February 29, 2016

The Old Lucketts Store

One of our friends who visited over the weekend loves vintage and antiques and so we took her to The Old Lucketts Store the last time she was here. She loved it so much that we all went out there again when she and two other friends were in town. 

I also love this place and regularly get items for our home. I started my vintage camera collection with cameras from Old Lucketts and one of my favorite pieces in our bedroom is also from here -- a vintage painter's ladder. 

This time around I picked up some bonsai scissors, artificial cotton flower arrangements and a straw tote bag. 

The Old Lucketts Store is dog friendly but Piri and Yangkyu hung out in the car while I went in for a quick look. The interior is too narrow for us to bring Piri inside in his carrier and there are too many steps for Piri to take which would be hard on his joints. 

He did get to explore the displays outside though and made his mark as well at a nearby grassy patch. I think he wrote "Piri was here." 

February 23, 2016

We're crazy for Piri

I'm finding myself hanging out a lot at treat aisles in pet stores. I look at each bag and read the nutritional values to see if it's something that Piri can have, even if it's just a little piece of a piece. Anything that has protein levels higher than 10% I pass. Anything chicken I pass. I worry about phosphorous content and my logic tells me to stick with lamb and beef treats {if I'm looking at treats with meat in them}. And I sometimes think of the time when I didn't need to do this. And sometimes I am envious of people who can give their dogs all those good high protein level treats. And I wish I gave Piri more of them when he was younger and healthier.

In the past, I never really splurged on dog things. I always got things for Piri that he needed, and yes we did spoil him here and there, but it was never excessive. The only thing I can remember being a bit obsessive over was his bed. I think we went through quite a lot of those since he came to live with me when he was 7 years old.

But with other things he always had just one and we took good care of that one. He had 1 sweater {which we retired recently and replaced with his white one}, 1 shirt, 1 blanket, 1 bowl each for his water, wet food and dry food, which was free feeding, one lead and harness {which we switched out once he got smelly because it got wet from rainy walks], and shoes {which we also switched out once they were worn out}. There was never double, triple, quadruple of anything, except toys, which he had a fair selection of. 

But now, aside from coming home with bags of treats, I come home with blankets, toys, clothes, accessories and the works. We now have 4 beds, 5 blankets, 2 sweaters, 1 jacket, 3 shirts, 5 bandanas, 3 harnesses, 2 leads, holidays accessories, a lot of bowls and so on and so forth. 

Some things like bowls, blankets and beds I guess make sense since they are also used by our Piri's Place guests. Toys, clothes, harness and leads, we have seen comes in handy with our guests. But I am definitely seeing a shift in the way I consume dog related products. And there are so many good ones out there now that I didn't know about {or probably didn't exist} 8, 9 years ago. This is really the only area where I bend the rules a little bit in my ongoing effort to try and embrace minimalism. 

And when I'm feeling a little guilty for either overspending or bending the minimalist rule, Yangkyu is always there to say, "hey, it's for Piri, right?" 

Oh gee, we're so crazy for him. 

PS -- Aside from the writing, this blog post became a dump site for photos taken in the past week or so that were trying to find its rightful place in this space. :)

February 22, 2016

Making: Doggy knit scarf. With a pom pom of course.

I have meant to get this post up in the morning and look at the time now - it's 5:55 pm! There were just other things that needed to get done so this blog post just kept taking the back seat to everything. Honestly, I have to get dinner going but if I let this blog post wait a bit longer then it won't be up till tomorrow {because you know, dinner, then the dishes and clean up and then X-Files! Woot Woot!}

Anyway, I like making things. I'm not that great at it and sometimes are there mistakes {glaring mistakes...} but I like the idea of handmade and having Piri and Yangkyu and myself be able to wear them. For Piri they may not be as practical, but doggy accessories are cute. And he looks cute in them. So I keep making. And he begrudgingly wears and models them. Bless his heart. 

This knit scarf ended up being a bit too long. I was doing fittings as I was knitting but oh well. We make do by making an extra loops and ties. 

You'll need: 
 // Yarn - One for the scarf and another color {if you'd like} for the pom pom
 // Knitting needles {I used US Size 10 straight needles}
 // Embroidery needle
 // Scissors 
 // 2 pieces of cardboard
 // Pencil
 // Empty jar
 // Tea light candle

 01 // Cast on 20 stitches. Row 1 - knit 2, purl 2. Row 2 - purl 2, knit 2. Repeat this until you have your designed length. {you can also do a 2x2 ribbing stitch, which is knit 2, purl 2 for all your rows}. 

You can see videos here to learn how to knit and purl. I ended up decreasing at one end to make a V shaped end. This is totally unnecessary. Take time to do fittings on your dog so that you get just the right length. 

02 // Cast off and weave in ends. 

03 // Fold one end of your scarf to make a loop. This is where the other end of your scarf will go through to help secure it in place while your dog is wearing it. Make sure you fold it the right way so that the other end will go through properly. Do a test run before sewing. 

04 // Take your embroidery needle and sew in the fold. One end of your scarf should now have a loop.

