May 22, 2018

Marvel movies mania & other happenings around here


I think it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. During the first couple of years of blogging, I couldn't wait to tell the many stories brewing my head. Now I sometimes feel like I grasp for words, having a difficult time stringing sentences together.

Lately it's been a lot of recaps and summaries of what's been happening around here.

I hope these don't get too boring, for you and me both.

Our seedlings have been growing well and we've moved the cucumbers, zucchini and watermelon to the garden beds. It's quite nice to see the backyard space come together. We've also done some sodding work on half of the backyard (we did the other half last year).  It's nice to see our backyard filled with grass instead of crabgrass. Sometimes I come up with random lists in my head and when I come to the list of things I most hate, crabgrass is right up there with spiders and mosquitos.

I baked my first vegan "bread." Actually they were dinner rolls. And while the recipe described them as fluffy, I put them in the oven a bit too long and the top hardened a bit too quickly. But the inside is tasty and soft. I will definitely be making them again, hopefully I'll get them just right the next time.

Recipe is here at Minimalist Baker.

The other day, one of our guest dogs, Mochi decided to bring along a toy to his daily squirrel patrol duties. Out of all the toys he could choose from, he chose this one. And of course there is a story to follow.

That toy was gifted to us from a long-time friend on Instagram. She sent it to us when we adopted Bartles. I always considered Mochi Bartles's very good friend. He came after Bartles experienced a string of not so friendly guests (not because they were mean but probably because they were old, blind and having medical issues of their own). They growled at Bartles, stole his bed and snapped at him when Bartles would try to get on top of his bed. But the first thing Mochi did when he came to Piri's Place was go up to Bartles with his tails wagging as if he were saying, "Hi! I'm Mochi! Let's be friends!" And soon I often found the two together, mostly tag teaming for treats.

And so when Mochi decided to bring this toy, I thought the world was trying to tell me something. That Bartles is well and Mochi still considered him a very good friend. Perhaps he even still gets to see Bartles from time to time. 

Yangkyu and I are old school in many ways. For one, we still keep a paper trail of our bills and file them in our cabinet for three years. We were running out of space in our filing cabinet and I decided to part ways with a few things, including these notebooks of when I used to keep track of when Bartles peed, went potty, ate and drank. It helped me to see if maybe his Cushing's was getting worse (if he drank more or went pee more) and it also helped me to see if I could find a patten with when he needed to relieve himself.

I don't know why I held on to them for so long. I imagined to keep them forever. That I would be 60 years old and flip through these pages and remember the days when Bartles was with us. But I decided to let it go. I thought I found peace with Bartles' passing but after parting ways with these pages, it felt like I shed another layer, another invisible layer of the anger and hurt I had experienced after he crossed the rainbow bridge.

But even still, I am holding on to all of Piri and Bartles' old vet records and documents. Those I really don't think I can part with. Ever.

May has been a busy month of guest dogs. They keep me busy and happy. 

I once had a Uber driver who upon hearing what I did for a living said, "you are friendly and nice. It must be the dogs." He couldn't have been more right.

We have a few more guests coming for overnight stays and daycare I the coming days and our break won't be until early June. 

In-between any down time I had, I have been frantically watching all the Marvel movies. I love anime but I was never really into super hero things. I did watch Hulk because I was a fan of Edward Norton for a while and watched Civil War, which I enjoyed but it never really got me to watch the other movies... until Yangkyu insisted that at least he watch the movies he didn't get to see before heading over to see Infinity War (those movies were all Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman Homecoming and Black Panther). So I said ok. And ended up watched Spiderman with him. 

Oh my goodness, you guys. I was completely hooked. Why didn't anyone tell me they were so fun to watch?

I have now watched all of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, all the Avenger movies, Doctor Strange, which I wasn't really looking forward to watching but was pleasantly surprised and Black Panther. I started to watch Guardians of the Galaxy but couldn't get into it really, but I do love the soundtrack. I think the only movie I didn't watch aside from the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies is Ant-Man.

The first thing we're doing when I go on break from dog sitting is going to watch Infinity War (although I know the ending because someone spoiled it on Facebook - doh).

I hope things have been well with you.

I thought I saw a mosquito a couple of days ago. I wish spring would hang out a bit longer.

May 10, 2018

Chilly mornings, busy kitchen and a strawberry patch

I think it's finally spring where we are. Afternoons and evenings are warm with a nice breeze and I find myself spending a lot of time in the backyard with the dogs. They sunbathe or wait until I throw a ball and I get an itch to grab a book, throw down a blanket and get lost in an imaginative story for a couple of hours.

