Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Time Flies

Lady Gaga. Migraines. Terminal cancer. VW Buses. Mt. Rainier. Strawberry rhubarb pies. Belgium and France in October? Japanese. Shin splints. Trees almost a thousand years old. Longing for a house.

Life is good and weird and complicated.

You know, the usual.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fat to 5k Friday: Week One

This summer has been terrible to my waistline (*cough* as if I have a waist). I feel off the wagon from a paleo-based diet a long time ago, but I credit that diet with getting me into cooking and creating my own meals entirely from scratch. When I think back to the way I ate before paleo, I'm just in awe that I managed to not be heavier.

So now I'm eating relatively healthy, measuring my portions and calorie counting. You know, trying to lose weight the old-fashioned way. And part of the old-fashioned way is working out.

Wednesday I started a training program at my gym - Training my body in 8 weeks to run 3.1 miles (5k) without stopping. It's a brilliant system- I have a podcast that tells me when to walk and when to run at various intervals. The first day was liberating- My heart felt good and my body had no problems completing the 30 minutes. It's motivating, too- I would love to be able to run- we have so many nice trails here it'd a shame to let them go to waste.

There are a lot of 5k races in the area, too. I'm tempted to sign up for one of them to keep my motivation.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wishful Wednesday #3: The Thursday Edition

Just when I thought nothing could cheer me up. Behold, silly (yet amazing) kitchen stuff!

NINJABREAD MEN™ - they’re cut out for action

These stealthy warriors are set to sneak into your kitchen and stage a cookie coup! Cut, bake, decorate…and then watch them disappear! Ninjabread Men are molded from rugged, food-safe ABS plastic and packaged in a colorful giftbox.

TeaCupCake - Cupcake Mold
Bake and serve your cupcakes right in these teacup-shaped silicone molds and delight your tea party guests! We’ve included four reusable, food-safe silicone baking cups complete with saucers for a most elegant presentation. TeaCupCakes are 100%-pure silicone and phthalate-free plastic.

Both items found at WorldWideFred.com. Bonus points for the name!

Whoever designed these things needs a high-five and a raise!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I used to be pretty active in the animal rescue community. I worked for a pet nutrition store, went to countless veterinary seminars and screened people for animal adoptions, and put in my time and money (when I had very little of either) into various fundraisers for abused and/or abandoned animals.

I'm not one to give up on my animals. I know that they're a lifetime responsibility. Every critter in our home gets treated rather well- human-grade quality food, freeze-dried treats, a plethora of toys... I once had a feeder mouse as a pet who had cancer. She went through surgery, survived another 6 months and lived to a healthy mouse-age of 2 years old.

And if you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you that I would never give up on any of my pets.. they're family to me.

But when there's a direct threat involved, and a cat turns into a whirlwind of fangs and teeth, and violently attacks other members of the household.. something has to be done.

The last six months things have been escalating between our two cats. Both neutered males- the older one is a large, lean, black manx that weighs a good 16 pounds with very little body fat. The other, a shorter, plumper, younger cat who has decided that he now wanted to be alpha male. Every night there was a fight. Screaming and hissing. There would be bloody ears and skin lacerations. We would jump in and split them up, of course, but the damage they can do in a few seconds was hard to avoid.

The other day it went from bad to worse. Both cats were gazing out of the screen door when someone walked by with a large dog. It spooked both cats, but the younger one became violent and started attacking the older cat. Apparently this is called "Redirected Aggression," when they can't attack the object they want, they go for the nearest possible thing. And that happened to be another animal.

We were able to separate them, and things were looking promising. We re-introduced them, fed them together and gave them scritches and treats- trying to create a positive environment. Everyone was getting along fine- I was thrilled- often with redirect aggression it lingers for quite some time.

In the middle of the night we were woken by screaming and yowling. Tufts of fur were everywhere, and the older cat was visibly terrified and the other cat had cornered him. It took us a while but we were able to get the older cat into the bedroom where he'd be safe. The aggressor was trying to get underneath the door to get at the other cat.

The next day I tried to sneak out of the bedroom but the docile cat escaped. As soon as he did he was attacked. The dog tried to run but got caught in the middle of it. At one point I had locked myself into the bathroom to avoid getting clawed- it was terrifying. As soon as they moved so I could safely get out, I was able to scoop up the other cat and get him into the bedroom. And that's when I made my decision.

It was time to let him go.

With redirect aggression they can latch onto anyone- often another cat, but what if it was on our tiny 4lb dog? What if he had latched onto my husband? And the constant dominance struggles were getting to be too much. I called the shelter that I adopted him from (Purrfect Pals- amazing organization, btw), told them what was happening and they agreed that the best thing to do would be to separate them permanently.

So we loaded up his favorite toys, his favorite foods, his favorite treats, wrote out a donation check for $300, and drove him to the Arlington shelter.

It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I cried like a baby- they kept reassuring me that this was my only real option. Dominance struggles between two alpha cats do not usually turn out well- and everyone would be happier (and safer) being in a single cat household.

Miso, the one we had to give up, is a lovebug to people. He is a purr machine, a true lap cat, an avid biscuit maker, and highly gregarious to people. And he's beautiful- part bengal with wild gold eyes. When it comes to other cats, he's all about war. Mochi, on the other hand, is very reserved and tempermental. Pure black cats are not easy to adopt out, especially ones that are shy and enjoy swatting at people. So it had to be Miso.

