Six Weeks

I’ll just cut right to the chase…Murphy is on the fast-track to make me poor.

Kid had an ear infection and what we thought was a UTI in early October- only to find out that his incessant need to pee and the traces of blood are much more serious than originally thought. Over $300 later we are on a six-week, two pills TWICE a day anti-biotic plan. That’s about five-weeks and six-days too long for me.

Ay, caramba.

I’m just happy we’re figuring it all out. And yes, I’m somewhat horrified at the amount of cottage cheese that I will go through in feeding him these bright purple pills that look like Spree candies…but nonetheless, happy a frugal gal like me isn’t having to turn tricks to pay for it 😉


Murphy is going as a handsome devil for Halloween 🙂

It doesn’t help that my car battery also went on the fritz, forcing me to buy a new one and swallow a $110 bill. And then my knight in shining armor (read: boyfriend) stepped in and swept me off my battery-less, broken-dog, anti-biotic feeding self and made it all better. He’s amazing. You’d like him!

PS I didn’t show you our Halloween costume from last weekend’s party…can you guess it?


We went as the old couple from Up!

Zoom in on my $4.99 orthopedic thrift store shoes if you can. They were awesome.

In other news, we’re heading to the coast to enjoy some Jenner by the Sea. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!


A Friday Confession

And just like that, it’s Friday.  Thank the goodness.

This week has been a wonky one, because most of us here at the shelter had to work last weekend. We held a mega adopt-a-thon last Saturday/Sunday and GUESS WHAT!? Our 4 Sacramento area shelters adopted out the most animals in the country! 525 to be exact.

Murphy is very excited.


So it’s been a little inconsistent over here. If you’re new to the blog, just get used to it. I never win best-blogger-award so don’t even try to nominate me 😉

I do however; have a Friday confession for you…

Last weekends’ ½ marathon was a tough one. We were not prepared to run the last 6 miles of hills, and since we didn’t train very well, it made it even tougher. I managed to run a 2 hour (and 1 minute!) which was about a 9:15/mile. Not as great as my last one, but also not too shabby. After being ridiculously sore for 3 days after, I realized I need to move on to something a little more…relaxing. I needed to not feel 80 years old. I looked around at the other runners; I did not see anyone else wearing running knee braces. I’m 27 years old for crying out loud! So I did something I swore I’d never do, I joined the yoga phenomenon.  

I walked into a nearby studio with running shoes on (hello amateur) rolled out my yoga mat which still had mud tracks from an outdoor boot camp (*crickets*) and Vinyasa flow-ed all over that 85 degree room.

One of my favorite people in the world, Megan, is a yoga instructor and English teacher in South Korea. She is zen and tranquil and all sorts of spiritual awareness. When she visits, she usually has to drag me to these classes and puts up with my lack of enthusiasm. I usually toss around hateful words like “petri dish of germs” and she lovingly puts up with me, nods her head and mumbles a “Namaste” in my direction.

I can’t say I’m 100% sold, but Groupon continues to sway me with its killer deals, and the cheap-skate in me can’t really turn down an unlimited month of yoga at the low, low rate of $22.

I am by far the less flexible person in a room full of human pretzels and am convinced that the woman who stands on her head is slipping something into her tea– but until late November I am determined to try this whole ‘find your zen’ thing on for size.


It’s kind of like “reaching for the stars” with trying something new, expect my goal is to just try and touch my damn toes. Baby steps people, baby steps.

What are you all going to be for Halloween? I tried to give Murphy a little flare this year but he was not having it. Shame.


Love does not anger easily

I’m writing this as I listen to my new favorite Pandora station “French Café.” It immediately takes you somewhere else.
I love it- in all its “I can’t understand a damn thing you’re saying” perfection.

It’s perfect background music to find some zen. My social calendar is busy and my weekends are disappearing…work is finally slowing down after a crazy event week but I need to catch up on sleep. I’m trying to focus on gratefulness and the art of just letting it be this week.

