This Week in Pictures: Birthday Blowout Bonanza!

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-30 - Misty Morning - Birthday Poo - 0012 [flickr]

It’s Peedee’s birthday! My baby is a teenager now!
Would it have been too much to stick a candle in that pile of birthday poop
he’s guarding this fine, foggy morning?

2015-08-30 - Morning Routine - 0001 [flickr]

Still not too old to sit on mom’s lap while she plows through the morning rountine.

2015-08-30 - Rennie in the Molasses Bow - 0006 [flickr]

Time to get started on Peedee’s birthday cake!
But first let’s put the bow from the gift jar of molasses
on Rennie and see what happens, mkay?

2015-08-30 - The Cake is Baked - 0008 [flickr]

The cake is baked and frosted and I am entirely too proud of how it came out. The recipe is from Emma’s K-9 Kitchen, with a peanut butter-flavored cake and carob frosting. Humans, it’s totally edible, if you’d like to partake with the dogs; just a little on the bland side (no sugar!), rather like a very granola-y muffin. The frosting, on the other hand, rocked my socks off, and I am seriously considering incorporating it into an ice cream. Vanilla Carob Swirl, anyone?

2015-08-30 - The Cake is Baked - 0010 [flickr]

Aaaaaand what we have from this angle is a penis. Okay then.

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Twenty-Two Little Mags & Finnick Things

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

2015-07-29 - Playing Dressup - 0082 [flickr]

These two goobers.
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Mags and Finnick. Finnick and Mags.

Words cannot adequately express my happiness and gratitude that we found you when we did. When we decided to adopt you – dogs six and seven! – your dad and I thought that we might be losing it. Going crazy. Full-on animal hoarder styley. And maybe we were. (Crazy, not hoarders.) But in the best way possible.

Mags, you helped to soften the bluntest edges of grief when I lost Kaylee. Maybe you’ve noticed recently, in times of extreme happiness or exhaustion, how I sometimes slip and call you by her name. Probably it’s a tad insulting – you are your own woman, after all – but I don’t mean it to be. It’s a compliment of the highest order, I swear. Kaylee was one BAMF – and you are too. It’s only natural that I get confused sometimes.

You gals look so much alike, and yet your personalities couldn’t be more different. You are the mini-Kaylee and the anti-Kaylee, all wrapped up in one tiny little package. You love me fiercely and without reservation. You’d follow me to the ends of the earth, and yet you’re unafraid to call me on my bullshit. In so many words. Come to think of it, you two aren’t so different after all. Not in the ways that matter.

2015-06-01 - Swim Season Has Begun - 0014 [flickr]

Finnick, trying not to catch the swims from his mom.
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And Finnick, you were just what your daddy needed after losing Ozzy. He didn’t think that he was a Dog Person, but you proved him wrong, wrong, wrong. I love how much you adore him, and also it takes a little of the pressure off me.

I’m sorry that you’ve had such a rough time these past few months. I’ve been pushing you away for Peedee’s sake, and I feel horribly about it. I promise to make it up to you, probably sooner than I’d like. Your day of spoiling is coming, little guy.

They thought we were crazy for committing to seven dogs. Six of them RAT TERRIERS (said in a long, drawn-out sigh). I think we just had extra love we needed to share. I’m over the moon that it was with you.

2014-12-25 - X-Mas Morning-ish - 0048 [flickr]< Mags is going as the Grinch this x-mas.
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And so, without further ado: twenty-two Mags and Finnick Things. One for each of their years on this earth.

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This Week in Pictures: The Dog from O.P.

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0043 [flickr]

We spent a little time driving around the largest park/trail system at Smithville Lake
(which I’ve previously just referred to as “Smithville Lake,” but it actually has a name, which is either “Little Platte Bauman Park” – according to the signage – or either “Camp Branch Bauman Park” or “Little Platte Park,” if you believe the various .gov websites. CONFUSING! Life sure was easier before I started trying to keep track.)
and were surprised to find a section of trails that we haven’t walked yet (!).

