Saturday, October 31, 2015

Computer Problems

Zoey helped me fix my computer today. This big desktop that I normally sit in front of was randomly powering off. It's actually more like 3 or 4 desktops because I run virtual machines, which means that I usually have several desktop computers in front of my face even though I only have the hardware for one big one. In the old days, I literally had a whole room full of computers. Aint progress grand.

I had waited until the problem got to the point of where the computer wouldn't even power on. I woke up this morning, turned on the computer and thought "oh yeah, it doesn't work, and I didn't feel like fixing it last night."

Someone once ignorantly told me "I'm buying this mechanic's car, so you know everything is perfect!" and I said "No, a mechanic's car means he did the absolute minimum work to it to keep it running."

Being a computer engineer is no different. I had the new case fan sitting on the counter for the last month, knowing my desktop was probably overheating. And I chose to be in denial over the fact that the video card fan wasn't spinning right, either, and overheating the whole machine meant I was probably damaging the video card as well.

So, today Zoey and I put in the new case fan and blew the dust out of the innards with a can of "dust off," which had to be done inside next to the screen door because it was raining. Sure enough, the video card fan started "chattering" when I put it back together, so I ordered a new one from What's funny is the new video card will probably sit there on the counter until the old one fails.

Rainy weather, and I felt yucky last week, so we're all antsy here all couped up. Not much walking or activity outside. Speaking of antsy, the box of ant bait has been waiting on the counter as well...

Dances With Pancakes: The Video

Zoey had already done two full performances of the pancake dance when I thought to grab the camera, so her heart wasn't quite in the video, but it was a good enough start that I think I can eventually get a good video. We might even use a real camera and a tripod next time.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Still Cooking Like A Boss

First I boil or bake the potatoes. They usually sit in the fridge all night. Then, I saute the potatoes in olive oil with a little Montreal steak seasoning, diced onion and bell pepper. For the chicken taco meat, I marinade the chicken breast in lime juice, tequila and taco seasoning. Then, the next day I saute it with diced onion and jalepeno pepper. The taco seasoning from the bulk foods isle at my local Winco is first rate.

These are two of what I would consider my signature dishes. Sometimes the leftovers are compatible with each other, like the chicken and potato burritos with fresh grated pepper jack and medium cheddar, with a little salsa on top for good measure. I used to use mostly sharp cheddar, but for certain dishes like this it's too rich and complete overkill.

Hard to see, but there's a big mound of chicken under everything else!
Cooking for one is about the same amount of work as cooking for 6, but I don't want to eat like most single people eat, and doing something half-assed isn't my style, so I might as well enjoy a burrito that was probably cheaper to make than eating Taco Bell. I spent the last 10 years doing all the dishes, too, and I was a dishwasher a million years ago, so whipping up a burrito or two and making the kitchen spotless right afterwards "aint no thing."

Eventually my schedule will get busier and cooking like this may be hard to justify. I still did all the cooking and cleaning even working full time, but it was pushing the bounds of what a human can do, and didn't do wonders for my health. It was unsustainable as they say.

My brother makes all his chicken salads a week in advance every week. It sounds really boring to me, but every inch of him is rippling with muscles, and he even does modeling on the side, so it's hard to justify that kind of logic other than to say "but I don't want to eat a slab of chicken on a slab of greens every night."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pancake Dance

After the last debacle with pancakes, I was wary of making them again. I didn't know certain types of mix could go bad, even unopened. But I have a brand new big bag of our normal brand, and over the years the ex proved that pancakes make a decent carb snack for little dogs. I realized a couple weeks or so ago that I had the doggies on what was mostly an Atkins diet, which I've never been a huge proponent of.

Our new pancake treat time has been a smashing success. Zoey in particular does her special "pancake dance" which I am trying to be quick enough to get a video of soon.

"Someone said 'pancakes' ?"

Just like the doggies' homemade chicken and rice I make for them, I make a bunch in advance. Then I just take a pancake out of the fridge and divide it up when it's treat time.

But I have run into a couple feeding snags. Even as an overachiever show-off, there's been a couple times when it's slipped my mind that I'm out of my home cooked dog food, and it's close to an hour by the time it's done and cooled off enough for them to eat, and I don't like feeding them an hour or two late.

