Friday, April 29, 2011

Views from the Home Office

To the left:

To the right:


Only one pic of the Dude, because he didn't move all day.

There's something to be said for working from home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cranky Questions

  • When you call customer service at big companies and their automated systems require that you enter your phone/account number, why do the operators always start the conversation by asking you your phone/account number?
  • If I can pick the exact colour for the look I'm thinking of 90% of the time, why does it always take me three or four cans of paint before I figure out how to fix it when I don't get the colour right the first time?
  • Why did the RCMP close the highway today, all the way from the west side of town to the east side of town, causing everybody to detour over 45 minutes out of their way, just to avoid an accident that happened 10 blocks from the highway on the east side of town?  
  • Why do the dogs wait until I'm in the most crankiest of moods, and walking in front of a couple of  seriously hot guys, before they bust out with the worst of their horrible behaviour?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rewarded by laziness

Looking back on last year's blog entries, I see that I posted about a week earlier in April to say that I had blooming tulips and lots of garden progress.  This year, things are not as far ahead.

Snow ball fight, anybody?

On the bright side, the tulips are popping up and getting ready to bloom... I figure a few weeks from now, they'll be on full show.

The Mystery Plant that I still haven't identified is green and happy.  When it blooms this year, I'm going to take a picture of it to the local nursery and get it identified.

The bigger peonies are just barely starting to come out of the ground.

You have to look carefully for the red shoots.

So is the iris that the lady from the local golf course gave me.  (Every year, they split a lot of their perennials.  The landscaper out there hears about my gardens from my mom, who practically lives out there, so she always sends me goodies.)

Other than 'It's an Iris', I don't know what this will look like.

Trees are still pretty dormant, but I can always count on the lilacs to come out early.

Last year, I didn't get around to cutting back most of my gardens.  I usually do it by late October, but that didn't happen.  So, the snow flew and piled up high around the plants, and when the spring came, I found some surprises.

The snap dragons - very much an annual in this climate - is sprouting and trying to grow back.   They're struggling, but I'll leave them there for a few more weeks to see how they do.

Then, in my annual garden, there's a surprising amount of greenery.  Last year, after Winter ate my lavatera seeds, I had to go out and buy replacements.  Lavatera plants were scarce, so I bought two flats of dianthus seedlings... which are also an annual plant, I thought.  All two flats of them (except one plant) are coming back like gang busters.

Which leads me to wonder - where will the lavatera go this year?

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Latest Toy

You guessed right.

Sam gets truckloads of poop.  I get a composter.   I wonder what it says about me that I'm still jealous of her?

I was going to build a basic wood and chicken wire frame for a compost pile and then plant climbers all around it.  The problem is, I've said I'd do that for at least 5 summers and I still don't have a place for compost.  So, a few weeks ago, when I found myself wandering through the garden equipment section at Costco and saw compost tumblers at a really good price, I decided I had to have one.  Little did I know that it'd take over 6 hours to put together or that it'd be big enough to second as a bomb shelter.

Either way, my dad and I spent the afternoon doing yard work and loading it up with everything we could think of.  There's a long way's to go to get this thing even close to full, but it's a step in the right direction.

Let the composting begin!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A teaser, and a new challenge

I got a new toy a while ago.  Unfortunately, it's not ready for presentation yet, but I'll show you something else that'll give you a hint about what it is.  I've had this for a long time, in anticipation of the new toy.  It's just taken a while to figure out how to make it work in my little city space.

Note the air holes.
No.  Oscar the Grouch has not relocated to Where the Fur Flies.

In other news, I've decided to take on a new personal challenge.  Last year, I read every book that I heard or read good reviews about.  It expanded my horizons, and exposed me to some great books.  This year, I'm focusing on produce.  That's right.  I'm going to try suggested produce (or recipes for produce), even if I'm dubious.  I do have a fairly healthy diet, in that I try to eat a lot of fruits in veggies, but I'm stuck in a rut.    I tend to eat the same things over and over again, and I need to find something new.