Mornings though have been chilly. In fact, I am in sweats right now and almost want to turn on the space heater I have next to my computer desk. Even though the weather certainly doesn't call for space heaters, Yangkyu and I are seekers of warmth. We turn down the A/C when staying at hotels (they feel like arctic zones!) and always make sure to pack a hoodie even during the summer.

Birds chirp loudly. I haven't noticed them until I was talking with a friend who commented how loud and close they sounded. Ever since then, I feel like the singing of the birds is the only thing I hear.

Our kitchen has been busy, testing out new recipes. We recently had cauliflower tacos and also fudgy vegan brownie cookies. The cauliflower tacos were... well perhaps they could have tasted better if I used regular mushrooms instead of shiitake but I wasn't too crazy about the texture. I specifically don't like beans because of that mushy yet grainy (having a difficult time trying to describe but failing miserably here) feel in my mouth. The brownie cookies were better and the only thing I regret is not having chopped up the dates better and having used cacao instead of cocoa powder (I didn't have cocoa on hand).

The clean up is always a hassle but the more I find myself doing it, the less annoying it becomes. Perhaps it's a matter of conditioning your body and making things a routine to overcome the laziness.

Yangkyu and I have wonderful dreams to travel. I said, "Let's travel to one destination, every year, from next year until we're at least 60. That means 20 new places." He thought it was a great and promising idea. 

We hope to start with Japan. We want to see the cities and the islands. We recently heard of Ishigaki, a smaller island off of Okinawa and would love to see it in person. During free times, which aren't often as Yangkyu is preparing for his finals, I see him studying basic travel phrases in Japanese. He's quite terrible at it but tries, which counts as pretty awesome in my books.

We started our spring garden. I see some of the seedlings have popped up but most are still dormant, which makes me a little nervous. 

Our strawberry patch is thriving though and I am so very glad. We are naming the strawberry patch after Bartles.

This time last year, he was battling a very stubborn UTI. In just two months we would say good bye to him. Thinking back to what happened a year ago feels like watching my own story on TV. I know what's going to happen though and it's gut wrenching at times. 

I think there might be some rain and thunder in the forecast today. The pups are soundly asleep and my stomach is quietly letting me know that it's hungry.

And so here goes another Thursday at Winding Ridge Lane.

May 2, 2018

Life of a dog mom

I don't prefer to call myself dog mom (although I don't mind that others do) but for this particular post, I couldn't think of a better title so I just went with what seems to be the popular self description of what many dog people call themselves. Dog mom (it does have an endearing ring to it).

Anyway, on Monday, Lady went in for her senior wellness exam. She was rescued in April of last year and had been completely vetted at the hospital and given up to date shots before she was placed in a foster home. We make sure all our dogs go in for annuals and since it was a full year since her last thorough check up, we made an appointment with our favorite vet who looked after Piri and Bartles to have her checked from head to toe, blood work included. And the night before her appointment, I made a reminder to myself to catch Lady's morning pee to take in.

For days though I was perplexed on how I would catch it. With Piri and Bartles, both boys, it was super easy but Lady gets so low to the ground that I wasn't quite sure how to get a clean sample. But then I spotted a big ole spoon at a Korean grocery store one night, one that doesn't bend (like a ladle) and I thought it would work perfectly to just scoot it under her when she gets down to pee. And guess what? It worked! I was able to get a good enough sample, transfer it to a urine cup, refrigerate it and take it in that evening. I shared the story of this whole pee catching experience with our vet, including all the different advice our Instagram friends shared with us, and we had a good laugh over it.

Lady was poked a few times in her neck during her exam because we had spotted a suspicious lump a few months back. It didn't feel cancerous but you always want to make sure. It was in fact determined to be just a fatty lump but we have marching orders to keep an eye on it in case it grows.

I think Lady was a little alarmed with all the poking and prodding. She was a bit more wide eyed when we got back to the car. An expression that almost read like, "What just happened to me?" I made sure to bring one of her favorite treats and gave it to her in the car and not at the vet's office in case we got other dogs hyper and excited.

We're now just waiting for results and I am hoping they are all good because we were thinking of getting her a good dental cleaning. Let's hope for the best.

Yangkyu and I notice different things about Lady. Still, even though it's already been 10 months with her. The first thing we noticed right away was that she loved to chase airplanes at night. It was the only time we heard her bark. She doesn't do it anymore. I guess they don't interest her as much. But she has thing with trucks or cars that are shaped like a big SUV or even pick ups.

We were at a stop light on our way to the vet's office and there was a truck next to us. aLady propped up and just stared. Before she was just lying down and enjoying the car ride but as soon as she saw the big ole truck, she couldn't take her eyes off it. Like she was desperately trying to get the attention of the driver. It happened another time as well, and even when we were out on a walk one time, she always stops and hangs around big SUVs. 

