Everyday Life

Em turns one

September 11, 2015

Today we are celebrating the life of our favorite little bully who turns one year old!

Em is a lover of cheese, tennis balls, and people, but could easily go the rest of her life without encountering another vacuum cleaner. She is 25 lbs of pure muscle, feisty as heck, tenacious, energetic, funny, sweet, wiggly, and known in our high rise as the “best dog in the building.” She’s earned that title, for sure, but more than any of that, she earned her place on our hearts as “best thing that has ever happened to us” and “light of our lives.” We’re so lucky to have her. Here’s to many more years together in the sun.

A letter to my dog, exploring the human condition
By Andrea Gibson

Dear squash

Aka squashy
Aka squishy
Aka squasharooni Gibson
Aka squish squash and you don’t stop
Aka miracle button
Aka little perfect peanut
Aka my beating heart with fur and legs
I know you think it’s insane that I still poop in the house
That I choose to wear underwear and pants giving no one the opportunity to smell my true disposition
 That on the days I need to feel better about myself I don’t just pee on someone’s pee
Don’t worry. I am not fooled by my thumbs
I know I am not the tadpole’s final project
I know I am not the last species evolution hopes to become
I can’t even swallow my own pride long enough to let myself drool when something smells delicious
What must you think of my mirror face
Or how much of my day I spend practicing my butch voice
My baby-I’ll-fix-your-carburetor-with-my-tool-kit voice when you know full well there is nothing in my tool kit besides a massive collection of self help books that have helped me do nothing but feng shui the skeletons in my closet
Don’t you just love how that femur accents the sofa set, squash
I’m sorry I cry every time I take you to the vet
I’m sorry they take your temperature like that
I’m sorry I take you there when you’ve only got a bug bite
Humans hold so tight to the leash of life but you will roll in anything dead and wear it like perfume
I wish I had your nose for eternity
 I wish I could see what you see
Where the squirrels satan your eyes
Where the postman deserves to die even when he’s not bringing bills
What’s with hating the shadow the peace lily makes on the floor in the living room?
I know I let you down everyday I choose not to murder the vacuum
Is it bad that I refuse to teach you to not be afraid of men
Is it bad that I want you to keep your bite and your snarl and your gleaming teeth
Is it bad that when they call you a risk, I call you a feminist
You never make fun of your friend Chloe’s underbite
Or your friend willow’s limp
Or your friend Harvey’s past trouble with the law
You never criticize me for being too uptight to let my hair down even though you can let yours all the way out
All over my black hoody, my black pants, the couch, the car, the chair, the online merch store that sells my books and tee-shirts wrote me a letter saying “we can’t continue to sell your products if they continue to be covered in so much of your dog’s hair”
I just assumed anything covered in you would increase in value
Remember when I told that woman I loved her and whispered in your ear “you’re my number one girl” it’s true
If I could I would put your beating heart in my mouth and suck on it like a piece of candy so I could finally understand how you got so sweet
I know my therapist likes you more than she likes me
And I still let you sleep on her couch
You taught me a good nap is the best therapy
You taught me to sit when I damn well want to sit
I don’t care that you never talk about capitalism or patriarchy or the heteronormative hegemonic  paradigm
I know you’re saving the world every time you get poo stuck in your butt hair and you don’t go looking for someone to blame
Speaking of looking for someone
I can’t imagine what you think of sex
I can’t tell if you think it’s a slobbering badly boundaried belly rub or a poorly aimed fist fight
You just perch on the end of the bed and tilt your head back and forth
Wondering why I still haven’t taken my pants off
I have issues, Squash
Humans have issues
We dig holes to bury our own hearts
We chew on our own bones
We escape the predators but still can’t shake them off
Some of us wear our own bodies the way your friend Berlin wore that cone around her head, remember?
So embarrassed, but I never had a better teacher that came to my own spirit than you
Never had a reason to stop playing dead until the day I saw your little face at the shelter
Your little nose pressed against the cold glass, staring up at me like I was a gay Noah’s ark
My heart
My heart
My heart
Every time I give you a treat, you run around the house looking for a place to hide it until you finally come to where I am sitting and hide it directly under me
The most important thing I have ever built in my whole life is your trust
May you always feel entitled to more than your fair share of the bed
May you always tear the stuffing out of every toy I give you
So I can constantly be reminded to keep spilling my guts
To keep saying I don’t know how I will ever make peace with the shortness of your life span
But I promise to make sure you know you are so loved every second you are here
You know my hands will build the sturdiest ark they possibly can
To hold your holy howl and your holy bark and your holy beg
Squasharooni Gibson
My little perfect peanut
My beating heart with fur and legs
Everyday Life