So far, I tried Pioneer Woman's Bourbon mushrooms and Dawn in Austin DC's Brussels sprouts.  In both cases, I switched things up a little bit.  Not because I thought my recipe would be better, but because that's what I do.  The mushrooms were a no-brainer (I love mushrooms), but the Brussels sprouts were a little riskier.  I don't dislike Brussels sprouts, but I don't usually love them.  I have to tell you, though - Dawn's Brussels sprouts are good!  I cut way back on the garlic, and added the juice of a lemon while cooking them.  Then I sprinkled with a little bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  It was so good that I ate it for lunch.  Just a big bowl of Brussels sprouts.  Yum.

My next challenges are to try a dragon fruit, which I've never had before, and guava fruit, which I suspect is the mystery fruit I've had a few times in California and never managed to identify.  Then maybe I'll work up the nerve to make the blueberry hamburger patty recipe that I've been saving for the last 4 years.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pattes de poule

Somebody had his teeth done this week, which means that they shaved his leg for the IV.

 Pattes de poule - aka chicken legs

He's got awful teeth because he won't chew or let me go anywhere near him with a toothbrush.

Show them what you've got Cotton:

Yeah, that's a lot of teeth missing - and they pulled three more this time.

As much as it makes me sound awful, I'm half tempted to have them pull them all out.  (No, I wouldn't really do that.)   I can't afford $500 a year to keep doing this, but I don't see a lot of choice.  There's a direct link to the condition of his teeth to the rest of his health... for one thing, the worse his teeth are, the goopier his eyes and ears get.   The next time you consider a breed with "bad teeth" listed as a characteristic, listen carefully folks.  It's about more than pearly whites.

In the meantime, I'll get a few weeks when it won't seem like I'm sleeping with a fish monger.  WOO-EE, was his breath bad...  Even Tallulah kept her distance.

It's a good thing he's cute, I tell you.

Monday, April 18, 2011


This is an adaptation of Pioneer Woman's burgundy mushroom recipe.


4 pounds of button mushrooms.  (Ideally, these should be bite sized, but you can halve or quarter them too.  It just doesn't look as pretty.)
1/4 pound (~1/2 cup) of butter
3/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 cups red wine (I used Zinfandel)
2 cups boiling water
2 veggie bouillon cubes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp minced garlic

Wash mushrooms, chop the ends off and throw them into large stock pot.
Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water, and add to mushrooms.
Add all remaining ingredients to mushrooms.
Bring to boil at medium high heat
reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 6 hours
remove lid, then continue cooking for a few more hours.

My mom loves mushrooms over toast.  I prefer them beside a piece of crusty bread with some salad.  Alternatively, if you don't feel that a meal's complete without some meat, you can use them to top a piece of grilled chicken or a steak.  Either way, it's a big recipe so I hope you like mushrooms.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Foot Fettish

Foot size before I had stress fractures in both feet 7 years ago - 8 1/2 narrow
Foot size for 5 years following stress fractures - 9 medium
Foot size for ~ 6 months until health issues cause foot swelling - 8 1/2 - 9 medium
Foot size during edema issues - Shoes didn't fit, period.  On a good day, I could wear 9 1/2 wide slippers.

Guess who bought size 8 narrow shoes today!

Yeah, I know: this style must fit large, but I want to celebrate the 8 anyway.  I thought about buying sandals, but I was so happy that my feet fit comfortably into these structured shoes, I had to bring them home.

Sorry. I'll stop talking about my feet now.

Until I buy some more shoes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laundry Day

One of the biggest differences that I've noticed as the dogs age is that they aren't very keen to wake up in the mornings.   I have to poke and prod them to get them up to go outside in the mornings, and then they usually go right back to my room and curl up on the bed again once they're done.

This morning was laundry day, so I set about stripping the bed.  I pulled the top comforter out from under Tallulah and banished her to another bed.   Then I started gathering the sheets to be washed.

The Dude just about found himself in the washing machine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oldie by Goodie

The picture quality is horrible, and both dogs desperately need a haircut; but this picture makes me smile every time I see it.

Tallulah was about 6 months in this picture.  She was the same size as Cotton when she came home, but it wasn't long before she was big enough for Cotton to use her legs as weave poles.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I know you all think I'm crazy...