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0022 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0012 [flickr]

This trail loops around a second public swimming beach that also prohibits dogs (I am beginning to detect a very offensive pattern here). Luckily, there’s a boat launch right next door, so the dogs were able to get their bellies wet. I think they prefer the concrete ramp over both rocky shorelines (duh!) and sandy beaches (WTF!). It’s just down and in.

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0010 [flickr]

Shake Face, Part 2,192

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0044 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0052 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0053 [flickr]

The trail circles the lake, and we were able to find an access point near one of the frisbee golf stops. Score!
(Notice how Mags is always conspicuously absent from these aquatic-themed photos.)

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This Week in Pictures: Peanut Butter Milestones

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-16 - Playing While Shane Vacuums - 0004 [flickr]

Other than it being my mom’s birthday, not a whole lot going on today. After a week off, Rennie and Mags resumed swimming; the light exercise helped to loosed up Mag’s joints. I think maybe we overdid the confinement by a day or two. Post-swim, we hung out in the bedroom while Shane vacuumed. Next best thing to leaving the house entirely. That sucker is loud, yo!

 
— MONDAY —

2015-08-17 - Good Morning! - 0007 [flickr]

Rise and shine, lazybones!

2015-08-17 - Experimenting With My Cell - 0003 [flickr]

2015-08-17 - Experimenting With My Cell - 0011 [flickr]

2015-08-17 - Experimenting With My Cell - 0005 [flickr]

Experimenting with the special effects on my cell phone camera, which I have only just now discovered after three months or so. These are cartoon-mood-cartoon, I believe.

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This Week in Pictures: Typical YA Heroine

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-09 - Making Treats, Dodging Dogs - 0004 [flickr]

Making a batch of dog cookies while Peedee supervises oh so closely.

2015-08-10 - PB Oatmeal Carob Cookies - 0001 [flickr]

This time it was the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Emma’s K9 Kitchen. I added a handful of carob chips, so rolling the dough out so I could make cute lil’ bone-shaped biscuits was out of the question. The cookies were really easy to shape, though, and if you overbake them just a tad they have the same texture as biscuits, so it’s all good. This might be the dogs’ favorite flavor yet. Bonus points: they smell freaking amazing. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to try a nibble.

2015-08-10 - Beggars - 0003 [flickr]

Naturally I attracted quite an audience while getting my gourmet food photography on.

 
— MONDAY —

2015-08-10 - Bonebender-Camp Branch - 0009 [flickr]

Back to the Bonebender-Camp Branch trails, this time with Rennie in place of Jayne.

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This Week in Pictures: Camp Branch

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

Mags’s preferred method of drying off after a swim. I always offer to towel dry her, but apparently that’s just not dramatic enough.

 
— MONDAY —

2015-08-03 - Walking Peedee & Rennie - 0006 [flickr]

2015-08-03 - Walking Peedee & Rennie - 0007 [flickr]

A quick late-morning walk in the park with Peedee and Rennie.

2015-08-03 - Going to the Drive-in - 0004 [flickr]

Holy shit you guys, I got all six animals in one shot! THAT’S THE MAGIC OF THE MOVIES. (We were popping corn and packing the van for a trip to the drive-in at the time.)

2015-08-03 - Going to the Drive-in - 0009 [flickr]

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This Week in Pictures: The Bee’s Knees

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-07-26 - Rennie, Mags & a Gecko - 0014 [flickr]

Mags, helping me test out a parasheet blanket I received for review.
She either really loves it or is rilly rilly hot. Or most likely both.

2015-07-26 - Dogs Outside - 0010 [flickr]

Mags, Finnick, and Rennie take turns rolling in … something.
It’s not poop, which is all I need to know.

 
— MONDAY —

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0009 [flickr]

Mags makes me feed her all her meals by hand, preferably while lying on her blanket in the office. I’m just a step or two away from chewing up her kibble and regurgitating it into her mouth, mama bird styley.

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0004 [flickr]

Aaaaand she’s such a slow eater that we tend to draw a crowd.

2015-07-27 - Hand-Feeding Mags - 0005 [flickr]


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This Week in Pictures: Cabin Fever

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-07-19 - Peedee Wants Popcorn - 0001 [flickr]

Chore day! As a reward we finished it off with salt & vinegar popcorn and an episode of Orange is the New Black. Peedee is captivated.

