Monday, February 21, 2011

Gone to the Dogs - Back to Websites, Blogs & Other Goals

I know I've been absent from posting to my blogs for awhile, but here I am, back again. We just got back from a quick visit with my younger son. The weather was mighty cold, with a bit of blowing snow, when coming back home. But overall the roads were good. It was a good trip. I was glad I went along for the ride. At first my husband was talking about taking a drive up there by himself. Last time he did a trip I stayed home because someone had to take care of the dogs. But we decided to pack them along with us and make the four hour drive. I was especially glad to go along since it has been a while since we saw Josh at his place. It was kind of cold to get out and do much in his town, so we pretty much stayed at his place, relaxed and visited, and watched some shows on DVD.

This picture shows where Ginger hung out pretty much the entire time we were there - under the kitchen table. She had a yucky potty accident on Josh's rug shortly after we got there. Perhaps she stayed under the table because her tummy wasn't feeling well . . . perhaps it was because she was mad at us. We trimmed her toenails several hours after we were there - because it sounded like she was a tap dancer clicking on the hardwood floors whenever she walked or paced around. Her nails have been long for some time now. The last two times she was at the groomer she wouldn't cooperate with them with any nail trimming. She really fights it. So their policy is they don't do it if the dog puts up a lot of fight and gets worked up about it.

Josh got out his dog nail-clipper and my husband helped to hold her down to do the trimming. I was assigned to hold onto Lucy's collar and keep her from getting in the way during the process. And I also tried to help distract Ginger by talking to her - to calm her. She hates getting her toenails clipped. She was not in a good mood. She came through it well enough in the end. Maybe that table seemed like security to her. I've heard it said dogs were formerly cave-dwelling animals and like it better when they can duck underneath any type of covering that forms their "den" when they lay down.
Here's a picture of Lucy. She is Josh's dog. We thought she needed company (hee, hee). . . so we brought all three dogs with us. Actually, the choice of having our dogs come with, was so we wouldn't have to be in such a rush to get back home to tend to them. It was basically an overnight weekend trip, but the weather forcasts indicated we might be hit with a winter storm. We didn't know if we might end up staying an extra day due to snow. In many ways it didn't seem like it lasted long enough. But when spring starts showing up more on the prairie we'll have to plan another trip with nicer weather. Then we can take the opportunity to have more things to do while we are there.

By the way, please ignore the horrible quality of these photos. The camera I had been using got broken. I am trying to get accustomed to using one of my camera's I haven't used in a long time. It has got some really nice features on it and will likely end up being a great camera to use, but so far nearly every picture I have been taking is blurry from me moving the camera. It has an unfamiliar sequence to how it focuses the frame, analyses it then processes it before it is stored as a digital image. I am not in sync with it apparently and move it slightly while it is still processing the data. Aaarrrggg! Sorry for poor quality. I'll keep trying . . . it has to get better, right?

Here you can see Lucy has a brand new toy in her toy box. She came over to check what Sugar was doing there. When I let Sugar out of the kennel to walk around a bit, she went straight for Lucy's bed filled with chew toys. Sugar tried to grasp hold of one, but they were too big for her. She did manage to find a little tidbit of a rawhide chewy that I thought she was going to confiscate. But even that got left behind in the end. She went on to explore a bit more once she was out of the bed, but was slipping on the hardwood floors and seemed a bit disoriented so I put her back in the kennel. She's getting "older" faster these days, more frail, and doesn't keep her balance real well when she walks around. There are times it seems she must not be able to see very well, or hear well, either.
There you can see Sparky in the kennel chewing on his dog food. He's a much more timid little guy and seemed most comfortable in the kennel. The few times he ventured out was just when they were being corralled to go outside.

I have to say this bunch of dogs were kind of hard to corral off to the same place when it came to going outside. We had to walk down two short flights of stairs to get to the back door. There was a little landing with a pillow/cushion (mini dog bed?) sitting there. That's the spot Sparky bee-lined it to when he was coming and going. He seemed to want to claim that spot. I'm sure it was warmer sitting on that little bed than standing on the wood steps.

