a big field again.  I won’t miss being out so far past my bedtime, however.  I had to employ my very best “stay alert and awake” tactics for the ride home (Call Me Maybe at full volume, a handful of Haribo gummy bears, and the AC cranked as high as it would go).

When I finally made it back to my warm bed, I felt like I had been awake for 400 hours.  In truth, it had only been 21.  And that was plenty.

Also On Tap for Today:

Which critter are you most afraid of?  Snakes?  Spiders?  Teresa from RHONJ?


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Today: The power of touch.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Despite my admissions that I hate people invading my personal space, and would rather snap kick a stranger than be hugged by one, there’s no denying the power of touch.

One of the most challenging and moving books I’ve ever read is There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America, by Alex Kotlowitz.  I read it three times the summer after graduating college, before starting work coordinating a mentoring program for at risk kids.  We called them children of promise, but still, they were and are up against so much.  That book crushed me, and at the same time, inspired me and I have continued to go back to it as my career has evolved.  One passage in particular was on my mind a lot this past week.

Kotlowitz describes, with painful detail, the basic needs that aren’t being met for children living in poverty.  Beyond food, shelter, access to health care and education, he talks about the emotional needs of children– the things I likely took for granted as a child– including the power of touch, and such childhood rites of passage as owning a pet. We had fish, hermit crabs, and the occasional hamster, but I wouldn’t say we were an animal family, if that make sense.  I don’t know if we ever asked our parents for a dog (we probably did), but when the first time I read the passage about children wanting pets so badly, trying to take in strays, but ultimately being unable to care for them, it didn’t fully resonate.

And then I got a dog.  And people stopped us everywhere we went, wanting to pet him.  (He is especially popular with kids waiting for the bus on Broadway and MBTA workers). And I found myself snuggling with him for hours.  And I noticed how, given the choice, he’d always be right at my side.  And I loved seeing him race to the door when Nick got home from work.  Having a dog is like having a constant, albeit furry, hug.

While petting a dog is no substitute for human contact, animals can be great sources of comfort and therapy for people in all walks of life.  I am really excited that after two and a half years of training, Clark became a registered therapy dog on Friday night.  We’ll start social and therapeutic visits in the next few weeks, with opportunities to work with children, adults, and the elderly.

I’m grateful for everyone who has helped Clark perfect his snuggling techniques.  He’s had plenty of practice in his three years on the planet. 🙂  Want to spread the power?  Your assignment: go touch someone… in a non-creepy way.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you volunteer?  What’s your favorite way to help out?