 
— MONDAY —

2015-07-20 - Walking at Cabin Fever Trails - 0002 [flickr]

We had a brief reprieve from the sweltering weather this week, so we crammed in as many walks as we could. First up: one end of the Cabin Fever Trailhead, which shares a parking area with the Anita B. Gorman Trailhead. If you remember, we walked it in two parts a few weeks ago. We could do that, on accounta it’s just two miles long; but seeing as this one’s six, we’ll probably never explore the middle section. At least not with these old squirts, anyway. Unless…Radio Flyer Wagon, anyone?

2015-07-20 - Walking at Cabin Fever Trails - 0004 [flickr]

“Don’t worry, mom. WE GOT THIS.”
(The flood must’ve been nearer the mid-way point, because we never found it.)

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This Week in Pictures: Heat Wave

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

— SATURDAY NIGHT —

2015-07-11 - Frogs & Dogs - 0010 [flickr]

This little guy has been hanging out on our patio come nightfall, looking for nomy insects to crunch on. Luckily, his presence only arouses mild curiosity in the dogs, much like a strange-smelling towel found in the park. (Yes, I have done that. With t-shirts too. And balls. And kids’ toys. Even a notebook shaped like a purse once. Collect ALL THE THINGS, basically.)

 

— SUNDAY —

2015-07-12 - Peanut Butter Balls - 0006 [flickr]

2015-07-12 - Peanut Butter Balls - 0016 [flickr]

2015-07-12 - Peanut Butter Balls - 0022 [flickr]

Sunday was the second day in a week-long heat wave, so we spent the day indoors, sprawled out under fans and next to heating (well, AC) vents. I let Mags, Peedee, and Rennie work on some stuffed Kongs – IN BED (gasp!) – since the blankets were already yucked up with their gross chicken-smelling toothpaste. (I try to buy plain or vanilla, but Pet Boulevard’s listings aren’t always clear.) Rennie really put her thighs into it.


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This Week in Pictures: Snails and Trails

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0018 [flickr]

First thing after breakfast, Shane and I took Peedee and Rennie out on the rowboat. This was our first time taking two dogs at once, and Shane – who cannot swim – was, let’s say, a little nervous: hence the life jackets. Peedee’s never worn one before – in fact, the large size was still in its original packaging from 2+ years ago – and was both puzzled and annoyed once I got it on. For the first five minutes, I couldn’t even get him to walk in it – or else he didn’t think it possible. He just stood in the office staring at me expectantly. I thought I was going to have to carry him down to the pond. Which I did, eventually, but only a quarter of the way, after he tried wriggling out of the jacket entirely.

Rennie, on the other hand? An old pro.
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2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0043 [flickr]

RENNIE IS SO EXCITE HER HEAD’S ABOUTA ESSPLODE!
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2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0034 [flickr]

2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0050 [flickr]

2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0075 [flickr]

Peedee was way more chill this time around; whether he was just getting accustomed to being out on the water, or Rennie acted as a safety blanket of sorts, I can’t say. Probably a little bit of both. And it was a tad cooler outside, which couldn’t have hurt.
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2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0066 [flickr]

It almost doesn’t seem possible that so much tongue could fit in such a lil’ mouth.
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2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0055 [flickr]

2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0051 [flickr]

I found this little guy hiding in the boat. Don’t worry, I stashed him in the stern (?) to keep him safe until we reached shore.
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The Rat Terrier Review: Fourth of July edition!

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

2015-07-03 - Smithville Lake - 0130 [flickr]

I can’t believe we’re five days into July already! The summer is just flying by. Luckily, we’ve managed to cram plenty of fun/new/memory-making things into it, heat and rain be damned.

Of course, we got plenty of walks in this week. Sunday morning we even explored a new trail: the Trice-Dedman Memorial Woods, which is so hidden and out-of-the-way that it doesn’t even have a parking lot, just a shoulder alongside the highway to park on.

2015-06-28 - Trice-Dedman Memorial Woods - 0001 [flickr]

Your sign says “welcome,” but your chained gate says “GTFO.”
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Needless to say, we had the place all to ourselves. That’s the good part. The bad? Well, the trail’s very narrow and I was on high alert for poison ivy the whole time. That kind of sucked most of the joy out of it. Also, Shane managed to get us lost – after I was already headed the right way back to the car. Yeah.

