At a Loss for a Witty Attention-Grabbing Title

 I don’t have smoke coming out of my ears today. That’s a good thing. The new battery has completely resolved the issues with the cursor and Oakley’s tummy has remained stable. For those small blessings, I am truly grateful.

Made a slightly too spicy pot of soup for lunch today. The jalepenos spiced it up a little too much. Will add some more coconut milk–aiming at a Thai-style green curry. Not bad, but just a little too hot. Rice will help, too. 

Experimenting with more Indian food at home. We both like it. Why not? I have a book with reduced fat recipes. I eat Indian; I am happy. I am less likely to find ways to get into culinary mischief. Also a good way to slip in greens if spices, ginger, and other flavorings are involved. Check out Anjum Arnad’s Indian Every Day for easy and exotic deliciousness. Yum.

Per Dr. Weil, I’ve set the goal of eating more fish. Now if I could just remember that fried isn’t such a good thing… 


Last Week and Other Long Strange Trips

So last week launched with a rip-roaring start. At 1 AM last Sunday, Oakley had to go out. Bad. And at 1:45, then 2 something, then I quit checking on time. After a total of six outings in the yard between then and about 5 AM, he was empty, or so I thought. 

I tried to write after grabbing a nap, but the cursor began jumping around. It was not some sleep-deprivation-induced hallucination; the little sucker was bouncing all over the page. Wrote it off as a fluke, shut down, and stared at the TV as a focal point. 

Monday brought another round of follow the bouncing cursor. Oakley seemed OK. I gave the bad dream that was Sunday morning no more thought. Tuesday was OK in the canine GI department, but the cursor still bounced. I Googled the cursor issue. Most likely causes: moisture or some schmutz caught in the keys or, more ominously, a swollen battery pushing into the track pad assembly. Oh, and the minor inconvenience of a possible fire.  Ok, get it looked at while Oakley is at day care on Wednesday. The nearest Apple store is not too far off my errand route, so I thought that I could swing by and get it fixed.

Not so much. Oaks woke up at 1 AM Wednesday with tummy cramps and diarrhea. He barfed sometime during the night as well. Day care was out of the question. The only way I could get him to settle down was to sit on the sofa with him and turn on the TV.  When a decent hour arrived, I called his day care teacher, then the vet’s office. Could I get there at 9? Yes. By 11, the meds had kicked in and we both were resting comfortably.

Still, I didn’t know when or how I’d get to the Apple store. It’s 20 miles one way, and in order to save gas, I avoid making willy-nilly runs as much as possible. I made good use of my iPad, my phone. And strung a lot of beads. Many beads.

In the middle of this, Hubby came home from a business trip a day early. I was able to suck it up and do a very rudimentary tidying. He arrived just as I spritzed the house with the sage and cedar spray.

So today, he saw just how much the battery bulged. We made the 20 miles both way trip into deepest downtown Naperville, had the battery replaced posthaste by the Apple Geniuses, started salivating over the next MacBook, and stopped at an Indian restaurant to boot.

Mango custard is a sign of a better week to come, isn’t it? 


Sunday dawned beautifully. A tinge of humidity inspired me to get the morning constitutional under out belts early. Purse, water bottle, cleanup bags, check. Loaded Oakley into the car and drove to the forest preserve with a long road that skirts its unpopulated west side.

We walked through the stand of oaks and maples into the wide open prairie restoration where the road traces long lazy curves across the land. Oakley sniffed, left messages for other dogs. I thought of nothing in particular and everything in general under the high pristine blue sky.

Oakley froze suddenly, and I felt watched. I looked around to see if another early morning was taking up our rear. No, it wasn’t. A young coyote stood about fifty feet behind us. He regarded us with curiosity.

I would have done the same; however, Oakley took his protective stance in front of me and shot daggers at the coyote with his eyes the way that all canids do when they are ready to rumble. Great. I put myself between them to distract Oaks, but he wasn’t having it.

What did I have to defend us? My purse with the water bottle hanging off the strap on the left; a well-filled cleanup bag and leash attached to 75 pounds of muscle in the right. I picked up some reasonable-sized rocks, escalating myself into a sight worthy of a slot on “America’s Got Talent.”