Get Low

February 16, 2015


You know things are bad when the puppy has peed on your comforter by 5 AM, the only thing you’ve eaten in over 24 hours has been three pretzels, and a paper due later in the day for family therapy is only half done. But you live across the street from a dry cleaner, and you can probably stand to lose a few pounds, and you know that there’s always the option to say “Fuck This Shit I’m Out,” and move to Thailand, so it’s not all bad.

That was the early February slump. The world went quiet, misty, grey-blue, and dark just as Tim Burton would devise it, and so too did our spirits. I had more work to do than I could manage, and I couldn’t bring myself to look at the calendar, the to-do list, the schedule, my email, or my course syllabi. The thought of another night coming home at 11:00 PM was too much to bear, and even more so was the thought of another day without sunshine, or another evening full of nothing but correcting the puppy’s mischievous behavior. I was just so exhausted. The only thing I felt I had the energy to do was put my head down on my stacks of neon yellow, pink, and blue-streaked papers, and cry until I made a watercolor.

When I’m feeling low, I remember that I’m a grown woman and can do whatever I want, and I let myself feel just that. Sometimes it’s the only thing I want to do. But when I’m feeling defeated, actually defeated by work, by school, by deadlines, by the socially constructed and self-imposed ideal of busy — I just laugh. Sometimes it’s the only sensible thing to do.

The upshot to being busy and stressed is that the days fly by, and there is always the promise of an easeful, fun weekend with Alex, boozy peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes, the outdoors, greasy diner food, a Harry Potter moving-watching marathon with a crazy puppy that sometimes sleeps, and these days, SUNSHINE. Two days of solid goodness (and whatever the opposite of bullshit is), and that is really not all bad.


Now that the slump seems to be over, and the sun has made an appearance several times, and there are only three more papers left to write, things are really looking up for me.

If you’re wondering about Alex, however, it’s a different story: things always look up for him. I presume this is largely because he’s got stress management, doing hard things, being good at doing hard things, and not totally sucking at life down to a science. Over the past several weeks his new boss has been requesting new features he’d like to see created and pushed out for the complicated back-end of their website, all of which, unbeknownst to him, had already been thought of and completed by Alex. See what I mean? Down to a science. In an environment where being right and doing things right — all the time — are of utmost importance, this particular trait reflects well on his image. The features he created were just some of the production goals he has met that he is hopeful will help to get him promoted this year, a task that is notoriously difficult to accomplish at his place of employment. I’m incredibly proud of him.

We’re wrapping up February with something like the flu, and a semi-celebration of my birthday on Thursday, and really not much else noteworthy other than the usual, like wrangling a puppy, eating burgers, and potentially doing something outdoors. Perhaps we’ll start officially planning and choosing concrete dates for our European vacation, or start planning a trip for our dating anniversary, or maybe, because that all involves doing things, we’ll just call it good for the month.

I hope your February has been well, and that unlike Alex (and all employees that can’t simply not do their jobs just because it’s president’s day), you get to enjoy a day a nice day off today.

I also hope it wasn’t the team you love that gave up the ball to the Patriots at the goal line and lost the super bowl.

See you soon.

Everyday Life

Good Intentions: 2015

January 6, 2015

2015 feels BIG — like there is nothing but possibilities and challenges and joys for the taking — and we are going to grab it all with both hands and hang on for the ride. The feeling that this year will be a great one is pretty overwhelming.

Last year, with extensive help from my therapist, I learned how to set goals without necessarily marrying myself to them, and this year, I’m taking action to do just that. Instead of making resolute…resolutions…I’ve decided instead to set some tentative, totally-able-to-change-or-not-happen-at-all-without-me-freaking-out intentions for 2015, and struck up a conversation about it with Alex, who also has some intentions of his own.