I only make a couple days' worth at a time to give them the freshest dinner, just like I would do for people, but that might be overly ambitious even for someone without a lot of time constraints.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Video Of Tidbit

Me and Tidbit were bros before we parted ways about a year ago. He's so tiny in size but so large in stature. He's a beast like his papa was, but he's also highly intelligent like his mommy, with plenty of his own quirks thrown into the mix.

But 4 is plenty to take care of, and even though Ty and Bear were bonded and best friends, Tidbit has bonded to Bear now, and everything is swell for all the puppies.

In the video you can see that he has some of "his mommy's crazy" as he barks at the water dish that he doesn't like. Apparently the water dish had to be replaced and he's barked at the new one every day. I just know he's cute and was happy to unexpectedly get the dropbox notification of the video.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pill Time Is Treat Time

The slow decline of their papa, Lenny, a couple years ago caused a weird dynamic in the pack. Lenny was probably on 4 or 5 medications, which all had to be given with treats. But anyone who has ever had more than one dog knows that you can't give treats just to one dog, not even it's a dying dog. Lenny was a pure beast, so pill time was even exciting to him.

So, to this day when one of the pooches, like Spot, is on medication, the entire pack goes into a frenzy when they hear the pill bottles, just like Pavlov's dogs in the famous experiment. I couldn't create more excitement if I tried on purpose. Pill time is treat time!

A year ago, there were some big arguments because I was giving more extravagant treats. I still make no apologies: if you have less than a month to live, you can stay up late and have whatever you want to eat. To me, life is about quality, not quantity, and one of the keys to life is to balance the two.

Treat time now is not stressful time like it was just a year ago. All the doggies are happy and the treats are healthy. I wish that I could disassociate them from pills = treats. Today I tried, but the frenzy was too much, and I caved. They could worse than healthy protein snacks. I guess I should just factor that into our feeding paradigm.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Perky Spot

Years ago when I took Prozac to quit smoking, it made me depressed when I wasn't to begin with. It was awful and I had to stop taking it. I hear that if you don't have depression, the medication has the opposite effect, but if you do have depression, then it perks you up.

It almost has to be the meds, because the last time she burrowed under the blankets to sleep with me and jumped in my lap the same day was at least 2 years ago. She's been so clingy today that Zoey is getting jealous. She doesn't seem to be afraid of anything today.

Right now Spot is pacing like a caged tiger. I know she needs a walk, but the vet said 10 days on the Prozac and I want to give it the full 10 days before I start saying officially that it's helping. I opened the cupboard this morning to get a coffee cup and she would normally hide at anything being opened like that, and this morning she watched me, and came up and sniffed my coffee cup. Sure seems like progress.

It was such an emotional moment that I cleared my schedule just so I could spend the day with her. I can do my errands tomorrow. A headhunter I had emailed my resume to replied with "The client is Microsoft, what is your best and most competitive rate?" and I replied with a number they probably won't like. With no overhead and a meager but steadily growing income from my blogs and a couple small clients, it better be a fantastic offer to take me away from my pooches for any length of time.

I'm having a hard time making up my mind, but the plan is still to get Oregon residency, form my LLC and go out into the Portland metro area, shake some hands and land a couple larger clients. At this point anything resembling full time has to be enticing, which doesn't necessarily mean money for the right job. But I still like the idea of self employment where all my eggs aren't in one basket as the old saying goes.

Ty Time

Ty is the only dog that sleeps with me. Spot would sleep with me, but she's afraid, so she sleeps in the crate where it's safe. Zoey would sleep with me, but by the time I go to bed, she's already in the crate behind Spot, so she's "Spot blocked" from coming out of the crate all night, unless I create a scene and make Spot let her out.

Smokey would sleep with me, but now that I'm living alone, he has the couch all to himself. He likes to sleep with me, but not enough to compete with all the dogs he thinks are sleeping with me.

So, it's mainly just Ty that sleeps with me now. When I get up to use the bathroom, he will crawl out of the blankets and sleep on my pillow until I come back. When we are sleeping, he cuddles up as close as he can get to me, just like his papa. But his papa never waited for me like that.

