Happy birthday, Arden!

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Today is Arden’s fourth birthday! In honor of the occasion, she asked that I share some of her impressive stats and fun trivia with you:

Name
Arden Lily Jensen

Nicknames
Arden Lily, Ardentina (as in “Don’t cry for me, Ardentina”), Ardenza (rhymes with “credenza”), Bug, Lady, Lil, Missy, Muffin, Muppet, My Boo, Nugget, Snugglebunny, Stinkerbell, Stinkerella

Astrological sign and dominant traits
Capricorn: can be hard-working and obedient but also stubborn when she wants something

Commands learned
10: Sit, lay down, stay, come here, shake, crate, get down, go to bed, up, kisses

Prefers
Larger, hairier dogs who are dominant

Dislikes
Knocking, door buzzers, chatter in the stairwell, poorly behaved children

Secret shame
Consistently sneaks in and eats cat food

Favorite treats
Rawhide chews with Omega-3 for sensitive skin, any kind of biscuit treat

Great accomplishment last year
Losing 6 pounds! Good job, lady.

And now, a trip down memory lane:

Arden 7
Her first day at home (7 weeks)

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After she learned to climb the stairs on her own.

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Cozied up during a chilly Arizona winter!

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Hanging out at home with dad.

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Showing off her Christmas parka and Pablo, her fake boyfriend until she chewed open his flank.

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Her first “glamour shot” (vaseline on the lens)

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Awww…who can go to work after seeing a face like that?

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Lounging in the summer sun at Grandma and Papa’s house while dad’s out of town.

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Still as “Offred” from her one-woman production of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

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Dressed for dinner the only time she’s been able to fly back to Phoenix to see Grandma and Papa.

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In DC with her new stepsister Kitty.

Happy birthday, beautiful!

Birthday

Today is my boyfriend’s birthday. He’s finally turning 30, which means, for a few short weeks, we’re the same age. He’s sad about it, but I figure he’s already so gray it doesn’t matter.

His consolation: a feast at Famous Dave’s.

If you don’t have Famous Dave’s where you are, I feel real bad for you. It’s delicious and amazing and surprisingly Minnesotan. When I discovered one here in the Valley, I nearly pooped with delight.

If you need me tonight, I’ll be holding my stomach and groaning. From overeating!

The Writing’s on the Wall

A few months ago, I reconnected with an old practice of mine: making lists on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker. Why? Because that’s the one room I’m guaranteed to visit every day, for one reason or another, and having to see the list keeps it fresh in my mind, making me more likely to remember what I put on it.

I’ll tell you what’s on the list right now, as I just saw it:

short screws
shaving cream

Frequently it’s my list of things to get at Target, but sometimes it’s a list of things I don’t want to forget to do, like “Go to the gym five days a week,” or “Eat more vegetables,” whatever.

I’m experimenting with putting this same philosophy to work in writing. I haven’t been writing poems lately (fiction instead), but I’m sensing some are coming, and I keep feeling connections to things I’m running into out in the world. I want to save these things, encourage myself to think more about them, and so I did this:

It’s times like this when I most miss working in Residential Life, with its unlimited access to reams of butcher block paper. I’m just tossing ideas, phrases up on the list, things I think my next poems might be about or address in some way.

The last poem I wrote, incidentally, was called “Poison.”