Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wishful thinking

   Kismet keeping her eye on Taylor keeping his eye on me keeping my eye on the Royals. (Taylor is secretly hoping that baseball will be a distraction allowing him to pounce on my dinner.)

Halloween Spooktacular

   In case it's any wonder who makes the coolest Halloween goodies, it's Hallmark creatives. The Humor team made these:
   And my team made these:
   Umm, yeah... That last one was mine. I just wanted any excuse to make Texas Caviar. And to draw a mean Texas and zombie chip.
   What I may lack in food-related creativity, I make up for in my ability to eat everyone else under the table.

No soup for you!

   True story. #inktober #jenrareyart 

Take the Crown

   The entirety of Kansas City is sleep-deprived and hoping for another win tonight... it would be the first time in 29 years that the Royals have won the World Series. I wore my royal blue Threadless animal alphabet shirt yesterday, and I'm wearing my royal blue Snow Patrol shirt today. If they pull this off, I might have to add an actual Royals shirt to my wardrobe. GO BLUE! We believe in you!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great balls of fire!

   My buddy, David, gave me the mother lode of jalapeno and habanero peppers—and a recipe for homemade hot sauce. So I used it... and it resulted in 72 hours of my hands and arms burning badly enough that it kept waking me up at night. My brain thought that my arms were asleep, and woke me up so I could change positions. But I wasn't having "pins and needles"... I was having burning.
   Ever trying to envision the positive, my new superpower is throwing balls of fire from my poor, poor hands. And thus, my October 28th edition of #inktober art.
   And the results: h
omemade jalapeño relish & sauce, and habanero relish & sauce. If you don't see me around tomorrow, send an ambulance. #hotstuff #seriouslyhotstuff #preemptiveregrets

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oh, happy day!

   Aki is so happy she smiles in her sleep. When I took this picture last night, she was actually woofing and howling and flinching in her sleep, too. She is one happy girl.
   We've had a big milestone in the last few weeks. I adopted Aki just over seven years ago, but it wasn't until recently that she truly started approaching me for affection. She has long trusted me and followed me. But she is finally understanding how good it feels to have her neck and back scratched, and is coming to me to request it. She doesn't seem as uncomfortable with touch as she has always been... She's almost a normal dog. :)
   The other cool thing that I've noticed lately is that she readily approaches strangers on our walk, rather then shying away from them. To the point where she actually impedes their progress, because she wants them to stop and say hello. I wasn't sure we'd ever get to that point!

Black Dog Trail Run

   This morning was in the inaugural Black Dog Trail Run, at Stocksdale Park in Liberty, Mo. It was sponsored by Rock & Run Brewery. Rich and I ran the 10k (two loops of the 5k course). It wasn't as technical as a lot of the trail runs I'm used to, but had a lot of ups & downs, some hairpin turns, and a couple of very narrow wooden bridges—and a LOG—to run across.
   The ups & downs, combined with the very warm temperatures, are what made the run challenging. Today's high was at least 85 degrees, so by race time (10 am), it was warm, and as soon as we started running, we were cooking. Mile 90 photography got some nice shots of the pretty, wooded, sunny course.
   We crossed the finish line right around 1:05:00... quick enough for Rich to come in third for the guys! Woohoo! Not only did he earn bragging rights, he earned an extra 10 bucks off lunch at Rock & Run Brewery. 
   Official results say: I was 4th in my age group, 5th woman overall, 7th place overall, with an average of 10:36/mile, 1:05:50 chip time (despite this being slower than my app time… hmm.) Anyway, it was a hilly course with more heat than I like, so I will take it!!!
   I'm pretty much in awe of the top woman overall, in my age group, who averaged 3 MINUTES per mile faster than me. Holy cow, that chica is a BEAST! Congratulations to Victoria!

   After our conquest, we headed over there for an icy cold porter (for him) and a Grand Teton Snarling Badger cider (for me). With sandwiches to soak it up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shibaholics