In other random news I’m a self-confessed reality TV show obsessee. Guilty!  One of the Real Housewives got married recently and they used the ol’ 1 Corinthians bible verse to describe their love for each other. I find this verse kind of cliché, but it works. It reminds us that love is a whole lotta things to a whole lotta people.

As a dog mom, which is at least mildly close to that of a human mom, whenever I hear the ever-popular bible verse “Love is Kind” I sit up a little taller because I know I can relate. Of course I can relate this to my loving boyfriend too…but for the sense of the “Life Off Leash” theme we’ll stick to Murphy. Let’s face it, Murphy always wins.


This verse tells us that not only does love not envy or boast but it also doesn’t anger easily (1 Cor 13:4-8)

…so does this mean that my anger is mildly justified? Like…it took me a while to get this angry and it’s 100% justified because of x, y, z…so is that some kind of carte blanche for the angry?

Murph, in all his glory, is the most stubborn, relentless, unyielding life form I’ve ever met! If he was a fungus he would be the kind that you just sort of get used to after awhile. “The walls are olive green anyways!”


He’ll jump on you out of pure joy and excitement and rip a hole in your pants. He’ll pull on the leash to chase a squirrel and practically drag you down with him.

He is also very persistent – with the charm of a sweet cuddly teddy bear.

Don’t feel like going on a walk? Too bad he’s not leaving.
Don’t feel like he needs yet another treat? Too bad he’s already left your office to go in search of someone who will give it to him. I don’t make this stuff up people!

And the most frustrating part is my reaction to it all. I literally said to him one day “I don’t like you right now.” But it never lasts long. Any kind of parent can relate.

Our love for the little furball drives us crazy.

Love is patient too…let’s not forget that one.

Lessons from Murphy

Lesson #1 Think Yourself Awesome

Is everyone out there as routine as Murphy and I? Sometimes I worry our relationship may start to bore him, but then I remember he is a Border Collie…and even more so…a dog. He comes with me to work, gets three 10-minute walks during the work day and then another after dinner (I know, right!?) and basically just stares at me all day. Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he squeaks the Wubba. But other than that, it just looks like this, all day, every day.


And I’ll tell ya, it’s quite the ego boost. He really makes me feel…special. Celebrity special.
Sometimes I envy him. He’s goofy, floppy-eared, talks in his sleep, is completely neurotic, and to be honest, has mild butthead like tendencies… but he doesn’t care! In fact, he is pretty convinced that he is one awesome dog.  All things I love him about him; so why should he care?
Kid has a point.

If our flaws have helped to plop us where we are and have paired us up with the people in our lives, (the ones we honestly can’t live without)…why do we try to change them? God knows best. He told us that.

And you know who never struggles with such things? The life of a dog. “My owner is awesome therefore I am awesome.”

Something I am always trying to recognize is that “better” is a moving object. This can be tricky when we are always trying to well, better ourselves. I struggle with this when I am (ironically) super into working out. Why is that? I should feel empowered. Instead I now have more reasons to be critical? Who am I?! I think it stems from having to plan your very busy week around when you can fit in exercise and healthy eating, you just… think about it a lot. It makes sense. It takes a lot of planning. I just wish it wasn’t always so…always.

Walker and I were talking the other night about how exercise and eating healthy aren’t like getting your oil changed.

“Oh good, now that that’s done, I can relax for a year!”

People it’s like an everyday thing!
Similar to changing your pants, your routine dog walk, or calling your mom.

Murphy’s Advice: Find the time to feel awesome. Next, be awesome. Then, make someone else feel awesome.

Rinse and repeat.


7 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know…

– I am enrolled in a boot camp! Roomie and I bought a 4 week unlimited pass on and it’s awesome! They really should call it Booty Camp because, um, ouch.

These photos do not seem to display my most excellent, athletic ability. Shame.



That’s me on the left!

