A few Autumn changes

September 26, 2014

It’s been hard for me to put words in this space since school began for the girls in late August. Things have been busy, that’s for sure, but if I’m honest with myself, there are times when I could have been working/writing this past month and I’ve chosen not to. I’ve chosen other things, like taking Mozz-man for another walk or cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen or watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network–even though I find her voice grating and I am perfectly able to cook a steak or a burger or a club sandwich on my own, thank you very much. I don’t think I’ve learned how to cook one thing from that show–the things she makes are so simple and basic, and yet I still watch the damn thing! Argh! Why do I do that?

Anyways. I haven’t been here much. I’m going to try to do better, because as busy as things are right now, I need to be busier. We are rapidly approaching what I know to be a dangerous time for me. Once October starts, and the winter months are hot on its heels, I know trouble’s brewing. I don’t do so well emotionally once the days shorten and the nights get cold. Last October landed me in Fuck You Linda territory and so I know that starting right about now, I am going to have to be very, very careful. Because I really don’t want to end up in Fuck You Linda territory again.

This means treating myself not only with kindness, but with discipline and vigilance. I need to make sure that I do the things that keep the wolves at bay–basic but essential things like taking vitamins and eating good things and sweating every day and avoiding crap habits and sleeping a lot. Those things take time, and they should fill the cracks in my already busy schedule, but I’m still nervous.  In truth, I’m really, really nervous.

I need to be so busy that I don’t have time to think. Thinking gets me deep in the thick and tangly weeds.

It sounds a little nutty, but my little dog helps. He does. Mozzy demands at least six walks a day, and our electric fence experiment backfired (more on that later), so it’s still up to me to keep him happy and out in fresh air with the falling leaves and the dashing-about rabbits. He also needs cuddles and belly rubs and little nibbles of delicious things during the day, so I certainly am not without company while the girls are at school.

A crazy October schedule helps. October is the month of birthdays–Miss M., my husband and Daddy-o all have October birthdays. So does the Mozzerator, turns out, and yes, we’ll be celebrating it because Miss M. has already told me that we’re making homemade dog biscuits in honor of his first year. That should be an adventure. We’re also making a quick trip out to San Antonio for my husband’s medical school reunion this month, so there’s that.

Another change is afoot that should help keep me occupied this fall and winter, and it involves cooking, so I’m excited on that front. A friend of mine is returning to the workforce next week, and she hates to cook. When I met her for lunch this week, she said, “I know it’s awful, but I just dread dinner. The kids are little and still in the picky phase, so they don’t eat the kinds of things my husband and I like to eat, and no way am I surviving on grilled cheese and chicken nuggets, so dinner is a pain in the butt (to figure out/plan/make).”

I completely understand, because I’m kind of in the same place. Miss D. is a pretty good eater, but Miss M. is finicky and petulant. Heck, I like to cook and even I think, “Fuck You, Dinner!” on a regular basis.

My friend is worried that once she starts working full time, they’re going to get stuck on the Takeout Train, and that’s both expensive and ass-busting.

So we talked about it, and I think we came up with a pretty good idea. A couple of nights a week, I’m going to make a little extra of what *most* of us are having for dinner at my house, and on her way home from work, my friend’s going to pick it up, and she and her husband can enjoy that. And she won’t have to think about it. At least a couple nights a week, anyways.

This will keep me busy, and give me a little pocket change, and it will inspire me to be a little more creative in the dinner department, because in all honesty, I’ve kind of been in a rut lately. Even I am getting sick of the running rotation of stir fry, fajitas and chicken salads.

It will also, hopefully, give me stuff to write about in this space. Stuff to write about is good.

Change is in the air, Readers. I’ll let you know how it goes.

** About the electric fence. It worked too well; Mozz-man got shocked once, since, he cowers in fear whenever we put the collar on and he won’t go outside. If we manage to get him outside, he just sits on the porch looking suspicious and forlorn. So I’m still stuck walking the little dude 6-8 times a day. Argh! Anyone else had this experience? It’s beyond frustrating and I’m so sad for Mozzy, because all I wanted was for him to be able to roll around in the grass and sniff around and be happy out there. Is there an electric fence whisperer out there?

*** Is it weird to think, “Fuck You, Dinner?”  I think it probably is weird, but I think it.


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby September 26, 2014 at 8:33 am

Well, I never think, “Fuck you” to any meal, so I can’t relate on that front, but I can with everything else. I can feel the shadows creeping in and although I am more than fully aware of what this can mean, I still have to be very careful not to let myself slip down too far. As for writing, life is meant to be lived so you have things you can write about. That’s what you’ve been doing, and as the weather takes those outdoor moments away, I’m sure you’ll find a new routine. XO


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm


It sucks to have to be so careful, but I guess that’s the way it just works for some of us, huh? xo


S in AK September 26, 2014 at 9:20 am

I was a mess after I stopped working and stopped getting regular access to fluorescent office light. And then all my old office buddies left the state. About the same time, the Alaska weather totally went in the toilet (all rain, all the time, all summer) so I didn’t get any relief–even during the summer. All of this coincided with the onset of peri-menopause, so therapy and drugs didn’t offer a whole lot of help. I’m feeling you, here. I am.