Then it didn't help that is was COLD (below zero) outside with the wind whipping around the corner. None of them seemed to want to go outside. I felt like I was herding a bunch of cats instead of dogs. You get one outside, then open the door (trying to hold it so the wind doesn't slam it against the side of the building) and another one is darting back inside. Yes, the next trip with the dogs (if there is one) will have to be when the weather is nicer.

Sugar is such a funny goofball. She doesn't have a bed like this and apparently it didn't occur to her to exit out from the lower side. She got hung up with her back legs on the side of the bed. I couldn't help but start laughing out loud at her crazy antics. She kept trying to get her front legs to try to pull her off the side, but they were too slippery on the floor to allow for an traction. Then she worked to scootch and try to propel her little body off the edge. Finally she ungraciously ended up dumping herself face first onto the floor. Yes, she was a bit disoriented from her exertions and walked in a couple circles before she tottered off to explore a bit more. It wasn't too much further I just picked her up and put her back in the kennel. She acted so lost . . . maybe she was if she cannot see too well.

And here is little Sparky. He certainly had his eye on all the activities there at my son's house. It's an open floor plan - which is different from our house. Here at home they stay pretty much in the kitchen most all the time. From his vantage point where we set up the kennel, Sparky could watch all the moves we made nearly everywhere in the apartment. It was kind of funny. He didn't really want to come out when the kennel door was left open, but he sure was attentive and kept an eye on things.

Now that we are back home today I started in with working toward some of those 101 Goals in 1001 Days. Part of that goal is to revamp my blogs and websites and to be more active in posting, listing some products to sell, and achieve steps neccessary toward getting my small business up and running. Earlier today I worked on moving some things around in the weight room downstairs. I got some the the stuff that accumulated there moved out of the way so I could get a start on walking on my treadmill. I cleared the area for access to the weight benches and free-weights. Plus I'm working on laundry while I was down there. Tonight's plans include getting back down there to do more laundry, then to continue working on cutting up fabric to prep it for more quilts. A little here, a little there, and those goals will start showing results. I posted some updates to some of those listed so there is some progress being made.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swap-Bot & Yummy Mexican Hotdish

My daughter-in-law directed me to Swap-Bot.com. It is an on-line swap community. She has been talking about it for awhile, so I finally decided to check into it and see what it is all about. I am signed up for a number of swaps so I can start building my rating and meet the qualifications for more future swaps I want to participate in.

As I was looking through the list of current swaps (in the US - got to think about postage afterall), I found one that is all about making a journal and writing a short story about time travel. It is called "Somewhere In Time Journal". This is the one that fascinates me the most. One of the requirements to be a participant in the swap in to have 10 complete type #3 swaps under your belt and also have a 4.9 rating in the Swap-Bot rating system. My goal over the next couple months is to achieve the 10 swaps required before the May 1st sign-up deadline. We actually have to have our journal mailed by May 31st, so I am going to start working ahead on mine. I feel pretty confident I will be able to meet the requirement of 10 finished swaps by the deadline. Of course that is if there are not any major upheavals in my life between now and then!

The Time Travel Journal has been on my mind ever since I saw it on-line. I have already begun to "spin the tale" of how my story will go, but I remain open to specific details, because I want to be able to incorporate some little trinkets and ephemera I'll be collecting, between now and then, as part of the journal. I'll weave my story around whatever little trinkets and paraphenalia I can find to put in it. Plus I plan to do some art - pen & ink drawings and maybe some little watercolors to "document" my travel through time - where I started from, how I got there, what I did, and how I got back home. Upon thinking about this subject, I realized there are an awful lot of time travel stories and movies out there: The Time Traveler's Wife, Wizard of Oz, Return to Oz, an old movie with Christopher Reeves entitled Somewhere in Time (1980), the Back to the Future trilogy (1985), Kate & Leopold, TimeLine, and others, lots of others. I like reading books about time travel and seeing these kind of shows. Making the journal should be a lot of fun.