2015-06-28 - Trice-Dedman Memorial Woods - 0010 [flickr]

Peedee was super-anxious the whole time, but Rennie and (especially, weirdly) Mags had a rad time. I think she likes the feel of soft, squishy earth on her tiny little feet.

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The Rat Terrier Review: Waterworld

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

2015-06-27 - Morning Walk at Smithville Lake - 0032 [1024x768 2 water paper]

So remember how last week Peedee had his one-month follow-up x-ray? We finally heard back from the oncologist on Thursday, and her assessment is a little more guarded than our general vet’s. The tumor’s not much larger, which we already knew; but one of the (many) areas of cancerous cells looks a little more advanced. The fluid in his lungs seems to be holding steady, and there’s also a little calcium buildup around the tumor, which suggests that his immune system is trying its best to fight it off. The oncologist is still sticking with her original two- to three-month estimate, although now she’s leaning toward three months. Which means two now, since a month’s already gone by. BUT WHO’S COUNTING? (A: Me, that’s who.)

It’s not the worst news we could have gotten, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping (against my better judgment, natch) for a slightly more positive outlook. Cancer’s tricky, though; it’s always subject to change. The cancerous cells that haven’t yet amassed into tumors could prove more or less aggressive than the tumor – or each other. The tumor might not grow any larger, but the other cells could eventually pose a problem; there’s only so much room in his lung, you know? There’s just no telling how it might progress. All we can really do is take it week by week, I guess. Next x-ray is three weeks from now. Fingers, crossed. But cynically.

2015-06-20 - Watchdog Peedee - 0002 [flickr]

2015-06-25 - Peedee - 0003 [flickr]

On a brighter note, we started him on a few new supplements this week. In addition to the cannabis oil he’s been getting, Peedee’s now on Beta Glucan and Curcumin, both of which supposedly have cancer-fighting properties. Beta Glucan is also purportedly good for the immune system. Nutritional yeast is a good source; since I use it in the dogs’ food and peanut butter balls, I went with a mushroom-derived version of Beta Glucan when choosing the supplement. idk if there’s any difference, but a little variety can’t hurt.

Anyway, on to happier things. It’s still raining buckets in Missouri, hence the subtitle of this week’s Rat Terrier Review. We went on tons of walks, many of which necessitated my giant (and hot! like damn are those things suffocating!) rubber muckracking boots.

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The Rat Terrier Review #5

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

2015-06-14 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0014 [flickr]

I’m running out of clever subtitles for these things, can you tell?

First things first: Peedee had his one-month (actually four-week, but wev) follow-up x-ray yesterday. According to our regular vet’s admittedly inexpert eye, it looks like the cancer has progressed a little, though possibly not as much as we expected/feared given the time frame. (One month = one half to a third of the predicted life span given us by the oncologist, so.) The primary tumor isn’t much larger, nor has the fluid in his lungs gotten worse. So maybe the semi-secret herbal supplement we’ve been giving him has made a difference? Idk.

2015-06-19 - Peedee & His Moo Cow - 0011 [flickr]

Really we won’t know for sure until next week, after the oncologist has had a chance to look over the newest images and compare them to the last round. Like I said, our vet’s good, but he’s not a cancer specialist. I’m trying not to get my hopes up while also not going too far in the other direction and freaking the fuck out. I was dreading yesterday’s appointment all week, and at least now it’s over. So there’s that.

2015-06-19 - Post-Walk Peedee - 0008 [flickr]

Otherwise Peedee is acting pretty normal so far: no loss of appetite, no trouble breathing, no weakness or lethargy. He’s his normal, anxious, hyperactive self. Though the warm weather has got them all feeling a little lazier than normal. Today it’s supposed to hit 95F, so we went the proactive route and cranked the AC this morning. I HATE to close up the house during the summer – it may as well be winter, without the warm breezes and wildlife sounds – but sometimes it just has to be done.

