Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Irish Eyes

Matt and I went to the Gettysburg Irish Festival on Saturday, and we had a nice time. The highlight for me was the Irish Wolfhounds. There were 7 hounds there, and believe me that is a lot of hound. This woman had four!!!!
Check out those eyes!
And who is that looking at me under the chair?

Look where the man's knee comes to on that dog!

This is the one that was 37" at the shoulder and weighed in at 170lb. He is looking over the little girl's head:

He's got four on leashes here. Notice his kilt. Also, the one on the far left is Agnes. She's a 10-year-old, which is really old for an Irish Wolfhound:

This is the 170-pounder again:
This was one of the smaller ones:
A whole lot of belly to rub.....and I'm not going to tell you who I'm referring to:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Buying It

Clothing: Got a top and a skirt (gasp!) at Eddie Bauer for 70% off.

Food: Foraged 2 gallons of raspberries/blackberries, so that’s free-to-us food. I made a cream cheese dip out of the Blackberry Chipotle sauce I canned last year, it was *fantastic* so I’m going to can another batch or two of that this year as well, probably mixed berries.

The refrigerator is getting full with small amounts of a large variety of veggies; not enough to really do anything with, but enough to make it hard to get anything else in there. Cooking steak this evening with sides of leeks and….not sure. Maybe grilled squash.
Household: I took the advice of a friend and started putting a pinch of corn meal in my face wash to use as a scrub, and you know it works just as well as the $40/bottle stuff I usually use, which I’m almost out of. Great tip.

Utilities: The A/C units are STILL not in, it has still been soooo cool. I don’t think I have ever seen, in my 34 years, a summer without air conditioning; it would be wonderful. Also, we installed a programmable thermostat for use during the heating season. We can set the temp for low during the day when we’re not home, and set it to come up shortly before we get home.

Gifts: Nada. I did have a younger cousin and his wife come visit my parents, and the 6 of us all went out to dinner but my parents paid.

Home and Garden: See garden blog for garden info, it is doing well. Matt maid 3 very nice benches and a table for the fire pit area, all out of the logs we had from the pines we cut down.

Weaknesses: Went to the beer mart, got beer. *7 six-packs* of beer. We were almost out, you see, and….well….

Purging: I purged about 4-5 inches of hair. Yup, got my hair cut. I also need to go through my clothes again, fall clothes too, because I’m apparently dropping a bit more weight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Max, One Year Out

It doesn’t seem quite possible, but it was a year ago yesterday that Max had the surgery on his eye. And, in a strange twist of coincidence, he also had a 6-month check up with the Doggy Ophthalmologist yesterday.

I HATE the drive down there. It works out to an hour and fifteen minutes, usually, and if I don’t hit it just right I can get stuck in morning, evening, or lunch rush hour traffic because it is sooooo close to DC. This time I hit very little traffic, but there was some road construction. And Max, as usual, would lay down only to pop back up every time I changed lanes, sped up, slowed down, or passed or was passed by someone.

Once we got there we only had a 10min wait. One thing I like about Dr. Caruso is that she always seems to be training someone, which I find to be a worthwhile disturbance. The VCA hospitals
are nationwide and there are a LOT of them, so usually it is a VCA vet, but this time in addition there was a 4th year vet student from Virginia Tech.

The exam went well, no change in his left (bad) eye and everything looks healthy in there. The right (good) eye was also ok, no sign of lens loosening which was very good news. She did say the cataract in that eye had grown a bit, but he is getting older so that’s not unexpected. In short, no major changes or real changes to the medication list we’re currently doing.

Due to the various drops and tests she wanted to do we spent two more half-hour stints in the waiting room which can be very entertaining and sometimes sad.

  • a lesbian couple came in with their cat shortly after I arrived. Not sure what was going on but their cat was in for some sort of treatment; they were still there when I left almost 2 hours later. We had some nice conversation.
  • not one but two Newfies were there with different owners. One was especially hairy, and one of the cat ladies said the Newf’s paw was the same size as Max’s head (it was). The second Newf sat behind us (the benches are back-to-back) and at one point I felt A Presence behind me and turned around to have a slobbery black hairy face right in mine, then looking intently at a slightly concerned Max. One of the cat ladies said “Oh Boy! A snack!!”
  • a (flamboyantly gay) gentleman was there with his (flamboyantly pampered) Cavalier King Charles spaniel. A tech came out and told him that his other CKC wouldn’t wake up, and the man just lost it. Such grief. From what the tech was saying, the other dog was pretty much brain dead, but the tech humored the man and took he and the other dog back to see the female and try to wake her up. I’m not sure what happened. I really felt for him, I got the feeling that those two dogs were the only companions he had. All of us around him had tears in our eyes.

Max slept the whole way home. The next visit will be in about six months. They will have a new facility by then. It will be closer, they tell me, and easier to get to, but I had just gotten down how to get to the old one so I’m a bit concerned about finding the new one. No matter, it will get done.

I can’t imagine the logistics of a move like that. A 24/7 emergency vet hospital with very sick animals in residence, high-tech equipment that several vets must share, not to mention contacting all the incoming patients to inform them of the move….and from what I was told they aren’t sure when. It could be this week, it could be next. What a mess.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Introspectrus, part 3: The Higher, The Fewer!

Ambition vs. Aspiration. High and great things, and a desire to get them. Laziness. Grades. Work. Reading class in third grade. Did I aspire to be in the upper level reading class? Come on, I aspired to get to the prize piece of playground equipment first. I already read at a 6th grade level (and was reading at a college level by 7th grade). What do I care what the teacher thinks?