– I am extremely habitual. I have a co-worker who always takes her lunch from 2:00- 3:00. After the umpteenth time of seeing her in the break room as I go to wash my apple I realized, I’m one heck of a routine apple eater. It would be embarrassing if she actually interacted with me, but instead it’s just so funny!

– I was a childhood model, age 10- 14. Mind you, I HATED it because it made me different in the eyes of my friends and I had to miss out on fun stuff like school and birthday parties. Yes, I actually liked school! But I made quite a bit of money and learned a lot. Glad I quit it when I did; otherwise I’d be anorexic without the wonderful life I have now!
So I really wanted to show you pictures, but I have a problem. No it’s not embarrassment. I keep all of my photos in a box in the garage. Well you see… a black widow has decided to take up residence in said box. I named her Hillde. And if someone can kill-de Miss Hillde (ASAP) I’ll be happy to share!

– I’ve always hated milk. And olives. And yes, any olive. They serve no purpose and I just…can’t. I can’t.

– I had a concussion when I was 11. I was living in South Florida and my best friend at the time dared me to jump into a swinging hammock. It was positioned over a ceramic tile patio and it flipped me onto the ground. I don’t remember much, but apparently I got a concussion and had a 4” basal skull fracture, bled out my ear for a week and spent 5 days in the hospital (a couple of them in ICU). But I SURVIVED! This was very scary for my parents, and the doctors said I was lucky I didn’t turn into a potato vegetable. I remember two things: Super Mario Bros and green jello. Word.

– I can’t help but think that band-aids are slightly racist. They just are.

– Murphy HATES having his photo taken. He usually looks like this…


Modest Murph

So I had to get crafty.


What are some things I don’t know about YOU!?

Time for Change


I’m think I’m ready. No, I know I’m ready to get up off my butt and stop complaining about blogging angst and just get this show on the road. My recent trip to Florida made me realize how much I enjoy writing and thus, miss writing. I worry that I may have pigeon-holed myself by giving the Murphy the starring role to this blog. Has he taken his protagonist role a little too literally? 

“Where ya been? Why haven’t you been blogging?”

“Ohh, you know, my dog hasn’t done anything interesting lately.”

WHAT!?  How is this an OK excuse??

Ok. Blogging angst is a real thing. Check. How about we revamp the whole blog and talk about normal, people, things with hints of dog hair thrown in? We agree? 


My friend Carly is awesome at consistent blogging. It helps that she’s funny and enjoys taking photos. She inspires me all the time to just write something. Anything. Like how I’m doing write now…aren’t we having FUN!?

In all seriousness though. I have non-Murphy related things to discuss. I haven’t actually broke the news to him that I’d like to refocus some things, but I have a feeling we’ll work something out. After all, how will you get to know the girl behind the dog if she doesn’t share a little more about Life Off Leash every now and then?


I bet you didn’t know that I’m slowly turning hippie, am contemplating a vegan experiment (due to genetically high cholesterol) and am training for another half-marathon in October. 

See? All fun things! Stay tuned. 

Checking In

Helllooo out there!

I got a really nice comment from a stranger-turned-new-blog-friend and it made me realize it’s been a heck of a while since I’ve posted!

I’ve had blogger angst lately. Feeling like I want to revamp everything and write about food and fitness and organic living and finding a use for cute mason jars. But then I think, won’t that be hard to keep up?

“It’s never too late to be the person you want to be.” Someone smart said this. I don’t know them, but I imagine they are old and full of ideas, without the strength and energy to do any of them.
I am working on it. I’m going to save this for another post. Stay tuned!