I stopped into our local antique store today for a short bit after getting groceries this afternoon. I was looking for some small items for the journal. I found some old photographs in a box and a couple little ceramic items to dangle on a ribbon from the spine of my journal. As I've been thinking about it, I realized if I am going to be pouring a lot a effort and work into this piece, I will probably find it hard to part with it. Afterall, working for several months extended time on it will make it somewhat precious to me. Okay, some of you might be thinking - NOT! But unfortunately I tend to get attached to things. That would explain how I have managed to surround myself with so much "stuff" and why I am not leading a minimalist lifestyle.

I made a Mexican Hotdish tonight for supper. My mouth feels "hot" right now as I'm eating and typing at the same time. My hubby pronounced it "really good" . . . in a high energy exclamation as to its status. Yay! I found another great meal that's pretty easy to prepare, and is well liked! Basically it's a pound of ground meat (ours is elk tonight, from the freezer) browned with half a large white onion a 10 oz can of tomatoes and green chili, about a teaspoon of chili power and a half teaspoon of cumin. (I'm guessing because I just sprinkled some in from the little spice bottles). Of course you would drain the ground meat of any fat - elk does not have fat - it is a very lean meat . . . and yummy! I had quite a bit of what was left in the bottom of a bag of crushed tortilla chips (we like the Mission Tortilla chips in the brown paper bag) - about 2-3 cups worth, but slightly crushed, not teeny, tiny particles - just not the whole chip. Plus I had some hard corn taco shells in the cupboard that I needed to use up as they had been up there awhile. It was about 9-10 hard taco shells. I crushed these up as well with my hands, right into the pan. My hubby does not like sour cream, but I do. He cannot eat refried beans anymore, but I wanted some . . . so . . . his portion had Ricotta cheese instead of the sour cream and beans. I layered half of the crushed chips and taco shells in the bottom of a large glass baking dish that I had sprayed with a Pam-type cooking spray (we just buy the less expensive store brand). I used a hard taco shell, split into two pieces, to separate my side of the dish from his side. He didn't want my sour cream and beans mixing into his portion.

Next spoon on half the meat mixture. Then spoon on half the sour cream/beans or ricotta cheese (mixed with a generous sprinkling of garlic power in the cream and the cheese). Layer on several hands full of Colby or Colby-Jack cheese. Then repeat the layers: chips, meat, sour cream/ricotta cheese (beans). At this point you will want to pour a whole can of enchilada sauce over the whole thing. Then top with a couple handfuls of Colby cheese. Pop it into the oven for 35-40 minutes with a foil covering. After it has baked this long, pull it out of the oven, remove the foil covering (add more cheese if you want - mine didn't need any more) then return to the oven for 5 minutes to brown up a bit.

We had a Rice-A-Roni box of Mexican rice to go along with the hotdish. Soooo Yummmmy! My tongue is hot and tingly from the spices (hot spices don't bother my hubby!) but that's okay . . . I'm washing it down with a cold beverage. Meanwhile, the dogs are acting like they're starving with their little whimpering, whining noises . . . especially Sugar. I'm being mean to the dogs - like the soup nazi on Seinfeld, "No hotdish for you!" Poor things . . . I know the house smells good right now.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

101 Goals in 1001 Days

This clock is a signal it's time to get serious about setting and achieving goals. I didn't really set any New Years Resolution type goals this year, but have had a number of things on my mind that I "ought to do" for quite a while. I have probably mentioned a few of them here on my blog at one point or another.

Recently I've come across others who have been writing down their goals and making an effort to work on them each week in order to accomplish them. This seems like a sensible idea. Since I'm one who tends to think I'll "do something" at some point in the future, or that I "ought to do" a certain thing or other at some point . . .  you can see where I'm going with this. It's time to get more serious about goal setting. Write them down . . . review them on a routine basis to remind myself . . .  check them off . . . get them accomplished.

In response to this whole idea I took some time tonight to lay out a few ideas via a web page here on one of my websites. This is just a preliminary list. It's is not complete since it doesn't add up to the 101 items suggested at the websites that advocate this type of organization. Check out this site or this one if you want to look more into doing something along this line for yourself. It could be just the thing to lead me (and you!) on to bigger and better things. You can do a google search also and find lots of ideas from lists made by others.

So, here's to writing down your goals and getting serious about addressing them!