How I Spent My Christmas

A couple of days ago, I posted a list of alternative activities to the traditional Christmas, geared towards loners (like myself this year), and also people of other faiths (as my friend Nicole pointed out in the comments). So, I thought I'd check back in and share which things I actually did!

I wish I could say I slept in, but this little girl wouldn't let me. Oh well.

I tried to put a bow on Olive's head so that I could get a good Christmas picture of her. Instead, this happened.

I'm going to make a "real" Christmas dinner when my mom and brother are in town, so I decided a big breakfast would be the best way to celebrate on the day of. Banana whole wheat buttermilk waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, too much coffee. The best.

Olive chilled, I watched You've Got Mail. I decided I wanted to watch some old favorites, and I hadn't seen this one is so long! Plus, I think it's done on Netflix at the end of the month, so the timing was perfect.

It was a seriously gorgeous day. I was so happy because of the weather and the holiday, and Olive's gift to me was that she was on such good behavior.

Olive and I haven't played fetch in a while because it's been cold and, depending on the day, rainy, snowy, wintery mix-y, muddy, or generically gross, plus I've been busy. All the things aligned and we played fetch for so long and soaked up some vitamin D.

After fetch I had this feeling like I wanted to run, which I haven't done since early November because of the weather and crazy schedule. We drove through our trafficless town to the track and did a few laps.

Olive doesn't seem to love being in the car (or, at least, she doesn't ever want to get into it and she jumps out asap), so I rewarded her for good behavior with a quick walk around the neighborhood when we got back home.

Then it was Meg & Tom part two with Sleepless in Seattle. Seriously, those two. Perfection.

Later, Olive chilled out with me while I drank wine and watched Good Will Hunting. Because you just can't see that movie too many times. First Robin Williams movie I've watched since he passed. Bittersweet.

Not pictured: dishes, floor sweeping, lounging in bed, photo printing and displaying (been meaning to work on this forever!), Christmas light hanging (for the family when they arrive), face mask, late holiday card writing, thanks giving.

Christmas Day this year was like a really great day off, a good mix of relaxing and productive, but I was in a super good mood because of the holiday and felt totally justified in allowing myself little indulgences, like three movies in one day. I was the happiest I can remember being in a long time, and I am grateful for it.

I hope you all had lovely whatever you celebrate days, and I'd love to hear about how you spent them!

Yours Truly, Jen

Merry Christmas! (Plus Some Things To Do If You're Flying Solo This Year)

Christmas has been kind of weird in my family since my parents divorced when I was in college, and my little brother (my only sibling still at home) goes back and forth between my parents. But, this year is my first year ever not being home to celebrate Christmas with my family, and that feels really weird. Since I'm working in retail right now, driving home this year didn't seem feasible. Since I'm not religious, Christmas is really a secular holiday for me; it's all about tradition and being with my family on a special day. And since that wasn't possible for me this year, I'm keeping this holiday low key and staying at home and celebrating with my pup.

Merry Christmas from Jen & Olive!
If you're flying solo this year, here are some ideas for how to make this holiday special:
-Make yourself an awesome meal
-Gift yourself something you really want but would usually never buy yourself
-Send out holiday cards/email/e-cards
-Call--or better yet, facetime/skype--family and friends
-Use this extra day off of work to do a small project. Check your to-do lists, or browse through your Pinterest board for inspiration!
-Make some mulled wine or cider or eggnog (these recipes are everywhere!), drink too much, and dance
-Start writing up your New Year's resolutions
-Watch Christmas movies, or not-so-traditional Christmas movies (You've Got Mail is on my docket for the day!)
-Spend extra quality time with your pets
-Order chinese take-out
-Look at photos from Christmases past
-Get everything clean and organized so you can have an awesome, stress-free work week and NYE
-hone your snowflake-cutting skills
-write something
-binge read your favorite book, or pick up a new favorite
-download some new music (hint: All Songs Considered's favorites lists are up!)
-Pamper yourself. Light a candle, have a long bath, do a face mask, drink a hot toddy or tea, slather on moisturizer from head to toe
-Meditate (Headspace Take 10 is awesome for getting into it. If you haven't already, you need to try it. I promise it's worth it).
-Go to bed early
-Drink hot cocoa
-Make some cookies and bring them to work the next day
-Meet up with other loners for a drink
-Do some volunteer work

Thankfully, my mom and little brother will be visiting me next week and two of my sisters and my nephew were here for Thanksgiving, so I will have seen most of my family this year. Hoping to see more of them next year! What are your plans for the holiday?

Yours Truly, Jen

Meet Olive!

Hey! Here's a story for you.

It's Spring 2013. I suddenly get an irrepressible urge to get a dog. I find out about some beagles that are being re-homed for free by my school's vet school. I make an appointment to go look at the dogs. Then Andy says, we should find out how much it's going to cost us (from our rental company) to have a dog in the house before we go. I check into it. My jaw hits the floor. I cry. I scream. I make plans to get a dog without telling said rental company. Andy says no. I have all of the feelings.

Fast forward to Summer 2014, and I'm moving into my new place, a basement apartment in a house owned by my friends Dan and Amanda. Amanda asks me if I'm going to get a dog now that I live in a pet friendly home. I say no, because I know I'm going to have to move to other rentals in the future, and it doesn't seem practical. Plus, I have debt to pay off, and I shouldn't be taking on anything as expensive as a dog.

Then I get lonely, and that urge to have a dog comes back, and it comes back hard. I started talking to my coworker Heather, who has lived in the area her whole life and has the lowdown on the animal rescue situation. Because duh, obviously I'm going to get a rescue. I look around. I tell myself I am not going to get a puppy, because a puppy is going to be too much work. I drive all around, looking at dogs for weeks. I'm looking for a young dog, 1-2 years old, still trainable, still healthy and active, but not with all of that crazy puppy energy. It's hard to find dogs in this age range, because everyone wants one. I start to get frustrated, and start feeling like I have to have a dog NOW.

I had seen Olive in my local humane society before, earlier in my search, but she was a baby and I told myself no. I saw her again a second time, on a return trip to see if they'd gotten any new dogs, and I went into her kennel and played with her a bit. I almost filed paperwork on her then, but the workers said to be sure before they put her on hold, so I waited. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I went back a couple of days later and told myself that if she was still there, I would get her. She was. I put in the paperwork, and on Halloween, I picked her up.

Olive is a German Shepherd/Lab mix, which means she's smart and friendly and energetic and headstrong and food-motivated. She was a little less than four months old when I got her, and now she's 5 and a half months old. It's crazy how much she's grown up, and crazy how far we have left to go. Raising a puppy is hard, y'all! More about that later.

That's my getting my first pet (as an adult) story. I love her so much!

If you've got dog rearing/training tips or stories, lay em on me!

Yours Truly, Jen

P.S. For plenty of puppy cuteness, make sure to follow me on Instagram!