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

S in AK,

Ugh, the peri-menopause! It’s started for me, too. The copious sweating in the middle of the night SUCKS hard.


pamela September 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

I just adore you. Seriously.

I am ALWAYS nervous I am going to skid out into Fuck You Linda territory. All the time. And yes to vitamins and sweating and thank god for dogs.

My dog was the opposite. She was a lab and ran through the electric fence, shocks be damned. She just didn’t care. I haven’t tried it yet on Wags but we will see. I take Wags on 6-8 walks a day too, mostly so I don’t have to write:) Or clean my kitchen. Or cook. Or …


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm


We should start a blog-avoidance club. Kisses to you and Wags.


Barbara September 26, 2014 at 11:08 am

Yep….keeping busy, that’s the ticket. And while you’re helping out your friend, you’re helping yourself and getting paid for it. Win-win. Now you’ll be haunting Pinterest for dinner recipes!
We’ll all help to keep fuck you Linda at bay….even Mozzy.


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm


Pinterest is so intimidating for me–I stumble on these sites that have elaborate party ideas for kids or school lunches that look like origami and I freeze. If you have any favorites, I’d love if you’d pass them on!


Laura H September 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

I don’t find the invisible fence a great success fro many dogs for various reasons. How about a real, actual fence?


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm


We’re considering it. I’ve always loved our wide open yard, but things may have to change.


Jennifer September 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I think “fuck you dinner” a lot. And the grocery bill you came in on. I think that is great what you are doing for your friend. You like to cook, she likes to eat… sounds perfect. Poor Mozz. At least he isn’t running into the street anymore.


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:18 pm


Yes, there is that. He isn’t running out the door anymore, and for that I am incredibly grateful.


Abbe@This is How I Cook September 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

If you ever want to meet for lunch, let me know! I do take Freddie out for walks. She is going blind and also has awful allergies, but put her on a leash and she forgets about all of it! If only my life was so simple! Of course, if you do need to keep busy, there is always PTO, which kept me way busy way back when!


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm


Oh, Freddie sounds so sweet. I’d love to meet her (and you). But no way will I join our whackadoodle PTO! Parent/Teacher conferences are coming up and I am just wondering what weirdo thing they will come up with for me to bring.


elizabeth September 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I like to say “fuck you” to a lot of inanimate things, but never dinner.

I hate-watch TPW sometimes and I don’t know why either, but I’ll send you an email to expound upon that.

Routines are good, and I like this idea that you and your friend came up with as I appreciate any reason to dive into the internet/my cookbooks to find new recipes as the weather gets crappier and darker out (and therefore way less optimal to take decent dinner photos, which bugs me to no end). I want to go to all of the people bemoaning that this weekend is looking to be warm (and even beach-worthy) and just put them all to sleep for 48 hours. Stop hastening winter coming!


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm


We hit 86 degrees today! And yes, it did feel warm, but I am certainly not going to gripe about it–I know what’s in store.

I also think that a big part of “Fuck You, Dinner!” is due to having kids and so there are several meals you’re cooking in the evening, not just one. Gaa!


Tiffany September 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I’m a little nervous for winter too…let’s email each other some sunshine!


Dana Talusani September 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm


That is a genius and most welcome idea. Love you.


Annie September 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Having a dinner-share program is a great idea. As long as it doesn’t become a chore it will be a good source of motivation and inspiration! It is easy to cook for an additional two people.

Dog fence- ugh, perhaps try making it a safe zone again by taking him around out on leash in the backyard? Then on leash with the collar?

This time of year does bring out the shadows again literally and figuratively. Things have been interesting here as well…let’s catch up soon! xoxo


Sarah September 26, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Love your blog! I can relate to all you are going through. Thank god for Xanax and wine, not sure how I would survive some days, especially winter. My two kiddos can be picky eaters and I suffer from a lot of stomach issues so I have to be careful with what I eat and I’m the cook so it’s a daily challenge. I agree with fuck you dinners! I love watching Pioneer Woman and not sure why since I can’t eat half the shit she cooks. Maybe it’s cooking porn for me! We had a fence put in for our dog, he would have freaked if we tried an electric fence…he has a lot of anxiety issues. I hope your new busy schedule helps and I look forward to reading more!! Hugs!


