Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nuance in terms

   I have to keep a close eye on Taylor the "grocery inspector" so he doesn't become Taylor the "grocery ingestor..."
    Also, I just found these photos of baby Tasmanian Devils online, and I'm pretty sure Taylor is a Devil.
   And Aki is a fox.
Photos from Zooborns.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday stroll

   Since I was dive training since early this morning, I felt the dogs deserved a nice, long walk. So we headed over to Santa Fe Commons Park for the free Sunday night jazz concert. The park was full of kids, all of whom wanted to share some attention with the dogs. We even bumped into Jana (aka Janamal) and Darren!
   Then, I came home and made good use of the huge bag of fresh basil that David had given me, and the jar of fresh walnuts that Rich and Britten had given me: presto! Fresh pesto! I had never made it before, but it was even easier than I anticipated. Salt-and-pepper, olive oil, nuts, basil, garlic, and Romano cheese. Now I just need to go get a huge loaf of crusty bread… and maybe an extra bottle of mouthwash. Holy cow, this is spicy and garlicky! :D

Savoring the moments

   Years ago after we had visited Stella up in Maine, I planted a little blueberry bush in my backyard. It has been growing very slowly, and I only get a few berries from it each year. But they are among the best-tasting berries I've ever had--they distinctly remind me of the ones at Stella's house. Because they are precious and few, I savor them more. It reminds me of my visits with Stella.
   My little blueberry bush will help me think of her every summer. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I shall call him #8

   Kizzy caught another mousie tonight--brought it to me alive! This was the eighth mouse that the animals have caught since Dad was here and we removed those bushes from the backyard. I really think we may have unwittingly disturbed some ginormous underground hive of super mice, as it has been such a steady stream of them. Only two have survived my animals also far. The first few were babies. This dude was by far the largest… Which makes me worry… They keep getting BIGGER!!!
   I had been on the phone tonight, when I heard a loud noise and saw Aki lunging at the basement door. Had I not had prior experience, I may have thought she was tormenting Kismet, and preventing her from coming upstairs. But Aki knows better than to torment Kismet. I called it before I ever opened the basement door: and much to my (zero surprise whatsoever), when I open the door, Kismet was on the top step and had just released the mouse, who was running frantically from side to side, wondering how he was going to get away.
   I bet he didn't guess the answer: I swooped in a split second before Aki did, grabbed him by the tail, and headed upstairs. This mouse was so large that he easily doubled back on himself and his nose was almost at my finger in a blink. I'm not afraid of mice, but I don't want to get bitten. So I had to shake him down repeatedly to prevent him from having a shot at me, until I was able to safely drop him in a trashcan. I took him outside and released him away from the house.
   While I think he is undeniably adorable, living in my home… Yeah, not so much. Can't do it. I know they are filthy creatures. So I let him live and released him back into the wild, at a safe distance from my own home, and wish them the best. But I sure hope he doesn't return to see me again! He was lucky to escape once.

EFR review

   After working with our five open water divers in the pool, I sat in on Chris's EFR certification renewal. I took the class last October, and a serious subject like this means you can't review too often. But the cheesy 2008 course video also instructed us to have fun, so have fun we did!
   Mwah! Anne survived the automatic defibrillator (and a kiss from an enthusiastic Chris):
   OH NO! Melia looks hurt!!! (Extra ketchup packets from HiBoy might have exploded on her.) Better save her (with oversight from Instructor Jackie):
   UH-OH! That's a lotta ketchup. Better get more TP:
   Did you know TP doubles as a pillow?
   Looks like we have a survivor, despite Chris's efforts. Yay, Melia!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hit and Run and Run and Run

   A tough, hilly course, some hot, hot heat, and some obstacles that hit back… It all made for a fun filled morning at the hit and run 5K at Sandstone amphitheater. Rich, Britten, Abby, Richard, and I dubbed our team the "flying sabertooth rabid ninja squirrels" as we were waiting for our wave in the starting shoot. (And I was elected to come up with a logo, naturally.)
   The obstacles were super fun, we just wish there had been more of them. The stretches of running in between felt too long. Unless they change this, I doubt I will do this run again, but I'm happy to say I finished it once, no scars, fractures, or visible marks of any kind, other than the temporary tattoo on my arm. ;)

Boat-hoppin' Shibas

   Kayaking season is tragically short in Kansas (okay, but it makes me for snowboarding season, so that's not all bad), so we have to get out as often as possible. Tonight, Joni joined me and the Shibas for another trip around Shawnee Mission Park Lake. It was a gorgeous night, the end of an unseasonably cool week in July, and with no wind the water was clear and glassy.
   The calm water may have reassured Aki a little too much. She couldn't resist climbing onto the bow of my boat, and I let her do it so that we could get a couple pictures of my new figurehead. But it still made me a bit nervous:
   She is awfully surefooted to stand so straight on slick plastic floating unsteadily on water:
   Finally, she took the plunge intentionally, and swam to shore. After spending a few minutes hunting through grass that was probably 6 feet tall, she finally reappeared at the shore and was ready to join our group again. But this time, she jumped into Joni's boat. This was one of the rare occasion that Joni didn't bring one of her own pups. At first, Joni and Taylor pretended not to notice each other:
   I don't usually get a view of my dogs from this angle, so it was fun to see Aki happily acting as Joni's first mate:
   And the benefit to kayaking with professional dog trainers is that when your dog is in their boat, they may train them:
   Or, said dog might start digging in the hole for buried treasure, giving your friend a rather unpleasant view. Thankfully, we were in for a gorgeous sunset:
   Another perfect night on the water. So blessed to have my little boat, a close friend, and my furriest friends with me tonight.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Homegrown goodies

