Happy Birthday, Just in Queso!

This blog-child of mine has officially been in existence for one year now! Yay! In honor of this event, I’ve decided to write an EPIC  poem that shamelessly links back to previous posts.

Just to be clear, I’m not calling it “epic” in order to compliment it. (Although I DO compliment my blog. I love you, blog. You’re beautiful.) No, an epic poem is one that is long, and usually about some sort of heroic feat.  The definition doesn’t stipulate what “long” means, nor does it specify what entails a “heroic feat,” so I’m going to take advantage of this loophole and refer to my work here as epic.

After all, one MIGHT say that keeping a blog is a heroic feat. I don’t know who that person is, but they very well could exist.

I’m just going to leave this here and back away slowly before you can argue with me…

It’s my one-year blogiversary
And of that, I’m pretty proud
So I thought I’d write a little ditty
Reliving my posts out loud.

How many posts have I written?
The answer’s one hundred and seven.
And in a moment of poetic perfection,
My followers are two hundred and eleven.

As you may have figured out by now,
I am a dedicated fan of cheese
I’ve tested many quesos in this joint
In search of the ones that please.

Texican Café’s was too greasy, and
Super Taco’s was way too thin.
Chili’s was a revelation:
Calling that shit “queso” should be a sin.

Shady Grove was pretty good, but
Even better was Jack Allen’s Kitchen
I could really go for some of that right now
That pork was really bitchin’.

The most recent trip: Texas Chili Parlor;
The journey started with Kerbey Lane.
Sazon was in the lead for months,
Until Mamacita’s set us aflame.

Some quesos are spooned in tortillas
Others have been dipped with chips
Some let us make our own concoctions
But they all had us licking our lips.

Let’s move on from queso now
‘Cause I could talk about it hours.
Don’t believe me? Read this love poem
That stuff has magical powers.

I’ve written about my hatred of birds
And my love for all things dolphin
I’ve admitted my desire to kidnap dogs,
Which would be an easy feat in Austin.

I’ve  penned a letter to my router
And another to my laptop
I’ve made a Christmas drinking game
And I’ve narrowly escaped a cop.

Let me think what else I’ve done
Oh! I’ve house-sat like a boss.
I’ve learned a lot from Jerry Springer,
And I’ve also defended Ross.

At times I’ve confessed to telling lies
Like that time I called 911
Or that genius scheme to steal all the chocolate,
Or what I do for Sunday fun.

My family isn’t safe from spotlight –
You’ve heard about Mom, Dad, and Grandma.
They weren’t too thrilled with my “pantyless” tale
(But they should be used to my choices by now.)

In an ideal world I’d include ALL my posts
But that poem would be meters long.
My brain is too full of useless info,
But for my finale: here’s the carb song.

Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time over this past year to read my posts, and even better, leave comments with your thoughts! I love you all, and if I were having a birthday party for my blog, I’d totally invite you over for cake. Unless the cake was that multi-layer fudgy chocolate kind, and then I’m not sharing any. You understand.

I’ve had a lot of fun so far, and am looking forward to the next kabillion years of blog-keeping! ❤


September Remembered

It seems like September is a hard month for a lot of people. Green Day hates the month so much, they want to sleep through the whole thing and not wake up until it’s over.

But in my little neck of the woods, September is (mostly) splendid. Rather than simply telling you about it, I think the photos and screenshots I’ve taken on my phone over the past 30 (well, 28) days will paint a pretty good picture.

Warning: this post contains some vague and confusing nudity.    

September 3
While watching Silver Linings Playbook, I realized that young Bradley Cooper bares a strikingly creepy resemblance to a person I used to be quite close with, but now haven’t spoken to in 6 years. That guy’s probably in prison by now. Not even kidding.  Just to clarify, it’s the former friend who’s probably in prison –  not Bradley Cooper. I mean, Bradley Cooper COULD be in prison right now, I don’t really know.

How much do ANY of us know about him, really?


September 4
Celebrated my mom’s birthday weekend with lots of mother-daughter shenanigans. Happy Birthday, Cheese Mom! Sorry for any blog-related shame I’ve brought you, and will continue to bring you, for an indefinite period of time!

Also, thank you for providing such good material.

Yes, her shirt does say “Nope.” I like to to think she takes after me.

September 9
I completed all of my clinical hours for FULL licensure as a professional counselor (as opposed to a lowly counselor intern). First, I celebrated in my office with a mini dance party,  which was witnessed by a bewildered handyman walking by.