In the middle of the night when I get up to use the bathroom, when I come back to bed, I'll just sit and pet Ty. If it's light enough, I can always see him smiling. The lady who owned him when he was first away from us loved him more than anything, but she was old school and made him sleep in the crate.

When he first came back to us, it took him longer than we were expecting for him to fit back into the pack. Two years is a long time for a dog to be gone. And then when he did fit back in, he had to compete for attention.

Now we're settled into some kind of groove, and Ty knows his place in the world. He's not the "red-headed step child" he used to be, and I have plenty of "Ty Time" and I even sometimes take him on errands around town now that the weather has gotten cooler. I'm happy for him.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Doggy Prozac

Years ago my doctor tried me on Prozac to quit smoking. He said "if anyone asks, you're depressed about being a smoker" haha. It worked beautifully at first. I had no urge to smoke. The problem was that I had no urges whatsoever. This was even OK for a while. No urges to eat, so I lost some weight. No urges to work, so I'd cut out early. But after a while I decided I'd rather be a happy smoker than a zombie non-smoker, and it was a few more years before I eventually quit smoking.

So, when Spot turned her nose up at a pill coated with peanut butter, my first thought is that the Prozac is going to make her even more picky of an eater. But she has crippling anxiety, so she's not going to be a happy anything without some kind of medication.

We are going to try the thunder coat as well. I want to give the Prozac a few more days so she'll be hopefully calmer when I go to measure her with the fabric tape. So far it's working OK except for her being a little listless and now more picky about taking food.

Last night I didn't cover the antibiotic good enough with the peanut butter, and she spit out the pill the first time, so hopefully this isn't the start of having to spend an hour each pill with all the trauma that causes, like Ty there for a while. Being able to trick 3 of 4 into taking a pill is a number I'd like to keep!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lab Results

The vet was pretty sure it was a parasite, but the labs came up clean, so they just gave me the antibiotic that she responded to--the same ones her puppies had taken. So, I know if she gets sick again, this med will work, but I'm still dumbfounded about what it is. But I'm sure it's some type of microbe that was / is giving my doggies grief.

Spot's lab results came back good for the Prozac as well. We will check back in about a month with the liver enzymes again, and if everything is fine and the Prozac is working, then she can stay on it. We're only at day two on that, so it'll be a week or so before I see a difference, if there's going to be one.

Spot was being difficult with her meds this morning. Today at the vet, they gave me the antibiotics and said "have you ever given Spot meds?" and I said "Oh yes, Spot would eat shards of glass if I covered them in peanut butter." and there were lots of chuckles in the waiting room. So of course Spot proved me wrong and kept sucking the peanut butter off the antibiotic and spitting it out, like her sons Bear or Ty would do. But I think it was just early and she's not used to getting snacks this early in the morning--I'm the same way. Don't show me food before noon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Spot's Doc

Spot saw her new vet today. For a dog that normally flips out on strangers, she did great. She barked up a storm in the waiting room and she barked at the nurse, but when the doctor came in, she got calm, which was a great omen for me.

The vet agreed with me on all counts. It's definitely contagious, and it's the same thing you get from drinking the water in Mexico. Right now she's symptom free, so they are doing the labs and will look at what meds she needs tomorrow. The vet is sharp.

The vet also agreed with me about the anxiety meds. I asked if they had doggy Prozac, and the vet said that's exactly what they prescribe. So, Spot has her Prozac once I can find the pill splitter. The vet also recommended a thunder coat. I had just bought a fabric tape measure for collars and harnesses and such, so I'm going to measure her for the thunder coat.

She also said "whatever you're doing with food, keep doing it." Spot is at a perfect weight, which I pretty much already knew because our number one task is getting Spot to eat and eat right. But Spot has some tooth problems and the vet said I should budget for tooth extractions just in case.

We also did a couple vaccinations including one for rabies, which the vet said means the county will call me to register her, which is fine.

We're going to do the Prozac for 10 days, and if it works, and it doesn't affect her liver enzymes, then we're going to keep her on it and start looking at walking her. As I was hoping for, they have lots of resources for behavior issues, including a vet that does nothing but behavioral stuff.