05 // Take your empty jar and draw two circles on your cardboard. Take your tea light candle and draw another circle inside. Your circles should look like a donut. Cut them out. You'll need to cut into the bigger circle to get to the middle circle. That's ok. You'll need that incision anyway for when you make your pom pom. 

06 // Place the two cut out cardboard together back to back. Take the yarn you decided to make the pom pom with and start wrapping it around your cardboard pieces. Your pom pom will be bigger if you wrap it around more times. Make sure the pom pom isn't too big for your dog! 

07 // After you are done, leave a bit of tail and cut your yarn. 

08 // Take your scissors and cut along the edge of your cardboard. You should be cutting into the space inbetween your two cardboards. Make sure you hold the cardboard pieces together firmly between your fingers. 

09 // Grab some more yarn and tie a knot around the space between the cardboard pieces. I like to make a double knot just in case. Also leave a long tail so that you can use it to sew on your pom pom to the scarf. Take your cardboard pieces out. Give your pom pom a trim. 

10 // Grab your embroidery needles again and stitch your pom pom in the other end of your scarf that doesn't have the loop. 

And you're done!

Here is a picture of Piri wearing his

Happy knitting and making everyone! 

Eeck! Now I have to get dinner going! 

February 19, 2016

A little update on Piri + the weekend

Yesterday morning, we had a great consultation session at Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery inside the Life Centre in Leesburg, VA. Our primary vet referred us to them, but also gave us the option of doing the surgery with her. On the onset I was a little unsure about going there and leaned on having our primary vet perform the surgery on Piri. 

My biggest concern was that the specialist doesn't know Piri like our primary vet does -- his quirks and most importantly, his medical history. I wasn't sure if the specialist would take in all the information they needed on his heart and kidneys or if there was going to be some balls dropped here and there and complicate things. This is my biggest nightmare -- when balls get dropped and miscommunication happens between different parties and/or doctors are just too proud to take direction/advice from other practices to make a better, more informed decision. 

I guess you can say that I have had a bad experience with miscommunication. It was in 2011 after complications with Piri's neuter surgery and terrible miscommunication and no communication at all between our previous vet and the emergency clinic. It was frustrating for me especially when I had to witness finger pointing, have the doctor at the emergency clinic talk with us with cold eyes all the while seeing Piri look so lifeless.

But yesterday I was completely blown away by their impeccable attention to detail, competence, their efficient process and warmness {which is so important for me}. And they made it known to us that they have already formed a clear line of communication with our primary vet and also Piri's cardiologist to get all up to date information on him to make sure he has a successful surgery. Every minute about the consultation was about Piri and his well being. There was strong emphasis on working as a team of doctors and specialists and communicating with them and also us. On the day of the surgery alone, they will call us three times to let us know how Piri is doing. Wow. 

I haven't felt this confident in a while. We have literally been vet hopping since moving to the DMV area in 2010. We loved our vet in Rego Park, NY and we just haven't found the same kind of practice until we were referred to Town and Country Animal Hospital from our friends and began seeing our current primary vet. She has now referred us to two really great specialists and we are just really incredibly happy of the outcome. Yes, we're still nervous about Piri going under, it is still very risky - but we are very hopeful and certain that he was in the right hands. 

Piri's oral surgery is set for March 2. It can be as quick as a removal of his lump and possibly two teeth to something longer that includes examination of all his teeth and also deep cleaning. It all depends on how he is doing with under anesthesia. 

We also scheduled his surgery so that there will be another attending doctor who specializes in internal medicine to oversee Piri. That was an option given to us by the specialist and we are grateful for the extra eyes and safety. 

It's going to feel like a zillion years for me until March 2 comes around. Until then we'll sure be spoiling Piri. Every time I go into a pet store now I am always coming out with a new toy for him. He doesn't really play with toys now but I still can't help it. 

Today we have a guest dog coming for a one night stay and over the weekend we hope to get out a bit. It's supposed to be in the sixties. Can you believe that? 

I hope you'll have a wonderful weekend. 

February 17, 2016

Knitted lately

01 // A cowl for Yangkyu 
02 // A cowl for Piri
03 // A scarf for Piri 
04 // A beanie for me

I just went crazy and bought a bunch of knit hat patterns. I think part of my knitting rut came because I was making the same things over and over again and was too scared to try new techniques - switching colors, new knitting stitches and cables {although I made a cable hat last year.. but I never was able to give it another go}. 

So I'm taking baby steps.

I still have a pom pom scarf that I need to finish up {for Piri} and a bunch of chunky hats I plan to knit up with yarn from the Wool and the Gang. Afterwards, I'll have to do inventory on supplies for my new patterns and get started on them soon. 

Are you making anything on your end? 

February 12, 2016

Bracing for a freezing cold weekend

It's going to be cold this weekend. Twenties. Lows can go down to a single digit on Saturday. 

I've ben finishing up a cowl {just need to weave ends in} so that our necks and faces can be covered because we have a guest pup coming who only does her business on walks. We'll need that extra warmth!

I'm also thinking we need to get the fire going in our fireplace and make some soup in the slow cooker. 