2015-06-19 - Post-Walk Peedee - 0014 [flickr]

So! This week. It actually hasn’t been overbearingly hot, so we were able to take them walking a ton. Peedee’s already tired of our street, so we decided to take a risk and go traipsing around town. For most of our dogs’ lives – well, the entirety of their lives, save for the first year we had Ralphie – we’ve lived in places with wide, open spaces: acres and acres of private property, or large public parks that mostly go unused. So the dogs are used to long leashes and running pretty much wherever they want. As wild as you can get with a harness. Yielding to traffic? Not so much.

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The Rat Terrier Review: Top o’ the Muffin to Ya!

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

This week was pretty low-key, mostly on account of the sweltering heat. Thus we spent quite a bit of time sprawled out on the bed, under fans, and (in the dogs’ case) on the nice, cool concrete floors.

2015-06-10 - Sweltering on the Couch - 0014 [flickr]

2015-06-07 - Late Afternoon Lounging - 0003 [flickr]

2015-06-10 - Sweltering on the Couch - 0021 [flickr]

2015-06-08 - Dogs in Bed - 0003 [flickr]

Wednesday night we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron (MEH. Especially on the woman front.) and Tomorrowland (not bad) at the drive-in; it was so hot that the dogs nearly polished off the bowl of water we brought. They even sat still when I started splashing water from my canteen on them (desperate times, y’all). Peedee was pretty good, though not quite as amazaballs as last time; he barked twice, once at other moviegoers who walked right in front of HIS WINDOW (which was cracked pretty wide, in his defense), and again at the racket from the truck yard next door. Anyway, a good time was had by all, and we weren’t any hotter than we would have been at home, so.

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The Rat Terrier Review: Furry Road Edition!

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

2015-05-31 - Evening Outside - 0008 [flickr]

This week we’ve managed to tick a few more items off The Peedee-Do List, despite the ridiculous amount of rain we’ve been getting. I really shouldn’t complain, though; the worst that’s happened is our pond overflowed into our yard (just the teeniest bit!), and we’re getting eaten alive due to the influx of mosquitoes. Annoying but hardly the end of the world.

2015-05-30 - Kelly & Peedee - 0001 [flickr]

Naturally, there was quite a bit of couch potato-ing and teevee-watching. iZombie, mostly. Binging on GRAAAIIIINS!

2015-05-31 - Walking Peedee & Rennie - 0003 [flickr]

2015-05-31 - Walking Jayne & Finnick - 0003 [flickr]

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The Rat Terrier Review: Paul Blart Edition!

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

2015-05-27 - Five for Paul Blart! - 0012 [flickr]

Last night we ticked another item off Peedee’s to-do list: the drive-in! I’m happy to report that, while it was not an unqualified success – I spent much of the night in a state of hyper-awareness vis-a-vis his big damn mouth – the trip went much better than expected.

Way back when it was just three dogs, we tried taking Ralphie, Peedee, and O-Ren in various combinations – it’s hard now to remember the exact configurations – but all three were such big barkers that we quickly gave up. (I have vague memories of slinging blankets over their crates to keep them quiet, like birds.)

And then I fell in love with Kaylee, and she became a regular. She was happy just to be near me; the popcorn was a bonus. Needless to say, Kaylee was not a big barker; she saved her voice strictly for communicating her demands. Kaylee and Rennie grew so close that we eventually decided to give her a second chance and – surprise! – Rennie was much improved. After Kaylee passed, we handed her spot over to Mags, who was equally well-behaved.

So. Last night I’m loading the van up: blankets, pillows, crate, water, food. Mags and Rennie, both well-versed in the routine, work themselves into the usual excited frenzy: WE’RE GOING OUT! MOVIES AND TREATS AND A WHOLE NIGHT ALONE WITH MOM AND DAD! WALKS AND STRANGE SMELLS AND DISCARDED GREASY FOOD EVERYWHERE!

I can’t bring myself to look Mags in the eye, because it’s her spot Peedee’s taking.

Like, I seriously cannot describe how bad I felt: here she is, just two days off crate rest, and Mom and Dad and her BFF O-Ren are ditching her for the evening. Possibly other evenings to come. And she looked so happy, you guys! OVER-FUCKING-JOYED.