There is no guarantee that she will be a normal dog, but the initial signs are encouraging, and they are ready to try, which I like. So, we're excited and hopeful for the future!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Slight Improvement

Today Spot keeps going over to the piddle pads, but nothing is coming out. I did see her pee, and I can tell she's having a lot of discomfort. She took some cottage cheese OK as a snack earlier today, and she's been lovey, so I know she's not doing too horribly.

We're going to do another round of meds at dinner and another before bedtime, and that's it for the supply of meds. I still don't think we're quite at the point of needing urgent care, but I called a local vet and made an appointment for tomorrow morning.

I told them the whole story of her offspring also having this condition, and that I wanted a regular vet to get on top of everything instead of rushing around between different hospitals, and they agreed. I'm also going to ask them where the starting point for working on her social anxiety is. I fumbled through pronouncing the meds I am giving her, and I could hear the lady nodding--these are common meds that two different vets gave me.

Poor Spot, she's being such a trooper. And at least we can finally have a vet look at her crippling anxiety.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spot Is Sick Again

This time her symptoms were almost as bad as when I rushed Zoey to the ER. But she's not acting sick like Zoey was, and she took some of the meds fine, so we're waiting until tomorrow to see if she gets better. I was going to take her to the ER earlier when she wouldn't take the meds with peanut butter, but I tried a second time and she took them.

My ex says to be prepared for whatever this is to hit Smokey, too, and I tend to agree. He's 10 years old but otherwise in excellent health. We need to find a regular local vet, so I will probably do that either way. The two different hospitals here took really good care of my pooches, but there's no sense paying double if I don't have to, and we need a regular vet anyway.

So far we've been through about 10 piddle pads this evening, but I'm not taking any chances it's contagious, which is about the only realistic explanation at this point. It definitely has nothing to do with food, since we have been so disciplined the last week or so. We've stuck 100% to the plan.

I had left the truck loaded for our road trip, but we're not going to plan for any trips until this is all figured out. We'll just focus on our health and well being for now. One of my little sisters (I have three) swears we are going to be gym buddies, so we'll see if that pans out. I'm getting to the point in my health and fitness where not going to the gym is starting to hold me back unless I start getting real equipment instead of just weights.

Cold Spot

Dogs sometimes run to their parent when they've had a nightmare, just like human children do. So, when Spot jumped up into my lap shaking, I thought she was scared and just woke up from a nightmare. But as I was petting her, and she was shaking, she was looking at me with condemnation.

Why would my dog blame her nightmare on me? That's when I noticed it felt a little chilly, and that's when it dawned on me that it was 43 degrees outside and I had left the window open right next to where she likes to sleep.

Spot almost never jumps in my lap, but tonight she had to remind me to close the window!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spot On

Spot is doing great--doing her dinner and snack dances and spinning around like the psychotic little thing she is. She's always been a magnificent physical specimen, so I wasn't quite as worried about her, but I was still worried. Murphy's laws are woven into the fabric of the universe, but I've always thought they can be (mostly) mastered. Disaster rarely strikes when you're in peak mental, physical and financial shape. When it's done right, self mastery feels like being Neo from the Matrix: you flex your arms and the world bends a little.

Right now I feel more like Neo with a couple numb fingers. But exercising and lifting weights every day for months is finally paying the dividends I knew it would. The mental and physical are dependent on each other, and they reinforce each other. When both are right, the world kind of opens up, and anything is possible.

My girls!

Spot was an abused puppy mill dog, first rescued, then abused. Years ago when the ex was looking on Craigslist and reading me her story, I could see that "look" on her face. She said "It's OK, we have too many dogs, and we'd basically be paying a large bounty to her abusers. It's OK." Her story affected me, too, and I could see those doe-like green eyes blink-blinking at me, and I said "OK, get her, we'll figure it out."