I know the most important thing right now is the story we are making with Lady, but I sometimes wonder what her story was before. And why she is so fascinated with trucks and airplanes. What do they mean to her? I kept wondering if maybe her former owner drove a truck and she always rode with him. Perhaps it is a fond memory she will always keep with her. 

Only if we spoke the same language, she could let me know.

April 27, 2018

Happy Friday

Happy Friday!

This picture is from last month but it's one of my favorites of the three of us and so I thought it should make it's own special appearance on the blog. 

It's a very quiet morning here. It must've rained over night. It was drizzling when I let the dogs out to do their first business of the day. They have all eaten, I have my coffee and now we're all backstairs in the office room where I'll spend a couple of hours in front of the computer while the pups take their morning nap. It's a nice routine. 

I hope your weekend will be a good one.

April 26, 2018

10 Things

There have been so many random things going on here lately and me running around without a task list - something I rely so heavily on to keep me on top of things. But being list-less had been working just fine but lately I've been feeling a little disorganized. And whenever I feel disorganized, making a list always helps. So what better way to list out all the random things and put it in its own category, eh?

1. Break
We're just about at the tail end of caring for our April guests at Piri's Place and I am so very much looking forward to a nice long break. My break in March ended up getting shortened to accommodate a guest and then I worked non-stop for the month of April. It does get a little taxing if I don't get breaks in-between and so it will be nice to take about a week off and go out, enjoy a few dates with Yangkyu and pick up things I meant to buy (you know those things you want to buy in-person and not online). Then it's back to another consecutive 4-week straight dog care in May.

2. Gardening
It's finally time! And I am so very excited to pick up gardening again this year. We decided on which fruits and vegetables to plant and also figured out what to do with a garden space we have out front. It's been bear for so long and we've been just maintaining it to keep the weeds out. Other neighbors have bushes or roses but I plan on getting in a bunch of peonies there. It won't bloom for another season but I can be patient! Yangkyu and I are heading out to the garden center this weekend and getting all that we need to prep our soil, start out seedlings, getting our lawn grass into shape and more. It'll be nice to enjoy some yard time when mosquitos aren't out full force. 

3. Library
So I started to read IQ84 a couple of months back but then got stuck. When that happens I stop reading altogether. I think it's maybe time to put it aside for a little bit, pick up a couple of lights novels to get myself back in the groove before starting that big adventure again. It'll be nice to get the feel of turning the pages again back in my life. It's those random touches and noises, like a flip of a book, that is so satisfying to the soul.

4. Vegan baking
I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon looking through recipes to try some vegan baking. I have an almond cooking recipe and also a brownie/cookie recipe I am very excited to try. 

5. Podcasts
I had Limetown in my queue for so long and finally got around to listening to it several weeks ago. It's fiction but oh it is so good. If you are into X-Files, I think you will definitely enjoy it. The sound effects definitely creeped me out. 

6. Video games
There are a few things Yangkyu and I enjoy doing together and one of them is video games. Some of our favorites have been Overcooked (so hilarious in the beginning, especially when you are trying to coordinate with each other on who is going to do what. We laughed so hard that our belly button almost popped out), Chariot and 9 Parchments, which we are playing now. I hope we never grow out of playing video games together. Even when we're 60.

7. Jamaican Black Castor Oil
A couple of months back, I kept wondering why my face looked so different. It was so puzzling and not so pleasant as well. Defeating, almost. Was it the braces that was changing the shape of my face? Am I just getting old? And then I finally figured it out. It was my eyelashes. Or my very shortened and thinning eyelashes. I had gotten eyelash extensions at a tremendously horrible place and it nearly plucked my existing eyelashes out. Then I heard about Jamaican Black Castor Oil and I've been using it for about a month and voila! It works! My eyelashes are long again. I had long-ish lashes to start with before the horrible extensions, but I think it's even longer. Hurrah!

8. Weeding out the toxic in my life
While I've enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful balance in my life for a long time now, there has been a toxic presence that has been stressing me out lately. I am working to weeding it out. 

9. Netflix
So many great things on Netflix. I have enjoyed From In This Corner of the World, Wild Wild Country, The Keepers and Stranger (Korean drama). I am currently watching Fallet and have Children of the Whales and Ugly Delicious in my queue. 

10. Japanese interiors and food 
Lately I have been very much interested in following accounts on Instagram that showcase wonderfully homey, rustic, countryside Japanese interior homes. They are far away from Tokyo, from that city scene, and it's just my vibe. Food and bento pictures are also so very interesting to me and it makes me keep busy in my own kitchen. Not just cooking though, but presentation and also photography as well. Not lavishly staged but somewhere along the lines of more natural. I have such a long ways to go to nail the whole concept but it's always nice to have an interest that drives you, doesn't it?

What's been going on in your neck of the woods? 

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