Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh no, Papa! Be patient with the gifts.

During this season of cheer, I wanted to let you know that I adore my dog (lest you think that I complain too much). Sure, she's mischievous, but I think that's a sign of her superior intelligence. And look at how nicely she's relaxing by my Christmas tree. I came home only once to find an ornament on the floor, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. Good girl, Papa!

When we went to my parents' house on Christmas, Papa sat close by as my dad opened the gift Yukie sent: Pedi Paws. (I love it and hope we will have lots of nail-trimming fun.) She was rambunctious when we opened her new Frisbees — she tried to play with them by dragging them around — but she was good-natured when we made her model the hand-knit socks my mom gave me.

Papa was pushy going through this Trader Joe's tote, but I'll chalk that up to her excitement over the holidays. She has been a bit needy lately — holiday blues? — but I'm hoping some quality time at my parents' house (while I finish painting the bedroom) will be good for her. Cheers, Papa!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Painting disarray

I’m making slow progress painting my spare bedroom: the cleaning, prep, spackling, and taping took a long time. (I always forget that those are best done in stages.) Also, an unforeseen delay: Papa kept dropping tennis balls in front of me, so I had to maneuver around her (the bed takes up most of the room).

My color choice: Sherwin Williams Expressive Plum. It’s a plummy beige, sort of like chocolate ice cream. You can search for it and test other shades on their color visualizer. The color looks darker on my walls, but that’s okay. My new midnight blue velvet curtains look beautiful, if not quite as spectacular as in the Overstock photo.

I deliberated a while before committing to this redesign, but now that I've made some decisions, it's maddening how long it's taking. I only had time (and space) to paint two walls today. But I hope to be done by the end of the week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh no, Papa! I'm trying to shovel.

Papa loves the snow. No matter how cold it is, she can romp off-leash while I shovel. She always comes bouncing back, Frisbee in mouth.

Unfortunately, I can’t be constantly focused on her when I'm shoveling. Sometimes she tries to play Frisbee by herself, dragging it through the snow with her front paws. Otherwise, if I’m too slow in dropping the shovel and tossing the Frisbee, she cries. Just once, a little gasp. If I ignore her and continue shoveling, she will try to block my way, scooting backwards while giving me Sad Eyes.

All said, she is a good dog. A great dog, in fact. As hyper as she is outside, she is also an accomplished snoozer. So we've been having a relaxing holiday. I wish you a happy holiday, too!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A jones for scones

With the blizzards this past week, I've had more time to bake. I made a few batches of florentines, which people liked last Christmas. Unlike last Christmas, though, there were no baking mishaps. Well, actually, just one: I didn't use quick oats in the first batch, so they turned out chewier than they should have been.

This morning, after playing Frisbee with Papa in subzero weather, I wanted scones. I rarely eat scones, unless I've baked them myself. Mine don't always turn out great, but I think I've had too many crumbly, flavorless disappointments from Starbucks.

An aside: I needed to use up some leftover buttermilk. How do you know when buttermilk goes bad? Does it, ever?

I tried a new recipe and threw in grated grapefruit peel and semisweet chocolate chips. The scones were good, but not my favorite. A couple of years ago, I found a great recipe on a bag of sugar. You can find it on the C & H Sugar website; just type in "lemon cream scones" in their Find a Recipe box (and select "All Words" in the drop-down box). That recipe uses heavy cream, not buttermilk. Also, I don't like golden raisins (they're like a waste of a raisin), so I substitute Craisins.

After my scones and green tea, I'm ready to start my housebound day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh no, Papa! I'm doing yoga.

Papa seems a bit lonely these days. I’m not sure why.

On Monday, when I came up from the basement after running on my treadmill, she was waiting at the top of the stairs. I did a couple of yoga stretches in the living room. When I did downward dog, Papa stood next to me and did it, too, then licked my face and neck. Then she ran around to stand across from me and licked my face and neck some more.

Oh no, Papa, I’m trying to work out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A couple of years ago for a Secret Santa gift, Lindsay (who used to work at BeadStyle) gave me a Hello Kitty waffle maker and this recipe. It was a cute gift, and I spent lots of time making beensy waffles in cat, rabbit, and bear shapes. I have since graduated to a big-girl waffle iron, but still remember Lindsay's thoughtfulness whenever I make waffles. This recipe yields stacks and stacks of them, so I usually make only half and still have lots of leftovers.

Lindsay’s Grandma Dort’s Waffles
6 eggs, separated
1 quart buttermilk
10 Tbsp. melted butter
¾ cup sugar

Mix together and set aside: ¾ tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. baking powder, 3½ cups flour, ½ tsp. salt.

1. Beat egg yolks till well mixed (use electric beater) in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add buttermilk and stir with wire whisk.

3. Add flour mixture and stir with wire whisk.

4. Add melted butter and stir with wire whisk.

5. Add sugar and stir with wire whisk.

6. Beat egg whites with electric beater until they hold up in peaks. Then add to batter and stir with wire whisk.

7. Brush (or spray) waffle iron with oil for the first one.

*Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh no, Papa! I'm decorating the tree.

I put up my Christmas tree this weekend, and Papa sat very close as I tested the lights. She also lay down on top of them — a trifle dangerous as I tried to maneuver around her.

Oh no, Papa, I can't play with the tennis ball now, either.

By the way, her lump was just a fat deposit, as expected. That's even better than last year's Christmas miracle (when I didn't have to get glasses).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Essay: Almost 40-love

The months of drafts and rewrites were worth it: my first non-jewelry byline is in a sports magazine! "Almost 40-love" has just been published in the winter 2008 issue of Tennis View.

You can pick up a copy at Barnes & Noble or read it here to find out more.

Thanks for reading it, in whatever version — past or present — you saw.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oh no, Papa! How many toys will it take?

I'm trying to find toys (other than Frisbees) that entertain Papa. Also, her three Frisbees all got buried by the recent snow... oops. We need some indoor toys.

The Twist 'n Treat seemed like a good idea. It looks like a flying saucer and you can adjust the halves to make it easier or harder for the dog to get at the treats.

Just to be on the safe side, I turn my back to Papa when I fill it with dog biscuits. (She is very smart; I'd hate for her to just figure out how to unscrew it.)

Alas, it's not going to be a real option: First, she picks it up and drops it, making a loud banging noise. Wily. Then, she chews on it and bits of rubber break off. Not so good, because I can't let her play with the toy unattended.

I'm still on the hunt. If not the Twist 'n Treat or the Orka ball or the Tug-a-Jug, then what?