Now here I am, 7 years later, still trying to make good on that moment and still trying to figure it out. We weren't the magical heroes we were supposed to be, and she isn't the normal dog we were supposed to help her become. Now that I'm in good shape, and there's not hundreds of things coming at me a day, I can finally focus on the health and happiness of myself and my doggies. My life is finally spot-on where I want it.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cottage Cheese For Spot

It was during her pregnancy 4 1/2 years ago that Spot stopped eating normally, and hasn't been normal ever since. I was working long hours at the time, and the missus did research, called the vet and otherwise scrambled to figure out some trick to where she would eat normally. That miracle food turned out to be cottage cheese, which took her from a skinny, pregnant thing that looked like she would lose the puppies, to a perfect weight where she whelped 6 healthy puppies. No easy feat with a dog as small as spot. Our vet was impressed.

Now fast forward a few years, and I just happened to buy a tub of cottage cheese a couple days before Spot got hit with whatever bug hit her two puppies. Most vets sigh when you mention dogs and cheese in the same sentence, but I know from experience that Spot and her puppies tolerate most types of cheese. Their papa, Lenny, was lactose intolerant like most dogs, but the puppies didn't get that--they got Spot's strong constitution for the most part.

"Who wants snacks?"

Today Spot is doing much better. We switched to a spoon to distribute the cottage cheese, as a spoon has no sharp edges for Zoey to bite down on. I personally can't stand cottage cheese and don't eat it, but it really perks Spot up. Even being sick last night, she still had enough energy to "Spot Block" Zoey inside the crate behind her, refusing to let her out.

Friday, October 16, 2015

No Weekend Away

The truck was gassed up and loaded up. Extra dog food was made and extra human snacks were packed. We were all ready to go to Spot's favorite place on earth, the cabin in the woods, when she starting making the bloody spots that put Zoey and Ty in the doggy hospital last time.

I hit her with Zoey's meds, and if she's not better by tomorrow, then we're going to the "daytime ER" since the two vet hospitals here split up their shifts. She's not looking sick like Zoey did, and she's taking food and took the meds just fine. She's eating and wagging her tail.

The last vet told me that it was something they ate, and not something they caught, but now I'm not so sure, since it doesn't seem like it's had anything to do with the food. The other night was definitely bad pancakes for me and Zoey, but this seems like something else, and now it's hit dog #3. And Spot is my most nutritionally scrutinized dog since she's the picky eater. She's a well oiled machine as far as food is concerned. I know for a fact everything she's eaten has been safe.

Unlike Zoey, who is a delicate flower, Spot is tough as nails, and she whelped 6 puppies, so I'm not as worried about her since she's closer to Ty's level of symptoms than Zoey's. I feel bad that we have to put off our trip since it's to her favorite place, but as my sister pointed out, a little kid doesn't want to go to Disneyland if she's sick, so we'll go next weekend.

Better safe than sorry. And Spot was my next big project anyway. I was already planning on taking her to the vet to talk about her anxiety issues. Right now every bloody spot has to be cleaned up with Resolve, since being sick coupled with her normal anxiety means that she's too scared and anxious to use the piddle pads, like she knows she's supposed to do, which just adds to her anxiety. Poor girl, but at least each dog has only had it once so far, so hopefully it'll be something they catch and then are immune to. If not, well, I budgeted for this kind of stuff.

As a puppy, Smokey once ate a tube of diaper rash cream and pooped blue foam for days, so his stomach has always been made of iron, or he simply wouldn't be around with all the weird stuff he's eaten in his 10 years. So, hopefully it's nothing that will affect him, and this will all blow over with Spot. I had bought some cottage cheese just for her late night snacks, so it'll be telling if she eats it tonight.

Dogs Are Like Children

Dogs are more like children than they are different. It's true, dogs are cheaper to feed, and they can't say something embarrassing like "Mark said I have to wait until I'm 14 to get pregnant" at a teacher conference, or "Dad, I know what the French are: Cheese eating surrender monkeys!" (Simpsons?) in the grocery store, in front of people who are obviously speaking French.

But other than the no thumbs or talking part, dogs are almost as much work as real children. I can't leave them alone for too long. I can't leave them in a hot car. They randomly decide that they are hungry, hot, cold or have to pee. All my dogs have some version of the two year old child version of pulling on my pants and saying "daddy--daddy--daddy--" A trip to the doctor runs about the same.

