Pets

There is apparently a small problem with having some time off from work around the end of July, beginning of August. I start to think about adding pets to the house. This was not a problem when we had four furry creatures, but less than that and I start to think, and look, and really want another pet. Last year I decided to “just look” at dogs and ended up, on the first visit, falling in love with Arthas. Although in my defense, how does one not fall in love with this face.IMG_20170814_122232

This year I was so busy for June and most of July that I barely had time to think about a new cat. I went through the “I’m not ready” phase, then the “Tigger isn’t ready” phase, then the “it’s not a good idea” phase, followed closely by the “I’m good with just the two boys” phase, and then hit the “oh screw it, I want another cat” phase. I can give you twelve different logical reasons why a new kitty is a bad idea (and counters to every one of them) – Arthas has issues with other animals (but he does fine once he knows the animal and it doesn’t rush him – we can train a cat), Tigger had his world turned upside down four times in the last year and he needs stability (he has always had other kitty companions and might like the company), I have a full time job plus an internship coming up (cat will still get more attention and love than she would in a shelter), and we have no idea what my job situation will be like in a year (technically this is always true, so why should this year be any different).

So … I started looking. I went to a few area shelters, scoured petfinder.com and just looked and looked for the right kitty. Bob went with me a few times to look at kitties and there were one or two that I really wanted to be the right cat, but just weren’t.  There was one cat that I wanted to want to bring home (ok, more than one, but one in particular) as she was sweet, calm, friendly and super cute (admittedly I think most cats are super cute, so take that with however much salt you need) but something kept stopping me from taking her. There were two kittens I really wanted to want, but they just weren’t right either.

I want the feeling I got when I first saw Jessie or Gracie or any of my other babies – that feeling of you belong with me and I just can’t wait to bring you home. I want to be eager for Bob to meet the kitty and fall as much in love with her as I will and I just haven’t found that yet. Add to this mix I want a cat the boys will be ok with, and maybe even like (I do have little fantasies of our own“Dear Kitten” video moments). I know it will be an adjustment period, and we have so much going on right now that it is a bad idea, but I’m going to keep looking. Heck, if I can go to multiple shelters over multiple days and not bring a kitten home, I think I can be trusted to wait for the right cat, and not just the right time. But for now, I’m going to enjoy my boys – cause the are super cute and super sweet and my babies (ok, Arthas has become Bob’s dog, but he is still my boy).

Pupsicles!

It has been just over a year since we got Arthas. We thought about getting him some puppy ice-cream for his anniversary date, but when I looked at the ingredients, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. After a little thought I decided to make my own “puppy ice cream” but make them more popsicle like. The shelter had used frozen chicken broth with milk bones in them for treats, so we did a play on this concept.

IMG_20170807_111004Basic, cheap ice-cube trays from the dollar store were perfect for portioning out the treats. I found a recipe on-line and modified it just a little. Erin was super helpful and very encouraging (I am way more creative when she is around) so we just got a few ingredients and made pupsicles.

These are stupidly simple to make. Yogurt, honey, peanut butter and a banana. Mix then portion into the ice-cube tray and add a milk bone in the center as a stick/handle. They froze in about two hours, although we did keep them in the tray a little longer to solidify more. Except for the milk bone, these are all human ingredients so technically you could eat them too.

Recipe:

  • 16 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ripe banana
  • small Milk bone dog biscuits

Mash the banana with a fork in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Portion out into ice-cube trays and add the milk bone biscuit in the center for a handle. Freeze.

Arthas loved these. Small snack for him, but perfect for these really hot days.

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Progress Report

We are half way through the year and I thought it would be a good time to measure progress. Like all good teachers, I want to see where I am, and what I need to do to get to where I need to be. Have I learned what I wanted? Do I need to go back and revisit something?

School: I just finished my 9th class and have three more to go before I graduate. I am pretty sure this is the *last* time I am going back to school – two master’s degrees is enough and I don’t have it in my to go for the PhD. I registered for the Florida exam for next month and I have the next few weeks to study for it, so hopefully that will be enough time. Three more classes. (deep breath) I can do this.

Pets: If I am being completely honest, I did not expect to be here pet-wise. Somehow, even knowing that Leia was sick, I though she would pull through, get all better and still be making Arthas love her. I miss that cat. I miss Gracie and Jessie too, but I’ve had longer to adjust to losing them and having Tigger, Leia and Arthas around definitely helped. Arthas is awesome even if he isn’t the easiest dog, but he is pretty great and I am so glad we adopted him last year. I am trying to not add another cat to the house, but I do miss having more than one. I need to go back to work *soon* so I don’t have time to look at adorable kitties that need a home.

Wine: I am having a ton of fun with my little wine experiment. I went back through all my notes from the last two months (yes, I take notes) and did discover a few things:

  • I *think* I can identify cherry, mineral, apple, and peach in wines fairly consistently. They are about the only flavors I can identify with any regularity.
  • I don’t like earthy dark wines. This is not a shock, but there is it.
  • Barbera, Zinfandel, Pino Noir, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc – when done well – are delicious wines.
  • Tannat is not to my taste
  • Chien Blanc and Muscadet are amazing. I need more of these wines in my life
  • Un-oaked or very minimal oak Chardonnay is actually really good. Who knew!
  • I still have no idea what “legs” are supposed to look like in low, medium and high alcohol wines. I guess, but I think I’m guessing wrong.
  • Yes, there is a difference between the ten-dollar bottle of wine and the thirty-dollar bottle of wine. There is. That isn’t to say the ten dollar bottle doesn’t have a place, it does, but there is a difference.