Here’s what we came up with for the new year:

Alex has only two intentions that he is truly passionate about pursuing this year, and perhaps the biggest one is refining his trading edge and skill. Aside from programming, it’s the one hobby he has that he gets the most satisfaction from, and after progressing by leaps and bounds in 2014, he is super excited about the potential for even bigger success this year. On a more professional level, he is hopeful for a promotion at work this year — something that has been talked about by his manager for about a year now – and he intends to finish up a couple big projects with his name on them to solidify it.

As for me, what I intend to do most in 2015 is choose happiness, even if it means saying no, even if it means drawing boundaries, even if it means doing something I am completely afraid of doing, even if it means pushing myself, even if it feels like the pursuit is going to kill me. Part of choosing happiness is choosing to surround myself with more people who value me, who listen to me, and who fill my life with positivity, while saying a long overdue goodbye to those who just simply cannot be a part of my journey anymore. In 2015, I intend to be an advocate for myself and my needs, and pursue the things that will lead to my mental, physical, emotional and professional betterment. In 2015, I intend to overcome my depression, be kinder to myself, release myself from perfectionism and anxiety, and become the person I know I have the capacity to become.

Our collective intentions, however, are a little more exciting and a little less heavy. We’d like to spend some more time in the North Cascades, take a backpacking trip or two (we would go berserk if we got another Enchantments permit, but we’re not holding our breath…), take a trip down to Mount Rainier for the first time since we’ve lived here (I know, I know…), go camping with Em for the first time, do anything at all (camping? drinking in the woods? both?) with Amelia and Brent, and take a European vacation, where spending a day on a glacier is our #2 priority.

Oh, and we’d be super pleased to live up to our Meyers-Briggs personality type resolutions (I am an INFJ, according to official assessments; Alex is an INTJ, according to the internet).

We hope that you are well, and that whether or not you feel particularly positive about the new year, that it exceeds all of your expectations.

Here’s to hoping that every day, every month, and every year is better, easier, and hopefully happier than the next.

Everyday Life, Featured Post

Meet Em

November 14, 2014

At long last, we’d like to formally introduce you to the newest addition of the Fort family!

Born 9-11-2014
Currently 9 weeks old
Weighs a bit over 6 lbs
Loves her stuffless raccoon, rope dinosaur, rope octopus, kong, and antler
Doesn’t exactly enjoy her collar
Sleeps through the night (knock wood)
Mostly goes potty where she is supposed to 😉
Incredibly energetic

She has been home with us for a week now, and it has been quite an adventure so far!

We are all adjusting well, I’d say. Aries has been so patient, and simply walks away when Em starts to chase her, nip at her tail, or become overly rambunctious in her presence. As for Alex and me, we’re still kind of getting over the shock of how much work it takes to raise a puppy — no amount of researching can ever prepare you for the feeling —  but we absolutely adore her. She is such a good girl, is learning quickly, and is endlessly entertaining. We’ve gotten a kick out of watching her bunny-hop furiously across the room, and fall off of our laps and onto the couch because she is so tiny. She is the best dog in the world to us, and if you met her, you may be hard-pressed to call us biased. 😉 We can’t wait to to watch her grow up, and are so glad she is ours.


6 years, 4 months, 3 days

August 10, 2013

A visit to New Jersey, a “missed” train, a Christmas in North Carolina, an impromptu lease signing in Maryland, Garth Brooks on the radio and a U-Haul headed to Georgia, a treasure hunt, a little velvet box, moving boxes labeled “—> Seattle,” 7 months of rain, 2 months of sunshine, and then…a haze of blues, greens, and greys, ivory lace, tears, cheers, camera shutters, love, and unimaginable joy. Continue Reading…


6 years, 4 months, 3 days: Nearly weds

August 10, 2013

“This is it, man. This is life — just walkin’ together, and takin’ it day-by-day” was the first thing we heard as we entered a very crowded Golden Gardens. What followed was an abundance of applause, cheers, and congratulations as we made our way through the park to where we would pose for portraits. The attention added to our excitement, and were having the time of our lives. Continue Reading…