A Chihuahua is orders of magnitude cheaper to feed than a 16 year old boy on the football team. When I say "Jesus, you ate what?" to a dog, I'm never talking about what it cost. Feeding four Chihuahuas runs about the same as I remember feeding a single 3 year old boy.

Riding in the truck is about the same as multiple little kids. Same work to load up all the crates, same seatbelts and some of the same whiny "no, but this time I really do have to pee" behavior. Instead of dressing them in pants and shirts, it's harnesses and collars.

All the joy, none of the embarrassment, for about the same amount of work, but much, much cheaper!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dinner Beast

Lenny ate every meal of his life as if it was his last. Even with a bad heart, a bad back and bad knees, he would still race across the room and take food away from his offspring, right up to within days of his passing.

All the sons and daughters of Lenny love food, but only Zoey is a beast around food like her papa Lenny was. She is ever bit as ornery.

She's definitely feeling better, because tonight she almost put herself back in the hospital by jumping too hard at a fork with some salad on it. She almost impaled herself over a piece of lettuce. It didn't draw blood and she didn't yelp, but she spent the next several hours licking her chops in discomfort.

The ex used to be able to have them all line up and take a healthy snack from a fork like civilized canines, so I guess it's time to stop being the cool dad and return to that discipline!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Death By Pancake

Update: Zoey is fine! Some days my brain doesn't function properly, and I didn't think what this might look like at first glance. I forget that I'm a blogger who is supposed to be weaving a coherent storyline, instead of just the diary of a smartass. Sorry for adding jackass to my resume.

I spent my 20s riding my motorcycle too fast with no helmet. Not one scratch from years of lane splitting and driving like I was invincible, and somehow I survived to grow up and be an adult in my 30s. But since then, I've always known that when the universe finally takes me back, it'll be for something stupid, like eating bad buttermilk pancakes or tripping on dry pavement on a sunny day and breaking my neck or something.

As I lay in bed with Zoey, with both of us miserable with our tummies, wondering how as an experienced cook, I could've screwed up buttermilk pancakes from a box, it hit me. I figured it had something to do with the buttermilk and the fact that this box sat unopened at a cabin and was subjected to extremes of temperature. A friend suggested that the temperature swings can still kill the powered buttermilk. Even powdered milk can congeal. It made sense to me.

Her brother, Ty, was sitting near her to comfort her

What's funny is I don't eat many pancakes as a single guy, and I don't normally buy that brand. I saw "light" but didn't notice the "buttermilk" part. It's still just a theory, but it's the only thing both of us ate the other night. Either way, throwing away any one thing is magnitudes cheaper than an ER visit for either of us.

Now Zoey and I are both back to fighting shape, and the other ones don't look like they are uncomfortable as well. All four are coming with me to the cabin this weekend, where I think I'll mostly store the freeze dried survival / military food my sister had there as the cuisine of choice.

Normally the bedroom is blocked off because her mommy was very bad, but sick girls can go in there

Monday, October 12, 2015

More Tummy Problems

It must've been a bad batch of buttermilk pancakes, because I had tummy problems last night, and now Zoey does, too. Smokey was trying to lay on my lap and looking up and me, frowning. Buttermilk pancakes from a box seemed pretty fool proof.

Oh, well, it was an extra box that's pretty much gone--I normally buy just the regular Krusteaz that my wife gave them as treats every day for a few years, so I know we all tolerate that brand. And I know they didn't have any butter or syrup like I had on mine. We might need to find another carb type snack--we'll see.

Zoey is currently the only one having visible issues, which is good. It's nowhere near as bad as when I took her to the hospital. I did see a tiny bit of blood, so I hit her with both medications I have leftover from her two day ER stay.

I'm in much better financial shape than last time. And last time I didn't have extra medication lying around, so we're only at DEFCON1 here now. Oh, and last time I was having blurred vision while my eyes adjusted to not being sick, and I almost hit a center divider coming back home at 2 in the morning. I couldn't even read the road signs picking her up a couple days later in broad daylight. There was nothing else to do other than "man up" and do it myself because all my siblings were at work.

