Something Good #14
adding a new member to my family
Hi, I'm Nina Iordanova and this is the 14th edition of Something Good, a newsletter filtered through my 🧠, 🖐, and ❤️. Coming your way every two weeks, I hope you find something good here.
Hi! I’m getting a puppy!
It felt surreal to put a deposit down but I did it three weeks ago and now there’s space dust gathering out there, getting ready to form into a puppy sometime this winter or spring!
My girl’s gonna be a chocolate lab. Her name might be Georgia or Lila or Junebug or it might be something else entirely, the same way I spent 10 minutes reading an ice cream store’s menu online so I could narrow it down to chocolate peanut butter or coffee ice cream, and ended up walking out with banana malt.
Now when I sit on my living room couch, I’ve started looking at the empty end of it and whispering, “Good girl, Lila,” feeling how the words sound in my mouth, picturing a puppy curled into a floppy puppy shape. When I walk down the street, I look at the spot beside me and say, “Yes, Georgia,” preparing for the day when a small furry brown creature lopes beside me, looking up at the sound of her name.
There’s a huge goofy grin on my face every time I think about her.
It’s weird to love something you haven’t even met yet. And you’re welcome to remind me of this when I’m two weeks into puppy training, covered in pink eye, unshowered, and losing my mind over how much she barks and why she won’t for the love of god stop peeing in the house.
There are still a lot of months left til I get her, but if anything that’s only made me more obsessive. I’ve started wandering around my house with a tape measure, planning where her crate and her bed and her food bowl will go, drafting up spreadsheet on top of spreadsheet of what I’ll need to buy for her.
(She’ll be cold by the window so I can’t put her there, but there’s a nook in the hallway and a spot by my bed that both look very promising. I also can’t forget to get a couch blanket for her, one that’s maybe waterproof and definitely machine washable.)
In a weird way, it’s also made me a lot more understanding of my parents.
This is just a dog (that I don’t have yet), and it’s ratcheting up certain parts of my personality in ways that are hard to understand. Things that are probably veeeeery annoying, like spending months (!!!) looking at different puppies and breeders, creating multiple budgets and spreadsheets to prepare for her arrival, and watching countless videos about how to train her. All of which are reasonable in a general way, but maybe not so much when they’re turned up to 11.
It’s a mix of love (this is what taking care of you means to me) and fear (what if I do this wrong?) on the inside, but I think it can come out looking all tangled.
A lot of the things my mom does out of love frustrate me to no end, because all I see is the fear in them. How she tells me every summer to watch out for ticks if I go to grassy areas, or the latest study she’s read about a new thing that can kill you, or how she hovers around me every time I use a knife just in case I hurt myself.
I don’t think holding on so tightly to something feels good, but it’s also hard to stop. Especially when you don’t know you’re doing it.
So preparing for my puppy has simultaneously made me get my mom more, and also realize that I have to cut myself off from my spreadsheets and measuring tape for a while and just let things be.
I started singing lessons this week.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but could never quite get around to. It didn’t seem worth the cost, I couldn’t commit to the time, I was too embarrassed to sing in front of someone, blah blah blah - whenever I started to consider it, I always found a very reasonable reason not to.
And then I just did it.
When my teacher asked me why I took the lessons and what I wanted to get out of them, I said I used to sing in high school. That my grandma and my mom both used to sing, and it seemed like a nice thing to keep in the family.
“You’re a soprano. Is that what your grandma sings too?” the teacher asked me at the end of the first lesson.
It made me do a double-take.
My grandma, the one that used to sing, sang in a folk choir in Bulgaria. She had to have knee surgery and then needed a cane to walk around, and she became so embarrassed at how old she was getting and what people would say about her cane that she stopped going to choir.
She passed away last year.
When we talk about her with my family, we all have that knowledge. And it’s not that my singing teacher’s question was sad or shocking or made “the weight of her passing suddenly hit” - it was just unexpected to have this one part of my life that was so compartmentalized to my family brought up by a complete stranger, in a context I never expected.
And to think, I’m not sure if my grandma was a soprano. And I can’t ask her. And besides your family knowing that your grandma’s dead, this is another way you know it’s true.
But the lessons are great and I’m really enjoying them. I continue to be humbled by spending 45 minutes practicing the first 6 notes of a song.
One day you’ll get a singing video but for now…
*cues up Brooklyn Nine-Nine and NOT a puppy training video*
I hope you’re having a good week, wherever you are.
Know someone else who likes these kinds of stories? Send them this newsletter! :-)
Was Something Good forwarded to you? You can subscribe here.
Thanks for reading and I'll see you in two weeks! 👋