And let’s be honest… in the blogging world. It’s all visual. And taking pictures is really taxing for me. Mentally of course, not physically. The blonde roots don’t run that deep.
And while I’ve been experimenting on a more green/organic lifestyle- it doesn’t really tie into a blog about your four-legged pup, now does it? He’s eyeballing me even as I write this! Alright, alright…moving on…

Doggy Dash. Is. Over! Craziest event ever and proof that people who do event management are of a different breed. We set up all day Friday, arrive at 4:30am on Saturday, run that puppy (no pun intended) like a well-oiled machine and then tear it all down, until every last table is collapsed and every bit of garbage is picked up. My friends and boyfriend made it out to the event and despite the fact that it reached 108 degrees that day; “No air” air…we made it through. AND made over $200,000 for the pups and kittens and chickens and buns at the Sacramento SPCA! Yes. Sir.


Photo compliments of Patrick Storm Photography

And this guy… no, he does not attend the Dash. Image*Look how scrappy he used to be! Taken in Jan 2011 when I first got him. Poor nutrition and a flea infestation made him scratch all his lil’ hairs out. A face only a mama could love 🙂

Murphy hates the Doggy Dash. It makes me a very busy lady at work and not up for walks and play time. Plus…it’s 5,000 people with their 2,000+ stinky, butt-sniffing dogs. That’s like his own personal hell. He could have come with Walker but we talked about it and both decided the AC at home was a better option. Him and his little slow beating heart waited patiently for mother to come home.

Speaking of Murphy and his itty-bitty heart. Ok, ok I dont think his heart is actually any smaller, it’s just slower, that’s all. I opted out against the $1000+ vet visit and decided to instead monitor him and go from there. So far, things are really good. He is still able to go on walks and even run on cool nights. Yes Sacramento has temperatures other than 108 in June. They just don’t choose to grace us with their presence on days where you have 10 hours of manual labor to do.
And he seems to be doing well. I just avoid him getting over-heated on hot days. So far so good. Thanks for your well wishes to the little guy!

And yes I mentioned I’ve picked up running again. Finally. It took awhile! I needed a break, and even though it’s been tough as molasses to get up and go, it’ll be good for me. Walker and I signed up for the Folsom Blues Breakout for October 19! Another 13.1 in the same year? Who is this girl?!  Too bad I have three weekends in a row of out-of-town fun-ness leading up to the run; including camping, a bachelorette party and a wedding. Oopsie.
My goal will be less than 1:58:30 but we’ll have to see!

ImageWell that’s it for now. How is June half over? Christmas is almost here people!

xo, Juj

5 in 4

FRIENDS! Boy do I have a new diet plan for you!!

What’s fast, free and easy to spell?
That’s right….

the F-L-U!!!


Just puke your guts out, swear you’ll never eat again, think you’re on the upswing only to find that your little bug has instead migrated south….if you know what I mean.

TMI much? I know, forgive me.

Although I will tell you that 5 lbs in 4 days is a pretty insane return on investment. Think about it…

In other news, I’m officially on the upswing, which is just in time  because I have a very celebratory weekend ahead of me. Friday night we’re celebrating the roomies’ bday with a “B- themed” bar crawl. I’ll of course be a Beauty Queen. What do you mean you didn’t guess that first? What else would I be? Hmmph.

On Saturday, two of my favorite people are celebrating their recent engagement. They also broke the news that they are moving to Washington DC in a matter of weeks (wahhhh) so this little party will be somewhat of a yay/nay partay. Wahhh is right.

In the world of Murphy, because let’s not forget the main man. He was bored out of his mind during our time napping and pity-partying at home. He makes a terrible nurse and insists on background music. Think squeaking Wubba …catch my drift?

And because I’m not quite sure how to end this…here are a few photos that make me SMILE 🙂

Murph and I at a work event representing the SPCA.


My new niece, BAILEY!

ImageMy latest artwork
Also known as drinking wine while at a Wieland family dinner.
6-year-olds might know coloring, but I know entertainment!



Shamrock’n Recap

You know those comics where they ask you how you’re feeling? Do they have one for SORE?