Later, I celebrated with potatoes and pretty drinks, just like our forefathers would have wanted.


September 10
I began a new and weird research project about personality disorders. It was a slow start.


September 11
I admitted that I am powerless against the mighty Cheeto.


September 12
Happy Birthday to one of my best friends, who will always and forever be 12 days older than I am, which I will hold over her until the day I die. Or until the day she dies, since she’s so much older and wrinklier.

Rather than putting up a picture of her, I have included this drawing that I made of her when we were 10. She’s the only one with hair.

I don’t know who all the bald people are, or why everyone’s naked. I’m now a little concerned about my 10-year-old self.


September 16
Celebrated my birthday (early) at an outdoor bar. Bacon-covered cheese and alcoholic beverages were involved. So were dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.



September 22
These birthday presents from mah cheese wife and her kids do a pretty good job of demonstrating my personality. You’re looking at a dolphin nightshirt and a tortilla warmer with a chicken on it. In the past, I’ve used foil to keep my tortillas warm, like some kind of miserable peasant. Now, not only will my carb vehicles be kept toasty, they will look good while doing it. This festive feathery bastard is really going to liven things up in my kitchen.


A note to my friends and family:  please refrain from buying me chicken-themed  items in the future. The fact that I like this particular chicken does not mean I wish to start hoarding them.

September 24
At last, my birthday! I went shopping, ate too many treats, and petted some more dogs. Needless to say, it was a pretty excellent day.

It’s been a whirlwind 30 (okay, 28) days of festivities, food, and fur babies! It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been just nice enough to make me forget about that whole persistent eyelid infection thing. Which I still have, you guys. I’m going to need some more Cheetos.

My Chance to Kidnap a Dog: The Story of Scruffles

I very badly want a dog, and I recently wrote a post about my desire to kidnap yours. Yes, YOURS. You know Mr. Furry would love me more.

 Unfortunately, my apartment doesn’t allow pets, so I’m having to come to terms with my doglessness for now. But it’s not easy.

After work this evening, I decided to go on a casual stroll through my neighborhood. There’s a wooded area with a little creek flowing through it, and it’s perfect for decompressing after a weird day.

I’d only been there a few minutes when I wandered upon this little gal:


I glanced around, but there were no people nearby, no one calling for a lost dog. I briefly wondered if this was a test – had the FBI read my post about kidnapping? Were they waiting in the bushes to see if I’d steal this one? Was this a decoy dog?

I decided not to snatch her up and make a run for my apartment, because I’m a selfless person. Also, I didn’t want to get arrested.

I knelt down to look at the cutie’s collar and noticed there was no name or address, just a phone number to the vet. Her fur was pretty filthy, and there were a few little stickers in it. I immediately named her “Scruffles.”

I wanted Scruffles for my very own. I pictured her living a happy life in my apartment, lying in a cashmere-lined dog bed and sharing my Tuna Tetrazzini with me.

I worked up the nerve to call the vet’s number, and gave her the tag number listed on Scruffles’ collar. There was no phone number listed in the file, but she was able to give me a home address.

Also, it turns out the dog’s name was actually Ginger. But she’ll always be “Scruffles” in my heart.

I scooped up Ginger-Scruffles and started walking, intent on getting back to my car so I could drive the pup home. But I was feeling very judgy of Ginger-Scruffles’ parents. Why did they not have a phone number listed on her tag or vet file? Why was the dog so dirty? How did she end up so far from home?

It was as though the owners wanted  me to keep little Ginger-Scruffles.

This story has a pretty anti-climactic end. On my way out of the park, I noticed a man with another shih tzu, and I thought to ask whether the scruffly baby in my arms was perhaps his. And it was.

The guy seemed shockingly uncaring that his dog had been missing, and told me that Ginger-Scruffles “has arthritis and has trouble keeping up” with him and the other dog. I don’t want to seem like a know-it-all, but maybe try walking slowly so your elderly dog can keep up. Or, better yet, PUT HER ON A LEASH!

Sorry for shouting. Those few minutes of dog ownership probably went to my head.

I just want you all to know that I totally could have kidnapped this adorable animal, and I didn’t. I deserve a high-five AND a gold star. And maybe a cookie. Don’t you think?