Again, current day. That recent job interview. I decided I didn’t want it, it wasn’t worth it, and I was glad when I didn’t get it….and no one could understand why. Inlaws especially, because they crave money and power. When I told them I didn’t get it, and told them I wasn’t heartbroken, they said with fake sympathy: “Just too much, huh?” with a sad shake of the head.

It made me so mad. Don’t patronize me! Just because your life is lead by the Almighty Dollar and the Hunt of the Great White Power doesn’t mean mine is, dammit!!!

And it just made me think of the 3rd grade teacher again. I never got good grades…..because a) I didn’t give a rats ass what other people wanted of me, and b) because my learning style is hands-on, not lecture-listening. It was the same all though high school and college. Not because I’m lazy or stupid.

I. Do. Not. Care. What. Other. People. Expect. From. Me. One of my friends in college had raised seeing-eye puppies while a teenager. One dog flunked, she told me once, because the evaluator said “Lucky was just too happy doing his own thing.” I guess I fall into that category.

Chores were LOADS of fun in my house, let me tell you.
I’ve been struggling for a few weeks to finish this third part, but recently a woman named Jenna wrote a post on her blog that seemed to fill in some gaps. It can be found
here. I’ll wait whilst you go and read it.

**elevator music**
Done? Good. This story illustrates something to me that few people really seem to want to talk about: really truly finding happy. Right now, we are constantly told we can buy ‘happy.’ Happy is a new MP3 player. Happy is a new(er) car. Happy is restaurant food. Happy is the newest gadget and the most expensive cable package. But as soon as you get something like that, you need to upgrade to the next newest model or better brand.

Kind of sounds like ambition, doesn’t it? Getting fame or power and trying like hell to keep it….

Here is a woman who, at 27, has figured out what makes her happy. It isn't her full-time job. She rents a cabin on a small acreage, has 2 sheep, a goat, several chickens, and two huskies. She wants to farm sheep for wool with two border collies more than anything. She is happy dreaming on her porch, playing her stringed instrument of choice. And for now it is enough.

God. If we could all be so lucky to have figured it out at that age. Can you imagine what our world would be like?

My world is not focused on the job-life anymore. It hasn’t been for a while, even though it took me a while to figure it out and stop fighting it. Sure, I bitch about work, my coworkers, etc. But…that ain’t IT anymore.

On some level, this garden/cooking/doing ‘thing’ that started out as a hobby has grown into something else. I like that I can grow my own food, I like that I know how and keep learning new things. I like that this will support us in a way that may allow us to get rid of our debt sooner by cutting our food bill (hah). I like that we are working on this together. I like that I’m putting a mark on the planet that doesn’t involve destruction. I like this….domestic (ick, is that the right word?)…stuff.

My mom worked full-time until just this past November when she retired at age 66 and has lived a life where everything she wanted/needed was just given to her. She’s had a very sheltered and pampered life. Dad, on the other hand, grew up poor in the south and they scrapped for everything they had. He is perfectly happy not to ever have to do that again.

They really don’t get what I’m doing here or why. Dad really doesn’t get it when I talk about getting chickens. “Chickens….you go ahead and grow what vegetables you want, but don’t get chickens. That’s raw! RAW!” I don’t even know what he means by that. I think they’re totally baffled by my decisions and what we’re doing here.

So, that will wait until Introspectrus, part 4: That Food Thing We’re Doing Here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Not Buying It

Clothing: Didn't buy any.
Food: I've been eating lunch almost entirely out of the garden, but the lettuce is starting to bolt and get a bit bitter, so I'm not sure how long that will last. We had for dinner last night leeks and potatoes out of the garden. Look for the leek recipe to show up on my garden blog sometime this week. It is Egyptian Korrat. I've also been parusing the local grocery store circulars online for good deals (found mangos $1/each, hello Mango Chutney).
Household: Still working on using use & wash containers instead of ziploc bags. Using baking soda as the prewash in the dishwasher instead of the much more expensive dishwashing liquid.
Utilities: It is the beginning of freaking JULY and it was 58* last night. A/Cs still not in. I'm ecstatic.
Gifts: Nada.
Home and Garden: Campfires in the fire pit for entertainment last weekend. See garden blog for garden info, it is doing well. Planting flower beds, look for a post on that, too.
Weaknesses: Put in an order to Penzey's spices, but most of the things we needed (peppercorns, mustard seed for mustard making) and the other stuff I just got samplers of (Turkish seasoning, Fenugreek, Szechuan Pepper Salt).
Purging: Nada.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I cannot believe Michael Jackson died, but really when I think about it....he was one of those people you really can't see as an old person, you know?

My memories of COURSE are around the Thriller video, which I loved. My friend and I would try to do the dance in front of the TV over and over. I also had the one-hour special Making of Thriller, which was fantastic and I wish I still had. Maybe my dad can find me a copy. Hmmm.

My main memories, though, focus on the 1983 Motown 25 Anniversary Reunion special, which I still have a copy of. The whole thing is fantastic. Richard Pryor MCs it, so that should tell you something. But there were several reunions of old groups of which the Jackson 5 were only one.

But, oh! They and Michael really stole the show, IMHO. There are two segments to this: first the Jackson 5 sing together again. Watch the crowd in this segment.

Then, the rest leave and Michael does Billie Jean live, with his first live moonwalk (which is erroneously named, what Michael does is actually called a backslide).

Overall, I think this performance was at the height of his fame, when he was in his prime and before he got, well, weird. Enjoy. If I could go back in time, this 2-hour special would be on my list of top 10 things I'd like to see.