The days following your first half-marathon are a blur. Luckily I thought ahead and took Monday off work so I could literally sit on the couch all day and relive the race- through the pain my body was punishing me with.images

Totally 100% worth every ounce of pain because it was totally, 100% the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

I won’t bore you with the details but since I have blogged about training for this race I figured I should recap a little bit:

I was swimming with emotions at Sunday’s Shamrock’n Half-Marathon.  I’ve always been a “jogger” but once I crossed that finish line and knew I beat my time, I burst into tears and knew I was officially a “runner.”

Cheesy? Yep. Agreed.

But cheese is what’s on the menu so let’s just go run with it. Eh, eh!

Training for this was all kinds of crazy. Lots of running and trying to limit the crap food intake was good for me, especially since it kept me from worrying about vanity and staying in shape. It was just a natural product of pushing your limit.

I was aiming for a 9 min/mile over the course of 13.1. We were booking it the entire time and stayed ahead of the pace group. I ended up keeping up with Walker until about mile 9 (his 6’4” frame and neon yellow shirt were like a beacon in a sea of people). My hips started acting up and I was getting shooting pains up and down my legs so I had to pull over, stretch and slow it down just a bit. Ended up clocking a 1:58:30 at an average 8:43/mile pace. I was SHOCKED. Seriously. Sub 2-hours?? Say whaaat?


Shield your eyes!

My roomie volunteered to hand out water along the course! Such a fun way to pass mile 11!

My roomie volunteered to hand out water along the course! Such a fun way to pass mile 11!

I’m sort of shocked that after all that training I’m in so much post-run pain BUT considering I pushed myself, I suppose it’s not a surprise.

The downside of Sunday was I had to miss out on the service my family held in Tahoe. They spread Logan’s ashes and said goodbye. I rocked his “Forever in our Hearts” bracelet and honored him with my running bib, but he was on my mind most of the time. Grief is a strange little bugger. Seems to settle in and get comfortable as soon as you open up space for it. The finish line was also home plate at the Rivercats Stadium. Logan loved baseball more than anything. Seemed really fitting wouldn’t you say? I thought so too…


And because this blog is supposed to be about Murphy…I have to add that he was very unhappy to have missed out on such an epic day. He is now punishing me by pulling hard on his leash, forcing me to walk faster than my current 95 year-old nana pace. We’re learning to compromise.

running buddies

Dog Mom Extraordinaire

Dog folk- when you make plans to meet up with someone, say for a Saturday walk, and decide to bring your dog, do you get EXCITED when they get to meet said dog? And I mean like, MEET him. Like hang out, have a chat, seen how funny he is?

My friend Carly and I planned a midtown walk on Saturday (hours after my 9 mile run which I’ll recap in a bit) and she got to meet the Murphster!


Like he needs a name tag!

I already know I’m a weirdo for saying “thank you” when people comment on how cute he is, but when you make plans with a friend and literally use the expression “Oh you’re going to love him!” does that cross boundaries? Visions of “Jeh-ree…you have to see the baybeeee!” come to mind.

So let’s talk training for a minute… I was telling all my FB friends (they’re real!) that running 9 miles isn’t so much the hard part. It’s the ‘trying not to act like a zombie all day’ that is tough. PLUS on such a big weekend- (Next year Niners!) I was pooped…all…weekend. Although I must say, the run went great! I was feeling pretty smooth until we stumbled onto the course and merged with runners in the JED Smith Ultra 50miler (ummm what!?) and felt slightly less cool, and yet, more sane? I just can’t imagine.

I’ve heard training can get addictive and I totally get it. Running for vanity is like “eh, I’ve got a boyfriend. He loves me. Pass the dip.” But when you’re $60+ dollars invested and you (ahem, blog about it) and people are asking how it’s going….you take on a new kind of responsibility. And even though this responsibility requires me to eat bananas (dislike. Takes me at least a half-hour to eat, unless of course it’s smoothie-erized) and carrots (No wonder they spend their whole lives under ground; Could they BE any more boring!?)


I’m realizing that food is fuel you fool. Get. It Together.