Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Further Observations on Poop

Murphy and I headed back to obedience training this week. Last week I stayed home because my nose was throwing its annual snot fiesta and couldn't be bothered to stop for matters such as dog training. Much like previous weeks, we learned that I am not dominant and the dog doesn't listen. Plus we didn't practice at all because I was in bed due to the aforementioned snot festivities. Scatology was the least of my worries because my nose was out of commission.

At training class, the other owners are so diligent with their dogs. They practice and the dogs listen to them. I've tried chatting with the other owners, but they like to keep their distance. Really, I want to pet the dogs. I'm enchanted with a Cairn terrier who is bright and perky. Another dog looks just like Lady from Lady and the Tramp. I'm not quite on the same wave length as everyone else. They aren't rude -- just very distant. Maybe they're afraid their dogs will act like mine if we fraternize, or maybe they don't find me as amusing as I find myself.

Meanwhile, Murphy's learning how to "park it" on his bed. It was excruciating. The other dog owners were able to have their dogs stay while they walked out of sight. Murphy wouldn't even stay while I was standing next to him. About 15 minutes later, I was flushed, frustrated, and flustered. Someone else's dog pooped, and it was a relief that the instructor was distracted from the distinct lack of obedience I was experiencing. My dog might be out playing Calvin ball for the entire class, but at least he didn't poop in the middle of Pet Smart.

After quietly congratulating myself on not being The Worst, I turned around and the stubborn Beagle had his front paws and his back paws together so he could squat. It was suspiciously like pooping but I dragged him outside before anything happened. I bumped into the other offender and his owner outside the store on a strip of grass. "Stimulating class, huh?" I said. She looked over her shoulder and hurried her dog into the store.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Comfort Food

With the cooler weather, my interest in cooking has increased. This weekend found me digging through cookbooks and hand-written recipes for old favorites that my mother and grandmother cooked: shrimp-rice casserole; sausage, beans, and greens soup; meatloaf. The food tastes wonderful with the crisp temperatures.

The recipes fuel my nostalgia and imagination. Recipe cards in my grandmother's handwriting often have the note "from Mama" at the top. I never met my great-grandmother, but I've heard some stories. She was a spicy, opinionated woman with a good education, but above all, she was practical. She would have found my kitchen ridiculous with the electric stove, the microwave, and the refrigerator. She kept her ice box until the last ice-delivery service stopped in the 1960s and was never fully convinced that a refrigerator and freezer could be trusted to keep the food from spoiling. I like to imagine that I know her a little because of her recipes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

All about the eggs

The autumnal sinus joy has descended along with snot and coughing. People pull out hand sanitizer when they see me coming. I try to keep a respectful distance.

Really this is to explain why Murphy and I were walking down an alley. He needed a walk badly and showed signs of becoming a wild animal without more exercise. I made it a block and a half before I broke into a cold sweat. For a shortcut, we turned down an alley, which all dogs love. It must be some kind of super highway for cats, squirrels, possums, and other dog delicacies. Murphy snorted, sniffled, and made grunting pig-like noises of joy at all of the scents. The yards were surprisingly dog-free, and our little trek was quiet until near the end.

I was startled by a large black dog that jumped up and down behind a fence. In the yard with the dog were six chickens. Six, lovely, free-range hens that all live within a block of my house. I wonder if they would like to share some eggs?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Sometimes a day has a secret word -- kind of like at Pee Wee's playhouse. Saturday's word was poop. The dog smelled like poop that morning, which made giving him a bath essential. My parents visited later that morning to scoop the kitty litter.

It was good to see Mom and Dad. Dad even helped me rehabilitate a futon that wouldn't fold into sitting position because a toy mouse was jammed into the folding mechanism. One special pair of pliers and a clothes hanger later, he had extracted two toy mice and one pair of nail clippers. Some poor cat lost some stash. I was glad to see the nail clippers again.

Back to the poop. In the afternoon, it was time for a regularly scheduled cut and color. My hairdresser has been cutting my hair for over ten years. She's good at haircuts and good at conversation. I look forward to seeing her.

During the drive to the salon, I simply couldn't shake the smell of poop and finally looked at the soles of my shoes. Bingo! I'd stepped in something intense with both feet. It refused to be scraped off as well, so I parked the shoes outside the salon door. It is very humbling to be barefoot for 3 hours while fashionable and well-shod people are near. The hairdresser enjoyed every minute of it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Homegrown tomatoes

The Ex and I met for coffee today. A year ago, I wouldn't have believed it possible, but we're friends. I enjoy that. We've got over a decade of shared history and talking to each other doesn't require the long story or any footnotes. Plus we're both happier now -- partly because we don't have any expectations from each other. I'm amazed at how important that is to me.