But we didn’t know if we’d be able to handle three dogs, especially when one of them was wild card Peedee.

Shane offhandedly joked that we should just bring her. And so it was decided.

2015-05-27 - Five for Paul Blart! - 0009 [flickr]

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The Rat Terrier Review: Memorial Day Edition!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

I’m not sure one post makes it official, but I am making this a thing, people!

On Saturday, the dogs helped me plant marigolds.

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0009 [flickr]

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0016 [flickr]

Well, Rennie and Peedee helped; Mags had a fit from behind the bars of her crate, and Finnick tried his best to avoid the camera.

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0003 [flickr]

2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0001 [flickr]

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A Brief Comedic Interlude

Monday, May 25th, 2015

2015-05-17 - Outside with the Dogs - 0034 [flickr]

The week before last, Mags had surgery to remove a fatty mass from her left buttock. Fatty deposits are nothing new around here, but this was by far the largest we’ve seen – nearly golf ball-sized. Plus it was in a rather awkward place, wrapped up in muscle tissue; there was a chance that it (or the surgery to remove it) could have damaged one of two nerves controlling her anus, which would have meant temporary incontinence while the right-side nerve learned to compensate.

Luckily, nothing of the sort happened. But. The mass was so large that it grew through the muscle tissue and into her abdominal wall, causing a hernia which had to be repaired. She had an overnight stay in the veterinary hospital and has been confined mostly to a crate for the past two weeks. It’s funny, we never knew just how hyper she was until she was forced to stay still! Her two-week follow-up is tomorrow; I’m seriously hoping that the hernia is healing faster than expected, because I don’t know how we’ll manage another week of this.

There’s a decent chance that she’ll be cleared for water therapy (Shane just set up the pool today!) but still be restricted to a crate otherwise: THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS. Oh, the horrah!

Anyway, here are some photos I took during the first week. (I already shared them on Facebook, which is funny; I hardly ever use it, except when I have a dog-related emergency to kvetch about. I really need to be better about posting personal stuff on my blog. Maybe I’ll try out a weekly dog feature in the future?)

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Book Review: Vegan’s Daily Companion, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (2011)

Friday, May 8th, 2015

“…vegan is what I was meant to be.”

four out of five stars

My hope is that we can navigate through this world and our lives with the grace and integrity of those who need our protection. May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, and the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family as the geese, and adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.

My hope is that we learn from the animals what it is we need to become better people.

With no fewer than four cookbooks under her belt – The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, and The Joy of Vegan Baking, which is destined to become a classic – many of you may know Colleen Patrick-Goudreau as an accomplished vegan chef. But she’s also got a master’s degree in English Literature, which she puts to use as a writer and public speaker, educating the public about compassionate living and animal rights. Her exploration of the intersections between human and animal exploitation, both on the Food for Thought podcast and various short videos released on YouTube, are among my favorites.

In Vegan’s Daily Companion, the self-described Joyful Vegan brings all her talents and avenues of interest together to create a book as unique as it is informative. Part cookbook, part self-help book, part pop culture guide, Vegan’s Daily Companion offers 365 days of inspiration, knowledge, and celebration to vegans, both new and experienced. From Monday through Sunday (with the weekends sharing a recipe), each day you’ll find a short discussion or series of tips, each tailored to a specific theme:

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

2015-03-20 - VDC Cream of Mushroom Soup - 0003 [flickr]

This is another recipe from Vegan’s Daily Companion, by way of Compassionate Cooks member Melissa Phillips. Considering how much a loved the Creamy Mushroom Pasta from Simple Recipes for Joy, I totally expected to fall head over heels for this dish, too. I wasn’t as crazy about mushrooms in drinkable soup form though. It’s not a bad recipe, just not one of my favorites. On the other hand, Shane is a huge fan.

Cha-cha-cha-changes: I couldn’t find any oyster mushrooms, so I left them out. Also, the soup tasted a little on the bland side to me, so I doubled up on the thyme. I left half of it chunky, too, which was a nice variation, I think.

On another, completely unrelated note, here’s a picture of Mags waving ’em in the air like she just don’t care. Because Mags.

2015-03-16 - Rennie, Mags, Finnick - 0012 [flickr]