Coyote continued to stare at us from a respectful distance. Then he took a step forward.

“You leave us alone, we leave you alone.   You try to hurt us, I hurt you. Understand?”

I swear he shrugged at me like a human adolescent saying “whatever” before rambling off into the bush.

Admittedly, I was shaken. Coyotes have had their local habitat disrupted by subdivisions planned for the convenience of humans with no regard for nature. However, one too many stories of dogs getting mauled by their wild cousins do send a few chills down the spine in a face to face encounter. 

I did feel remorse for what I said, but I was in no mood to become a statistic.

Monday Potpourri

Oakley scared me this morning. He left food in his bowl, which doesn’t happen very often. Then I realized that I had committed the unforgivable transgression of incorrectly layering the egg, pumpkin, and goat kefir in the bowl before mashing them together. An additional dollop of goat sauce (what it’s called around here) earned my way back into his favor. 

Drinking green jasmine tea. It’s one of the few greens that I enjoy, as is gunpowder green. Gunpowder green has roasted notes and the wow factor of unfurling itself into the full leaves when the water hits it. Very cool to watch. 

Hubby came home, so I’ve been cooking. Scrambled eggs yesterday; almond and coconut flour muffins this morning. Turkey cutlets with rosemary, but do I want to do a rosemary and mushroom or orange sauce? After three weeks of cooking for himself, he really appreciates my culinary efforts and likely doesn’t care.  I’m leaning towards the orange sauce. I have some oranges that need to be used up.

On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. A note of Tudor nerdiness for the day. Other than wearing black and watching the episode of “The Tudors” where she meets her fate, nothing planned. 

So we go on to this week.





Life with a Smart Dog

Another windy, cold day here in the soybean field. Tried to walk this morning, but it’s as if the clock on the weather was turned back two months. We’ll try again shortly. Probably make cauliflower crust pizza tonight.

The trick on days like this is providing Oakley with physical activity and mental stimulation so that he doesn’t decide that it’s time for breakfast at 4 AM tomorrow. If I can get him out for one good walk, the former is solved.

The latter is a little more tricky. His trainers said that he was one of if not the brightest dog they’d ever worked with, and one of the contacts at the shelter said that the families who’d adopted his sisters had reported the same.  As with bright children, smart dogs need challenges. Otherwise, boredom sets in and the risk of destructive behavior increases. That’s why Oakley and I practice obedience training several times a week and he gets treats in a treat ball.

As he’s matured, the potential for chaos has decreased. While he was still a puppy and eating kibble, I fed him from a variety of puzzle toys to keep him from gobbling his food and make him think about  how best to get to the savory nuggets. I invented a game called Kibble from Heaven, sort of a canine quiz. I measured out his meal, then gave him a command. When he responded properly, I tossed a handful of kibble into the air, let it scatter on the floor, and waited until he’d cleaned it up, repeating until he was all done.

Nosework is another good way to enhance adverse weather days. I have some freeze dried liver that I keep for just such an occasion. I hide little chunks of it on end tables, stairs, the dining room chairs, any place that will challenge him a bit, but not so hard as to frustrate him.

It takes a little innovation, but the results have been worth it. I don’t need two holes in the drywall to get my attention.    

Spa Day

Oakley is getting a spa day today. OK, not that elaborate. He went to an extra day of day care today. The on-site groomer will give him a bath, do his ears, and trim his nails. Not cheap, but a good investment in health and aesthetics. 

He doesn’t mind the baths. Those he enjoys. He smiles and lies down in the tub with the same expression of someone in a whirlpool after a long day.  It’s getting all 75 pounds of him in the tub that’s the problem. It’s his issues with getting his ears cleaned and his nails trimmed that don’t help. He’s always been touchy about his paws getting handled, possibly due to rough handling somewhere along the line.  He gets a tag team pedicure with Ms. Marcy running the Dremel and clippers and Ms Judi, the day care center’s owner, giving him lots of love and affection to keep him distracted.

At the end of the day, Oakley gets a bandana and extra treats, and we get a clean, happy dog who doesn’t try to bathe himself at 3 AM. We all end up winning.