Dana Talusani September 27, 2014 at 6:34 am


Thanks for reading and nice to meet you! I’d never pegged Mozzy for an anxious dog, but this whole electric fence thing has me re-thinking that impression!


Gappa Guy September 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Actually, not to be rude, I thought Fuck You Linda was a good read. I enjoyed it, every episode. But I am just weird that way. Please keep writing…. as I am not a reader and you keep me so entertained.
Even when you are just venting, or telling of home life, or speaking of Mozz-man.


Dana Talusani September 27, 2014 at 6:35 am


I’m glad you enjoyed Fuck You Linda. That was my hope for that piece. And thanks for your generous encouragement.


Cara September 26, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I live in the Pacific Northwest and the seemingly endless dark, wet days of winter take their toll. I don’t know if this might be helpful, but I discovered full spectrum light therapy 2 years ago, and while not a cure, 15 minutes/day sitting (or reading), in front of the light has made a huge difference to my energy and sense of well-being. The one I chose was http://www.day-lights.com.


Dana Talusani September 27, 2014 at 6:35 am


Thank you for the information! Can’t hurt, right?


Jen September 27, 2014 at 6:55 am

I’m in the same FYL danger zone as the days are shortening and getting colder. The difficulty lies in the fact that the further into the danger zone you get, the harder it is to find the energy and wherewithal to be diligent about self care. I’m rooting for us.

Some thoughts on the Mozzaroo: could you try putting the collar on him and having him wear it about the house until he’s forgotten he’s wearing it? Sometimes coaxing with delicious (ideally stinky) treats can help a pup forget his predicament and move about the house. If you can get him to the point of forgetting he’s wearing it, I’d walk him around the yard on a leash (probably with the collar off at first, to avoid mishap) until he feels it is a safe zone again and eventually try to get to the point of collar wearing in-house that transitions to collar wearing outdoors. It’s tough when they are so sensitive to a zap like that but if he understands how it works he may be less anxious. With my old dog, to avoid confusion regarding why he could cross the boundary when we went on a walk but not otherwise, I had a specific command I would use as we were about to cross over (sans collar, of course). Hope Mozzy makes it over the hump!

And thanks for writing about the FYL situation. When everyone else seems to be sailing along through life it’s hard to be gentle with yourself when you hit choppy waters. It helps to know there are others in the same boat.


Dana Talusani September 28, 2014 at 10:47 am


You gave me a lot of good things to think about–thank you!


Dana September 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

It is absolutely not weird to think Fuck You Dinner. I’m now off to read Fuck You Linda.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes September 28, 2014 at 2:14 am

As much as I adore cooking even I think Fuck You Dinner at least three times a week.
To Mozzy: keep up the good work!


Erica September 29, 2014 at 6:08 am

I totally understand. my rough time of year starts when the Christmas decorations go up in the stores. It’s been getting earlier and earlier for years. This is the first time I’ve seen them in September. Totally sucks!


Alison September 30, 2014 at 12:12 am

I like that you’re cooking for your friend – I wish I had someone do that for me.
I also like your plan to stay busy, because I don’t want you to go to Fuck You Linda territory either. xoxo


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri September 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

Maybe some lentils will keep Fuck You Linda out of the way.

Tex-mex and margaritas are a great in San Antonio. Be certain you hit at least one of the local spots. xo


Sherri October 1, 2014 at 7:27 am

I am beginning a new cleansing and taking care of myself routine today. Your zeal for yours is inspiring me to keep it all up.


C. Troubadour October 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Mozz is a heartbreaker. With him and the new cooking project, I’m rooting for a good October and beyond. Would a FYL voodoo doll help?


Dana Talusani October 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm


I adore you. You have no idea what you do re: joy+ gifts in the mail+the Dolls of My Past. They have convinced me the universe is a much better place, knowing that I have a friend like you out there. If you do attempt FYL, do not forget the bright green sweatpants. And sorta in large squid/Krakon form. I am pretty amazed that we crossed paths, and connected in the way we have, and am so grateful. Eww, did that sound sentimental? Ah, fuckit. You’re aces.


C. Troubadour October 7, 2014 at 9:54 am

I will e-mail you for further details — I’m cooking up a wicked FYL doll in my head and there are some key body parts I want to inquire about to capture her … essence. *Attempts to keep from doing a small dance of glee in chair and fails miserably*

Dammit, Kitch, I love you too. Especially grateful for the ways we’ve connected, not even counting the Dolls of Your Past. Pins and needles at the ready for you always, though :)


Naptimewriting October 8, 2014 at 11:37 pm

I’m going to email you. This is silly, this stalking your blog.

Suffice it to say I’m with you on FYL territory. September always brings a freakout that I quickly identify as SAD PTSD. Something about the light in late September makes me think winter is coming (duh) and winter is dark, dark times.

We’ll make it through. xoxox


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