   The only thing better than having a garden is having friends who have a garden. And I have some incredibly generous friends with green thumbs, namely, Scott C and David H. This week they brought me: Green peppers and jalapeño; basil, sage, parsley, and thyme; and Sungold cherry orange tomatoes. As delicious as they are gorgeous. (I ate more than half the tomatoes in one sitting; they were so sweet and delicious, I just couldn't stop.)
   But that wasn't all… David is also a great baker, and brought me four different kinds of homemade biscotti: wild blueberry, cranberry walnut, chocolate chip hazelnut, and perhaps my favorite, sour cherry chocolate chip. YUM! I need to hurry and take a picture of all the biscotti before they are all gone.

Hit and Run!

   Tomorrow I will embark on what might just end up being the most epically fun 5K ever, with Britten, Rich, Richard, and Brett. Can't wait!!!!! All these pictures are from the video on their website, but soon, I will have my very own. (And believe me, the irony that I was recently the victim of a hit and run car crash is totally not lost on me.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another one bites the dust

    With temperatures in the 70s during the day (are we sure this is July?) i've been leaving the dogs outside in the yard to enjoy the weather all day while I'm at work. My neighbors report that they're pretty well behaved, so I think it's working out just fine. Well, for the dogs anyway. It didn't work out so well for this poor robin who must've landed in my yard. :(

Fox in Socks

   My friend Becky posted a video montage of a bunch of different dogs wearing socks, and walking around hilariously stiff-legged. One of them was a Shiba. So I promised I would go home and see what mine would do.    
   Unfortunately, all my socks are too big (darn these huge feet!) and the dog shook them off in no time. Still, they looked pretty cute while they were wearing them…

Runners' resource

   Abby's friend Jessica, who is visiting from Washington DC and is beginning training to be a physical therapist, helped diagnose my nagging knee pain. And based on the information I found on this website, I think she hit it right on the head. This article is so well-written, I'm posting it here as much as a resource to myself, as to anyone else who is interested. Want to keep this site handy!
   My hip adductor muscles get a good workout every day when I ride the bus, with my cup of hot coffee held tightly between my knees, as I work on my laptop. My hip abductors, which open the legs outward, probably need equal attention. The outward force of my hips is weaker, which affects my IT bands and kneecaps.
   So basically, I have a coffee-related injury to my legs. ;)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dive marathon

   I volunteered to assist in an open water class & pool session this weekend, with five excited new divers (as young as 11 and 13!) PADI recently overhauled their open water course book, tests, and skills requirements, and this was my first time working with them. I like all the changes--definitely an improvement, but even though our students did remarkably well, and we had one great instructor (Jackie) and three Divemasters to assist and supervise (Chris, Melia, and me), we couldn't complete the 5 required dives in 2 days (a half day of that was for study and taking the test). It's basically a 3 day program now.
   We were at the shop from 7:30-5:30 on Saturday and 7:30-5:00 on Sunday, and I'd estimate 16 hours of that was in the pool, so you can imagine how pruny my fingers are. The pool's heater was down again and the water was a chilly 76 degrees, so I kept having to climb out and warm up: even with two 3mm wetsuits I would get shivering uncontrollably as we sat still at 10' and watched students complete their skills. Brr! We charged ahead and completed skills for most of dive 3, and will complete the remaining work on Sunday.
   Nearly the entire time, I was partnered with an 11 year old girl, and though she was a bit nervous at first, she really impressed me by hanging in there. She is such a neat kid, and I really liked her parents, who were also in the class. The 12 year old in the class was amazing. Smart, attentive, and mature beyond his years. (He wants to be a marine biologist, and I'd say he has a great start at it!) His mom and grandparents were there as 
"surface support" and cheered him on the whole way. So neat to see families coming together to enjoy this adventurous sport--and what a treat for me to help introduce the students to what may be a lifelong love.
   I had a very special treat on Saturday night: I met Britten & Rich at Kobe for our favorite sushi, and it was as good as ever: the food, and especially the company!
   I don't know what it is about diving, or perhaps it's the hard work?, That makes me so hungry.  But this also happened:
   Of course, all this hard work can make a girl hungry, so while I was good on Saturday and brought a healthy, homemade lunch for myself, I hit HiBoy on Sunday. Onion rings were NOT the smart choice given that I'd be underwater, breathing air from a bottle for the next four hours, but... No regrets. This stuff is amazing.
   I hadn't expected to spend literally the entire weekend diving, so I didn't get a lot done at home (I was so exhausted that washing my dive gear and mowing the lawn Sunday night was almost more than I could stand). But I sure had a lot of fun doing the stuff I was doing!