Travel: Bob and I have not done much traveling this year for a variety of reasons. We did manage a quick weekend trip to St. Augustine Beach where we did pretty much nothing, and that was awesome. Nothing is planned for the rest of this year, but I’m starting to think about next year and where we might like to go. A lot is going to depend on airfares, my job situation and the pets, but I’m starting to think.

Food: I love food and I love eating. I really don’t like eating the same things over and over, and work plus school makes it hard to be really creative. I’ve given myself a bit of a break and just accepted that I can do some creative cooking, but not a lot right now and I know I will barely have time to cook this fall. I do think I’ve had a few culinary successes this year and I’m sure I will get back to more experiments, but for now … it is what it is.

So that’s it. I’m going to work on identifying aromas and tastes in wine, finish school, try to keep from getting another cat and find some more easy, yet delicious and interesting foods to make. Hopefully in six months, I will have accomplished all of that, but if not, there is always next year. 🙂

 

Waffles

Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please. Breakfast for brunch? Yes, please. Breakfast for … well, anything? Absolutely.

I love breakfast foods, although I almost never eat breakfast. The only thing my stomach wants in the morning is coffee, so that is what I do. But I love breakfast foods and waffles are one of my favorites.

There isn’t anything hard about waffles, and these always turn out pretty perfect. The trick is to use actual buttermilk. I’ve tried soy milk with vinegar, but it really isn’t the same. Buttermilk.  I adapted the recipe below from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. You know, the old hardback with the orange cover that everyone’s mother had in the ’70s and ’80? Yep, I have a copy of it and for some things, it still does the trick.

  • Buttermilk Waffles:
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients together except the flour and stir until well combined. Mix in flour a little at a time until you have a pourable paste consistency. (Think a little thicker than Elmer’s School Glue.) Pour 1/4 of the mixture into hot waffle iron and cook per iron directions. Waffles should be golden and crispy.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

And just because they are cute …

Tigger was trying to help me study and Arthas tried to help fold laundry. I love my boys, but some days they make things harder than they need to be. Still wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Can I help you?

Arthas is a good boy. He may not be consumed by wanting to make us happy, but he doesn’t want us unhappy and he does listen fairly well. He does pretty good on his walks too (which he is starting to ask for) so long as he doesn’t get rushed by another dog. I’ve gotten good at crossing the street and distracting him and he is actually easier to handle at this age than Jessie was when she got riled. Of course she wanted to go say hi and he wants to avoid saying hi, but you get the point.

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So it amused me today when we were out for our morning walk when I saw a dog coming up the sidewalk. We crossed to the median until they could go by since I like to avoid problems if possible. Arthas took a second tug to get him to cross but he did fine (this wasn’t our usual route so he is slow and not as confident as he is on our usual route – you know being mostly blind and all). As the lady with the dog went by she started yelling that I “would never have control” of Arthas with a harness and I should “never use a retractable leash.” I was a little irritated I told Arthas to sit, which he did, and just looked at the lady as she continued to berate me for my choice of dog walking kit. Her dog then started barking at Arthas, who growled in response but didn’t move and then it ran – and almost toppled the lady who continued to tell me that I didn’t have proper control of my dog. I just looked at Arthas, looked at her dog, looked at her and say, “I’ve got this” and went to the other side of the road. I was so proud of how well behaved Arthas was that I may have given him another cookie.

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Seriously, does he look like a problem dog?

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I think we got this.

Leia

Bob and I said goodbye to Miss Leia this morning. She had ten good years, almost eleven, and for a kitten that was given about two years, I’ll count that as a success.

Leia wasn’t a conventionally cute cat, or even a conventional cat. She often acted more like a dog, coming to greet us when we came home and she liked to be in the same room as us. When it was cold, she liked Bob’s lap and she seemed to love people. Her nose was much commented on and she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be funny looking. I always thought she was beautiful and adorable and she will always have the best paws. She was also the sweetest kitten and she loved everyone – even Arthas after a time. Her passing leaves a very large hole.

Leia got sick at that November holiday (that I simply refuse to acknowledge anymore) and she fought to get better, but ultimately she could not hold out any longer. This week we knew it was time and she knew it too. I fell in love with that cat the first time I saw her, as a 6 month old kitten with a sinus infection. I loved her as I held her and pet her as the vet helped her pass and I will continue to love her.

The past twelve months have been rough. Jessie, Gracie and now Leia. The pets that defined my thirties are slowly leaving. The plan to is just enjoy the boys for a while and give Tigger and Arthas some stability. That is the plan, but I’m not ruling out anything.

Pets are great

After a long week, after a hard week where is seems like everything happens at once and there are no breaks, it it nice to come home and just enjoy the furry ones.

They have been very cute and cuddly recently. Leia isn’t feeling so great, but Tigger and Arthas have been good with her. I even saw them laying paw-to-paw the other morning, but they moved before I could get a picture of it.

May is shaping up to be as busy as expected, so expect more wine posts and less food posts. Wine is easy – it requires almost no pre-planning and the posts themselves are fast. I can open a bottle and sip a glass while doing school work, something I can’t do with cooking. I also *may* have a few already written and waiting to go.