... but I'm going back to work.

I'm going nuts here, with the lack of activity.  Plus, I feel like I've turned a corner this week, in that I've been managing to get through the days without naps or pain killers.  I figure it's time.

I know it also sounds crazy to do this, but I contacted the boss to see what she thinks.  I'll qualify that by saying that I don't have the average boss.  This one's pretty great - she expects a lot from her staff but she's got our backs; she's not a slave driver by any means.    She said they've managed OK without me, but will be happy to have me back.  I could come back on my own schedule, and suggested modified work hours to start.  

I average 200-250 emails a day at work and I've been gone for 6 weeks without reading any.   I figure it'll take me a few days to get through all the email, so I'm going to quietly sneak in for a few afternoons this week and go through them.  I'll work a few full days next week, ease back into my normal responsibilities, and if I feel up to it, I'll aim to go back full time after Easter.  To tell you the truth, I'm kind of relieved.  I really wasn't meant to be a lady of leisure.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tallulah Tales

  • Tallulah is a reincarnation of the princess from the Princess & the Pea.  She sleeps on the furniture, but prefers to have additional pillows on top of the furniture - the softer the better.  There was a pillow under the covers this morning, so she made herself fit.  I'm not sure how she thought that was more comfortable.

  • Not sure why I'm posting this picture, other than it cracks me up.  Pour José.
  • In other news, I broke the cardinal rule today and gave Tallulah a bite of pizza crust when nobody was looking.  I suspect I'll never have pizza in peace again.
  • I could get in trouble for saying this - no doubt Tallulah will deny it - but, well, I'll let the electronics say it for me.  

Say it isn't so.

There's a reason why she doesn't get people food.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Confirmation and indecision

This is a time when I wish I was wrong.  Cotton had a vet appointment today.  She confirmed what I've thought for a while. He's going blind.  I figured this was the case, since he hasn't been able to go up or down stairs after dark for about a year.  He's got cataracts, which are not painful; he's just losing his sight.  There is the option of (very expensive) surgery to fix this, but I'm going to wait and see.  He's mostly an inside dog, so if he adjusts OK, I'll probably let nature take its course.

I'm not sure what to do about work.  I had originally planned to be off work for eight weeks.  However, based on the success of the surgery and the fact that I was released from the hospital a few days earlier than expected, my surgeon told me I could probably go back to work after six weeks.  Today is five weeks, and I'm not feeling quite ready to go back.  I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still pretty tired and sore.  I'm not sure if another week will make enough of a difference.   Then again, maybe I'm sleeping so much because I'm in vacation mode.  My job's not exactly physical, so whether I'm sore at home or work shouldn't make a difference, should it?  I  might end up touching base with the Boss to see what she says.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This'n That

  • Did you see Grey's Last night?  LOVED IT.  It may not have been the best singing all around, but Sara Ramirez (Callie) blew it out of the water.  That opening sequence was amazing.
  • I also watched Mobbed, which I'd recorded earlier.  It's about flash mobs, which I generally enjoy.  This one was good - actually pretty impressive, considering the limited prep time - but I'm still in awe that anyone would want to marry such a snivelling, jealous woman.    Men, please take note - if your girlfriend doesn't trust you, marrying her won't change anything.
  • They mentioned doing a flash mob for somebody wanting to quit their job.  I'd love to see that.
  • It's gorgeous outside today. The snow's melting so fast that you can hear water trickling everywhere, even when you're inside.  It makes me want to go jump in some puddles.
  • Since March 3, I have had a total of 5 cans of pop.  I used to drink at least 2 a day, but I took advantage of the pain killers from the surgery to deal with the caffeine withdrawal headaches.  I think it's safe to say that my addiction is gone.
  • Google totally got me with GMail motion, hook line and sinker.  It seemed kind of clumsy, but I figured I should give it a try. 
And an addition, because I need to whine.
  • I was sideswiped by a bull mastiff today.  Those muscles that stop you from falling when somebody (something) knocks your knees out from the back of the legs?  Those are ab muscles.  Ouch.