Hopefully I'll get to knit up more hats over the weekend and a scarf. I also want to make a couple of blankets as well but I need to get my hands on some more yarn. Eep. Yangkyu isn't going to understand. He doesn't understand why I need more yarn when I have so much just "sitting there". :) 

Have a wonderful weekend. 
Stay warm!
And may the force be with you.

{I just saw Star Wars earlier this month and I'm still thinking about it and I wish I can see it again! I grew up watching because of my brother and a few names, scenes and things have stuck with me throughout the years. My brother was just bonkers about it. I mean figurines and model kits, {he had a humongous Millennium Falcom model kit which he didn't let me touch}, watching the movies over and over and over again and making me watch it too, role playing with make believe lightsabers {I didn't make for such a good Jedi Knight and our childhood cocker spaniel was always R2D2}, even computer programming to make a 3D version of the Millennium Falcon. Even now he shares his love for Stars Wars with his sons. And so when I watched The Force Awakens, my jaw dropped when Rey called the Millennium Falcon garbage {ok - she didn't know it was the Millennium Falcon then} and I couldn't watch when she flew it so terribly. This sounds really weird but I almost cried when Chewie and Han Solo came on the screen and almost cried a second time when the X-Wing Fighters came to the rescue. I hadn't realized the influence of my brother and Star Wars had on me but watching The Force Awakens was like reliving my childhood and all the fond memories I had of it. Did you all watch? What did you think?}

February 10, 2016

I get it now. Thumbs are important.

Several years ago when I was reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, the dog in the book mentions how he wants to help his owner but he can't because he doesn't have thumbs. He can't open doors or do anything of the sort. Gah! Only if he had thumbs!

Even after reading that I didn't realize how handy my thumbs were until this winter. 

Now my skin gets brutally dry every winter, but this winter has been the worst. I think it's because I wash my hands more than ever {dog care business} and I don't even bother putting on lotion afterwards because I'll be washing my hands anyway after 2 minutes of applying it. 

I don't wash the dishes with rubber gloves because too many of my glassware of gone to glassware heaven because they would slip right out of my hands. 

This all led to my fingers splitting and cracking. I mean they were just little splits but they hurt like a mother. And I got them on all my fingers - especially on my fingertips right next to my nail. And the worst was when I got them on my thumbs. I couldn't do anything - I couldn't wash the dishes, knit, even put on a band aid because the pressure just hurt too much. I tried doing these things without my thumb and you know what? You can't. 

So thumbs are important. 

I read on Emmy's blog a while back about O'Keefe's Working Hands. I got them because I was so desperate. They work. But I don't like the way they feel on my hands. It feels like I just peeled an orange. But it works. And so I apply it every night before going sleep. 

This is the golden yellow yarn I wanted to use to make a cowl but it turned into a hat. I finished it recently {after my thumbs healed}, working on it without a pattern. The top turned out a little funny but I like it anyway. I was on a pom pom kick last year and so I wanted a knit hat sans pom pom. 

But I just got a bunch of yarn though from Wool and the Gang and all I can think about is knitting up hats with huge pom poms. 

Life is always funny this way isn't it? 

February 8, 2016

Happy Lunar New Year!

We used to take loads of pictures with Piri like this {where we're making a bunch of silly faces}, but not so much anymore. He kinda gets over it way before we start taking pictures. Hey.. I say.. if you're 80+ years in human age, you can do and care about whatever the heck you like. 

Today is Lunar New Year - Year of the Monkey. It's called Gu Jung in Korean.

We aren't really big on celebrating {although it is a pretty big holiday in Korea} but we like to acknowledge it and we usually make ddduk guk as well (even though we eat it also on January 1). Today though, there is no dduk guk {too lazy to make}, but we think we'll stop by the Korean market to pick up some rice cakes {I love the ones with honey inside}.

As a kid, I remember going to the countryside for Gu Jung where my grandparents lived and there was always something good to eat. All the kids played freely outside from morning to night, roaming the alleyways that was filled with old fashioned homes that had windows and doors made with wood and rice paper. The air was crisp and slapped our skin and we all ended up with bright rosy cheeks. It was so vastly different than playing in playgrounds in the city. So much better, although I probably didn't realize it back then.

The biggest event though came when we all got dressed in hanbok and bowed {full body bow} to all the adults and in return we got envelopes filled with money. I'm not sure if there was a favorite uncle or aunt who gave especially larger sums of money -- I don't think I cared too much about getting money and I didn't fancy wearing a hanbok either. I remember being embarrassed to wear it for some reason.

I am far away from family now to celebrate in this way, but I am thankful for my childhood and the memories I have of it. I sit here recalling back to the sights and sounds and the first thing that I feel is gratitude and appreciation that I had the opportunity to experience something like this and remember it enough to be able to retell it. 

I'll probably end up talking about it again with Yangkyu and we will end up comparing how different and similar our Gu Jung with family was. 

Happy Lunar New Year or as we say in Korean Sae Hae Bok Mani Bat Ue Sae Yo {wishing you lots of luck in the New Year}. 

February 2, 2016

I like this life with you // 004

"It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it."
 -- C.S. Lewis

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