Hide Ya Kids, Hide Ya Wife, & Hide Ya Dogs

Actually, you can keep your wife and kids. But you should hide your dogs from me, because I want to kidnap them.


I’ve experienced the full spectrum of appreciation when it comes to dogs. For the first few years of my life, I was petrified of them, and then I gradually grew to love them – especially our family dogs, Abby and Caramel.

Unfortunately, I’ve been dogless for the past few years that I’ve lived alone, and lately, my love for them has grown into an obsession. Instead of homesick, I’m dogsick.

 Too bad my apartment complex doesn’t allow pets.

I think about the cuddly fur balls way more often than a grown-up should. I squeal over pictures and videos of them on the Internet. I visit family members I haven’t seen in awhile, only to ignore them and make a beeline for their dogs.

I’ve even volunteered to house-sit for my friend when she was only going to be gone for a few hours – because I wanted to hang out with her energetic, loving canine.

Now, when I see dogs out in public, living their doggy lives, I entertain the idea of abducting them.

I have thoughts like, “I wonder how quickly I could unhook that corgi from his leash and get him into my car.” Or,  “Hmm…that chihuahua is pretty little. I could probably slip her in my pocket without anyone noticing.”


You know how when you’re trying to eat healthier, you say to yourself, “You can’t have sweets. You can’t have pizza. No pasta!” Then you spend so much time telling yourself what you CAN’T have, that suddenly the no-no foods are all you can think about. And then you go crazy and wind up stuffing your face with every single item in the refrigerator. Including the Tupperware.

It’s like that, but with dogs.

My inner voice is saying, “You can’t have a dog, Amanda. It’s not allowed. No, stop it! Stop considering moving to another place just so you can get one! And stop Googling ‘how to hide dogs from landlords’! NO DOGS.”

My fear is that if I keep saying these things to myself, I’ll eventually snap. I’ll free all the dogs in the nearest shelter, herd them into my apartment, and then sleep in a ball on the floor, because they’ll all have taken over my bed. Worth it.

Currently, my life is more like this:


But I’d LIKE for it to look more like this:


I’m sorry, but what kind of evil overlord doesn’t want me to have a cute, furry-faced friend, or twenty?  Clearly, my apartment management is made up of droopy, dreary people who probably eat kittens for breakfast and laugh at crying children.

 Barring a move to a new place, I do have a couple of Dogsickness remedies to consider:

  1. Ignore my apartment’s rules and get a dog anyway. Carry the dog wrapped up in a blanket, and occasionally push it around in a stroller, so everyone thinks it’s a human baby. A human baby who barks sometimes. No big deal.

Troubleshooting: If someone mentions the impressive hairiness of my baby, I’ll cry and  say that she “looks just like her father.”


  1. Get a life-sized stuffed dog. Spend a great deal of time convincing self that it is indeed a real dog. Consider getting hypnosis so that the lie sinks in even deeper. Take stuffed animal, er…I mean, real live dog, on walks around the neighborhood.

Troubleshooting: When questioned by others, imply that they are the crazy ones for thinking my dog is fake. If they press me, proudly declare that she “looks just like her father.”


Or maybe I’ll just quit my job, move to Maybee, Michigan, and beg for a position at the Lucky Puppy Dog Daycare.


I’ll probably permanently smell like wet dog. Worth it.

If you have dogs (or other pets), what’s your favorite thing about having them? Do you see any downsides to pet ownership? If you don’t have pets, how badly do you want one?


This Dog is a Con Artist

When I was in high school, my older brother adopted a dog from a shelter and brought her home to meet the family. He intentionally looked for the least-cute (which sounds slightly nicer than flat-out calling her ugly) dog at the shelter, because he figured she was less likely to find another home. It was a sweet thought, and my parents and I admired him for that.

Until he brought the dog over for a visit.

This dog appeared to be made up of about 100 different dogs. She had the little ears of a terrier, the short legs of a corgi, and a tail that was long like a beagle’s, but also curled up like a pug’s. She even seemed to have a little muskrat or sea lion in there. She had an underbite and was thin, but oddly muscular, like she’d been pumping iron in some sort of canine gym. In sum, she was not very cute. Hers was a face only a mother (or someone with really poor eyesight) could love.

But my dog-loving family and I and welcomed Her Weirdness with open arms and soothing tones, mentally proud of ourselves for being so kind to such a strange-looking animal.