It's been a really hard day. I keep thinking that he's hiding behind the blinds or he's sneaking around underneath the bed. I keep expecting him to meow incessantly (which is his way), but there has only been silence.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hard Decisions..

..are hard.

It was a decision kind of day. It was the kind of decision that you make because the alternative ending will inevitably mean more pain in the long run.

Lack of sleep is fogging my brain. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summary of Sunday

Gray and beautiful.

Lasagna Sandwich?

At one point in my life I would have found the above video inspirational. Now that I'm eating healthier foods and watching my portions, I find it motivational- It's like watching what I could have become.

I find it interesting because they toast with these huge sandwiches and Paula proclaims "We earned this." I used to always justify my poor food choices with similar logic. Perhaps I worked out that day, I had a crabby customer at the bank, I did a lot of homework, dealing with the stress of illness within family, etc, etc. There was always a reason to overeat fatty foods, always a reason to feel like I had earned that five minutes of noshing bliss.

At any rate, it is quite an interesting concept.. There's a veggie lasagna I wouldn't be opposed to making, along with homemade whole wheat garlic bread- I might just be tempted to make a sandwich out of it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deep Fried Cheesecake

I cannot stomach cheesecake. I have never been able to understand the joy that this dessert brings to many. To be fair, I'm the last person in the world who needs it.

Regardless of my dietary requirements, this is one dessert I will never be trying. Behold: deep fried cheesecake.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rocking the Boat

Nearly twelve hours on a catamaran in the San Juan Islands. Saw all three orca pods. Cross that off the wishlist of life.

I feel like the whole condo is moving and jostling around. I hope I don't get seasick trying to sleep tonight.

No pictures, yet. I took crap photos today- I spent most of my time just enjoying it and soaking it in.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ninja Eggs

It has come to my attention that I do not like ninja eggs- eggs in baked goods that aren't predominately eggy, if that makes sense.

I love eggs. We rarely ate them growing up, as they were a forbidden food in our household (due to allergies in the family). And when we did get them (my grandmother next door would make them for us on occasion) they were divine.

My mom was (is!) the master of the baked goods, even with the egg allergy. Her pies and cakes are to die for. She's made wedding cakes, won ribbons for her pies, and understands the joy that a beautifully crafted dessert can create. I never felt like we missed anything- we even had eggless carob cakes for birthdays that were divinely decorated. I still don't know how she found the time.

Things that are egg-based I have no problem with. They're honest with their eggfulness- frittatas, quiches, omelettes, etc. They're delicious and savory and lovely. But when you put more than two eggs in a baked good, I get a little wary. That yolk taste can get a bit overwhelming and often ruins the flavor for me.

An egg-xample of eggs behaving properly. No surprises, all egg!

I made German Puff pancakes for brunch today. They were beautiful, but had three eggs in them. I was so excited, but when I took a big bite the egg taste was a bit too strong. Next time I'll do a Bisquick-type-based batter and see how that turns out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Mom Will Be So Proud

I think I might have inherited my mom's legendary pie gene.

Behold, my very first ever strawberry-rhubarb pie.

We were wandering through the farmer's market when I discovered some beautiful looking rhubarb. I convinced the hubby that I needed it to fatten him up with pie. "Do you know how to make pie..? That sounds like a lot of work.."

"I should learn, don't you think?"

So I spent the afternoon pouring over an old pie cookbook (Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook) my mom gave to me. The book is old and the pages are yellow- they even crack when you turn them.

I modified the recipe (only to substitute flour with cornstarch- I had no flour!), and it still turned out divine.

The pie didn't even last 12 hours. I served it for dinner, and the next morning the husband dished it up for breakfast. I guess it was a hit.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • Pastry for two crust pie
  • 3 cups cut rhubarb (1lb)
  • 2 cups halved strawberries (8oz)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbls cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbls butter
40 minutes @ 400°F

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Freezer Jam

For the lovely Misses M, here's my most favorite (and very sweet!) freezer jam recipe (from Certo):

Quick & Easy Raspberry Freezer Jam

2 cups crushed raspberries
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo pectin

  1. Wash and rinse plastic containers (1 to 2 cup size)
  2. Prepare fruit (sieve 1/2 of the pulp if desired).
  3. Stir sugar into prepared fruit. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir pectin into lemon juice.
  5. Stir pectin mixture into prepared fruit. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved (about 3 minutes).
  6. Pour into containers- leave 1/2 inch at top for expansion.
  7. Let stand at room temp. for 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Store in freezer for up to 1 year.
And there you have it, super simple raspberry jam, without all the corn syrup and preservatives.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wishful Wednesdays #2

Apparently the rest of the world wants a Honda Passport C70 as well... as the average price jumped from around $500-700 to $1500 in the last week or so. It must be summer- everyone wants a nice convertible or a nice bike when the weather is nice.

So I present you my C70-backup plan.

Behold: The Flyscooter Scout.

New, more powerful, and in four different colors. MSRP $1799. Ah, sweet summer love.


Mt. Rainier is such a beautiful place in the world. We'll be back next weekend.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday, Monday

I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it's still Monday. Time has been a bit weird for us- we've been so busy and life has been so good that everything has been a bit jumbled.

We camped at Mt. Rainier this weekend. Incredible.
I made my first strawberry rhubarb pie. I think I inherited my mom's pie gene. Score!
Office is populated by electronics and is almost ready to roll.
Lovely bicycle ride today- our bikes turn 25 this month.

Pictures tomorrow. But for now there is a bubble bath that calls my name.