   I follow a group on Facebook called "Shibaholics" run by a woman and her friends who avidly support Shiba rescue, and encourage members to share photos and stories of their pets. Unfortunately, it has been an extremely turbulent weekend in the group, when people who have purchased puppies from pet stores, mills, or home breeders (anything other than a reputable AKC breeder) have been asked not to share their puppies' photos. The intent is to prevent the inevitable "where did you get him/her?" questions, which could cause more people to buy from questionable sources. The intent is good. The response was, in many cases, ugly.
   Best I could tell, some people were outraged because even if they had learned from their mistakes, they were now banished from sharing photos of their babies. I believe they felt as though others were saying their dogs were worthless—inferior to puppies from a proper breeder. I don't think this was the intent, but I could see how it might have been interpreted this way. I see both sides; I desperately wish all commercial breeders were gone; at the same time, individual dogs have souls and hearts and will love just as deeply as any other dog; the dogs coming out of mills are the symptom of a problem, not the problem itself.
   Many people threatened to leave the group, and some took action, which is disappointing, as I've learned so much from reading member comments about various issues. It has been strong proof to me that there are countless ways to approach and solve the same issues, and was widening my bank of pet care knowledge.
   I felt urged to try to correct what I perceive as a widely-held misconception. I genuinely hope it helps smooth the tension. Here is what I posted, along with two photos of my dogs. 
   "Spent the weekend hiking and enjoying the fall leaves with my best buddies, Taylor and Aki. I adopted both from rescue; both originally came from Missouri puppy mills. While I'm sad for their parents who likely have had miserable lives, I'm so happy mine found their way to rescue, and finally to me. I'm thankful for the attempts this group, and all rescues, make to educate people about where their pets come from, so that all animals have a chance to live happier, healthier lives.
   Regardless of their beginning, my Shibas are priceless to me. They've been my faithful companions for countless adventures and there's nothing about them I'd change. I believe this is the spirit in which this group was founded."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Flaming Lips!!! And other!!

   One of my Instagram friends just posted this image, which I hadn't seen before. It's the 2014 cover of an album by The Flaming Lips. And here's why it's awesome: not only is it a great illustration, but it is timed perfectly. I have spent the last couple hours chopping jalapeño and habanero peppers, which my friend David gave me in spades, to make some homemade hot sauces.
   I remembered to take my contact lenses out before I started handling the peppers this time. It's safer to wear glasses anyway, as it shield your eyes from the spray of any juicy peppers. However, the rest of my face, and my forearms, were unprotected. By the time I had finished chopping, my arms, my scalp, my fingernails, my throat, my nose, and my entire face were all tingly—especially my lips. Now you see why the album cover is so perfect.
   Either this hot sauce will be delicious (albeit spicy enough to melt your face off) or it will be a very powerful weapon: homemade pepper spray juice!

Weston Bend, part III

   Here's that gorgeous, rich, golden light that I visit Weston every fall to see. The woods here are just magical!
   Here's what the Missouri River overlook looked like in the afternoon, when all the fog had burned off. Compare that to my morning shot from the same location: quite different, but both beautiful!
   The fog was unique and mysterious, and I'm very glad we got to witness it. I'm equally glad, though, that it lifted and we got a huge dose of the real Weston Bend: fireworks of foliage!
   This part of the trail is always stunning to me in fall. It hardly looks real, being surrounded by so much color:
   Yes, I should have been home working today, or making artwork, or cleaning the house, or about 1,001 other things... but somehow, I have no regrets.  ;)

Weston Bend, part II

   Shibas were not the old wildlife in Weston Bend today (though they were the only canines we saw in trees).
   I don't know what this iridescent, shockingly-blue insect is, but it was beautiful against the green leaves and bright red berries!
   There was a sign on the trail warning of a hornet's next 15' ahead on the left... and there it was. Protected by a police tape barrier, even, so no one would destroy it or (shudder) walk into it accidentally. It was surprisingly large and beautiful.
   Suddenly as we were walking, Aki lurched into the leaves—fortunately Kelly had a strong hold on her leash. Do you see what she was after?
   It was a handsome little toad! His camouflage was SO good, we'd never have seen him, except that he hopped, and Aki pounced. I'm very glad she wasn't able to catch him.
   And after our main hike, we drove down to the stream and met up with Mr. Toad's tiny cousin froggy. He was a bit jumpy, but finally allowed me to hold him for a photo:
   Whenever I hike, I wonder as much about the animals I DIDN'T see, as about the ones I did. How many others were hiding just beneath our noses that we never saw? They sure have a beautiful place to call home.

Weston Bend, part I

   Kelly and I headed up to Weston Bend with the Shibas this morning, to enjoy the always-incredible fall colors. It's one of the best hikes and leaf-viewing spots in KC, if you time it just right and get lucky with the weather. When it's sunny, the whole woods GLOWS with intense, golden colors. When we arrived, however, there was a dense fog.
   For a second we worried that we weren't going to see much, but the cool fog simply revealed the colors to us slowly; you had to get close to the trees to see the colors, and at that point, the contrast with the milky-blue fog intensified them. We were actually extraordinarily lucky to get to see the woods like this!