It turns out, the dog was just as unimpressed with us. The moment she entered the room, she scampered away from us and began sprinting around the entire house. We assumed she had some nervous energy to get out and would begin to calm down after a minute. Nope. She made laps down the hall, through the kitchen, into the living room, out the back door (that we had kept open in case she needed to potty), then around the yard and back inside.

Anytime she came close to one of us, we’d reach a hand down, thinking a gentle touch or opportunity to sniff would make her more comfortable; instead, there was more running. We also quickly noticed that she had some sort of phobia of the threshold that connected the outside concrete with the inside of our house – each time she approached it, she’d gain speed and take a flying leap over to the other side. I began to understand why she was so muscular.

My parents and I breathed sighs of relief when my brother took the dog to his own home a little while later.

Of course, no decent story would ever end there. My brother eventually joined the Navy, and my family became the skeptical proud new owners of Caramel, named for the color of her fur. Fortunately, Caramel had relaxed considerably by then, and was actually a very sweet little dog. She was relatively well-behaved (despite her inability to learn ANY tricks), and kept her running sprees to a minimum. She also adored our other dog, Abby, who was pretty old by then. She followed Abby around the house, curled up next to her on the couch, and seemed to consider it her personal mission to keep her face groomed, much to Abby’s indignation.

Despite having some undeniably good qualities, Caramel also had some strange ones. For starters, she licked everything. I don’t just mean people or sticky floors, either. This dog happily licked the refrigerator door, the cabinet, the couch, even rocks. If she came across a particularly tasty rock, she’d even take it in her mouth and attempt to gnaw on it – appearing puzzled when she couldn’t chew it up.

She also had a strange penchant for biting toes. It wasn’t an aggressive thing at all; she’d just happen to walk past someone with bare feet, and then decide to casually gnaw on their toes. No big deal.

Unfortunately, we were pretty certain that Caramel had been abused by previous owners, and as a result, every time she was told “no” in a stern way, she cowered down and gave us sad looks. This made dog parenting a bit challenging.

The Pitiful Dog Cycle:



It’s entirely possible that Caramel was smarter than all of us and somehow cooked up this entire scheme – like a furry con artist. Trying to eat rocks doesn’t usually indicate high intelligence, though.

Caramel’s social skills were another point of confusion for our family. Although she appeared to feel intense love and affection for Abby, she seemed to think that all other creatures are malevolent and must be stopped. She would perch herself at the front door, still as a statue, and wait for suspicious animals – which included humans, dogs, cats, birds, butterflies, and pretty much any other live being – to cross by our house. Oddly, the smaller the animal, the more evil it appeared to her. Grizzly bear outside? Meh. Baby squirrel? NOPE.

If anything dared set foot near our property, or even glance in the general direction of our property, Caramel let out some intimidating warning barks. If the suspect didn’t notice her (which was often, because they were outside and she was not), Caramel’s brain switched into Enraged Mode.

Caramel: Normal/Sweet Mode                        Caramel: Enraged Mode

carm   carm4

She’d pounce on the door with her short front legs, bark angrily, and glare at the offender with bloodthirsty eyes. If and when my family intervened and attempted to scold her, she’d ignore us completely, or employ the Pitiful Dog Cycle again. We even tried comforting her, thinking that maybe the dogs and butterflies were “just stressing her out,” but our kindness was no match for the crazy.

Once the suspect moved out of sight, Caramel pranced victoriously around the house, her tail high and proud.

This complex little animal was also a bit of a drama queen, and felt the need to make her feelings known to everyone around. She loved going on walks with my dad, and the second she saw him holding her leash, she became filled with more joy than her little body could contain. Wild-eyed, she’d bark excitedly and do some sort of hyper jump-dance around my dad. (Picture a tap-dancing jack rabbit.)

On the other hand, if he dared go on a walk without her, Caramel made sure the rest of us knew about her anguish. She’d sit at our feet and whine, and then pace the house, looking out every window for Dad Sightings. After several minutes of No Dad, she’d start howling – a terrible, pathetic howl. This wasn’t the high-pitched sound that I’ve heard from other dogs; no, this noise was groan-like and raspy, as though she’d been smoking cigarettes for thirty years. (To our knowledge, she only smoked pipes.) Nothing we could do or say would soothe her, and she would punish us with this noise until Dad finally returned.

Truthfully, Caramel was probably the most “human” dog I’ve ever known: varied emotions, lacking manners – and a strong desire to do whatever she pleases.