Saying that a person has changed seems silly to me. The Ex is very much who he always was, but he's grown personally. He's paving the way to really accomplish what he wants in his life, and I'm tickled to see how well it suits him. He's just as talented at gabbing as I am, so after two hours of catching up, he sent me home with a bag of homegrown tomatoes. Yum! I warmed them up with some sauteed onions and served it over lentils and rice.

In knitting news, the ruana I'm making for my sister will obviously be a Christmas present. The Addi Turbo needles and the nice wool make for good knitting, but that's quite a few yards of knitting in one week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ideas to Inspire Fear

These are dangerous times for me. I'm off my game, and the predictable patterns are changing. I pay someone to mow the lawn, which is crazy because I love to mow the lawn -- it just hasn't worked out to be a possibility this summer. I spent yesterday evening hanging out with a bunch of dogs instead of listening to the President's speech on health care. But worst of all, my knitting mojo packed up and left town sometime in the summer.

I've been half-heartedly knitting one pink, white, and green sock. The pattern is the I-made-it-up-variety. Sadly it also belongs to the undocumented category, so it will never have a mate. Recreating it isn't a possibility. The fact that the sad little sock has been in my purse for months and gets knitted about 20 minutes a week borders on Kafkaesque. Right now I'm trying to decide whether I should finish it or if I should put it out of its misery sooner.

Meanwhile inspiration struck. Inspiration with a deadline. (Danger! Deadline!) My sister's birthday arrives in less than a week, and Ravelry has a lovely pattern for "The One Piece Backwards Ruana". The perfect teal, worsted weight Lamb's Pride wool is in my stash. Do I cast on? What if it is post marked on her birthday? She lives out of state so that adds several days in the mail. On paper the timing looks like an ill-fated plan. My fingers are itching. I thought about the project while I was a work. Even if I can finish in a timely fashion by, perhaps, Monday, I'm liable to be incapacitated by knitter's claw. Awww, who am I kidding? It's a terrific plan. I'll cast on.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More about eggs and a doggy update

I may be a little obsessed with those fresh eggs. They taste really good. A coworker said she knows someone who works in our building that sells her eggs. I've got a fresh egg dealer for when the Farmers' Market closes.

Murphy the Wonder Beagle headed back to school this evening for intermediate obedience training. As a 5+ year old dog, he reminded me of myself when I went back to college for computer training in my late 20s. I couldn't abide by chatter in the back of the class room and tedious questions were just annoying. For his part, Murphy will touch noses with the pups but if they wiggle or get excited, he is very sharp with them.

Perhaps he was just focusing on the teacher. He did everything she asked very well. He completely ignored me and wouldn't even look at me. I was starting to get offended until the teacher pointed out that he just didn't like my treats. Apparently the beef liver treats that were all the rage in June are passe in September. The new trend is chicken something or other. And because he's an older dog, he fell asleep in the car on the way home. The dog whisperer is right. A tired dog is a good dog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farmer's Market

Each Saturday in the summer the Farmers' Market at 21st and Ridge is open. They have mountains of tomatoes and zucchini this time of year. One person was even selling kohl rabi, which I found very exciting. Without a clear idea of how to cook it, I left it to a more sophisticated cook.

Mostly I enjoy looking and seeing other people who are also enjoying a Saturday morning outside. Rows and rows of fresh herbs and produce combined with home-grown bouquets of zinnias, sunflowers, and Queen Anne's lace are so beautiful.

I haven't purchased any meat yet, but it is tempting. They have local grass-fed, grass-finished beef which has completely eluded me at local groceries and health food stores. No offense to Argentina, but that's a long way from here. Kansas has good beef too. When I make to South America, I'll be delighted to eat the Argentinian beef. The emu doesn't hold any attraction for me, but the bison and lamb are tempting.

The real attraction has been the eggs. The eggs from free-range, cage-free hens that have been scratching around in the pasture all summer are delicious. They have the bright orange-yellow yolks of summer time eggs. Hard-boiled, served with a slice of buttered toast and slices of tomato, they make a very satisfying breakfast. I'm already feeling sad that the Farmer's Market will close at the end of October. I'm not quite ready to start raising chickens myself.