What a difference even a couple months makes. No, it's a little stressful, but entirely less scary. And she's eating and wagging her tail tonight, which are the two biggest signs my last vet used to tell me to look for. These little dogs are high difficulty on a good day. Either way, it's safe to say that our late pancake dinner last night was not a big hit.

Home Cooked Dog Food II: Beefy Dinner Goodness

The two older dogs, Smokey and Spot, are still looking a little thin, despite upping their dinner time portions of my homemade chicken and rice dinners I make for them. I guess even with the rice, it still resembles more of an Atkins type diet. They need more fat and more carbs. I am giving them pancake-shards as treats to increase their carbs.

One of the things I am doing to give them a little more fat, is to make my recipe with good quality 80/20 ground beef from my local WinCo, which has become my favorite store. What I do is brown the beef with a dash of iodized salt, and pour out about 2/3 of the fat, leaving just enough for the rice and vegetables to soak a little bit of it in.

When done right, the whole pack inhales it for every meal. Too much fat, though, and the whole mixture becomes greasy. The photo below is a good batch, where it soaks in the fat but doesn't end up greasy.

I am loving these cheap T-fal pans I got from Amazon. As always, clicking on one of my Amazon links on any of my blogs gives me a small commission and helps support the blog. When I had a big household, I used mostly high end pans from Calphalon and All Clad, and it seemed like the non-stick ones didn't last any longer than the cheap ones. This one has held up great for being used about 3 times a day. Yay for frugality.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Workout Buddy

Little dogs are fragile, and I'm moving to heavier barbells. So, I'm very careful that little dogs aren't too close to me when I'm working out with weights. When I first started a couple months ago, I was too weak from my medical issues to even curl Zoey. Now I'm curling 4 Zoeys, even with my bad arm. For a while I was looking like the guy from the movie, Lady in The Water, where the guy only lifts weights with one arm. But the left arm eventually complied and now looks almost the same as my right arm.

"What are you doing, Pet?"
The other dogs don't care that I'm working out; there's no food or play or praise. But my honey bunny sees that it's something important to me, so she always watches me from somewhere safe, trying to figure out what I'm doing and why it looks so silly.

Sometimes I'll talk to her, and she strains to understand me, just like my Corgi, Dancer, did years ago. I will say something like "listen very carefully, because I'm saying something really important" and I can see her strain and strain to have her little brain try to understand what I'm saying.

Just like Dancer, it's almost like if she could just think a little harder, then she'd understand.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Adjusting To Single Life

The other morning, I woke up giggling. My place is spotless. My life is organized. There's food in the
pantry and fridge. I'm not at a job I hate. No one is yelling at me for anything. I'm debt free with a few bucks in the bank. I'm in decent health and lift weights every day. My doggies are safe and happy, and they are my only responsibility. I could gas up the truck, hitch it to my house on wheels and go wherever I want. I'm being super picky about looking for the right job, and just the right relationships in general.

When I was sad for everything I lost and feeling sorry for myself, I could see this place I'm at now. It seemed a million miles away, but I could see it. The old me, who made success look easy, except with the freedom that the old me couldn't dream of.

Recently I read a quote about health and fitness that said:

"Life is pain, but you can choose whether to have good pain, or bad pain."

It's a rainy day here in Hillsboro

Friday, October 9, 2015


The other day I was walking Zoey and Ty together, and they were both pulling on the leashes like a tiny sled dog team. I wonder how many Chihuahuas it would take to pull a real sled, and how famous I would be if I did it. Either way, the mental image is funny.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reverse Fetch

Ty and I invented a new game today called "reverse fetch," where I fetch the toy and give it to him. I have a job interview tomorrow, so I was trying to tire him out, but so far I'm the only one that's tired. Being single and debt free, with the kids grown up, puts me in a great position to decide how any job would relate to my dogs.

I could work at home like my last job, or even hire an assistant to spend time with my doggies if I decide on an office job or management position. I could stay self employed or even take a job at McDonald's if I wanted to. I could hit the road in my RV and take a job anywhere in the country. I've been fortunate to have a successful career, and to have a resume that gives me options.

Ty was born in my living room in front of me, and he meant the whole world to his first owner before she was hospitalized. It's finally starting to feel like I am doing better for him than some random person on Craigslist I could give him to.