Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spring rolls with sweet chili and cilantro sauce

This is the second week that Adam went to a friend's house too play poker. He met some guys at the games he plays at. I'm glad he's making friends. They just play with chips, not money. He offered to bring an appetizer this week. He asked me if I had a ookbook so I laughed at him and asked to specify. He wanted one that was snack or appetizer mostly. Actually, I don't have any of those but Adam got one from his brother 2 Christmases ago. So he spent some time leafing through that and decided on making spring rolls.

Actually, the spring rolls in the book are made with seafood meat, red onions, carrots, fresh ginger and mint in rice paper. But he doesn't like seafood, onions, is allergic to mint and after we tasted the fresh ginger, we both vetoed that ingredient. He couldn't find the rice paper so he used spring roll wrappers which I think are the same things. We rolled carrots, red bell peppers, asparagus and crumbled pork and cilantro.

The sauce however, we followed exactly, except we duobled it.

1 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 thumb-sized red chili peppers, deseeded and finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

In amedium-sized saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until a syrup forms. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

I actually had to cover my nose and mouth with a kleenex while cooking the vinegar mixture because the vinegar fumes weresteaming into the air and it would burn the inside of my nose. The whole house smelled (and probably still smells) like it.

It doesn't sound like the process would take too much time but between cooking the meat, julienning or finely chopping all the veggies, and making the sauce (which took longer than the 3 minutes it states) and wrapping everything in the wrappers it took us about 2 1/2 hous to do.

They were really good. The sauce didn't taste strongly of vinegar like we were afraid of. It wasn't too spicy either. I got to keep a few for dinner. :o) I'm sure the guys at the poker party are thrilled they have a gourmet cook coming now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pure Passion: warning, lots of pics

One of the highlights of my day is when I take the dogs out for a walk...but I really prefer the run/rides with Bear and Jasmine. After we get back from our walks or runs, no matter how hard Bear is panting, he insists on going out with me so we can play with the basketball. If he does something he knows he shouldn't, I put the ball up where he can't reach and leave it there. He won't leave until the ball is back on the ground. I usually make him wait a minute to really let it sink in that I don't like what he did. Anyway, I love watching Bear chase the ball and jump for it over and over again. I really like trying to capture action shots of Bear...the pictures make me smile and laugh! So look at these pictures and tell me....have you ever been so passionate about something in your life?
Oh, and I love his ears right now...the fur is really getting long and I love the way they flap in the wind.

All four in the air.

I love this one of him falling back to Earth.

This has to be my favorite!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jasmine's first day of school

I was a little nervous about Jasmine going to class with me today. She's not mean to other dogs but she gets pretty nervous about other dogs. She was the first dog there so she got to wander the room and sniff everything she wanted to until another dog got there. By then, she had settled in by laying next to my feet.

The class is full of puppies which means exubrant energy. That makes Jasmine super defensive. We were sitting next to a beautiful Siberian Husky that was full of that energy and also has a mild case of dog aggression. At first, Jasmine growled at him but after a few minutes, she relaxed and even though he barked at her a number of times, she didn't care.

She already knows the commands they were teaching (sit, down, stay) so I had her practice a few times but then we would work on other things to keep her attention. Actully, we did a lot of focus practicing. She's great at that at home but with other dogs around, she really was having a much harder time.
Then we worked on loose leash walking. Now that's always something Jasmine needs to practice on. She fought it every time we passed the doors... she really just wanted to leave. But then we would get past the doors and she would do well again. Then we walked back and forth across the room. We ended up in all positions next to many of the other dogs and Jasmine really reacted well, not growling once. Then, the husky got into it with one of the other dogs...not biting the dog, just some jumping and dominating.

As I was helping put the chairs away, I had Jasmine in a sit-stay. She did really well and didn't move until I released her. She did really well and I was happy. She was just happy to finally walk out the door.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bike log

Today I printed out my charts for my 2009 bike log. I've been filling out a bike log since I started biking. Te first couple of years, I used a commercially made log but after that, I started making my own. I don't really need all the notes/descriptions of my rides so over the years, I have whittled it down to the charts I like the best. I haven't been as regular about logging my miles as I was those first couple of years but it never stops me from starting a new one every year.

I made a binder while working on my book "Simple Designs" for the projects section. I have since blacked out the 2005 since I've kept using it since then (I have no idea what happened to the clipboard but that was another proect for the same section in the book).

Poison Sucker

Adam calls dogs poison suckers when he's sick. If a dog lays with you, they suck the poison out of you. The longer they stay, the more poison they suck. Stripe, his dog that died 2 weeks after I moved out there, laid with him for hours every day when he had cancer. That's why stripe died of cancer, you see (of course, it doesn't matter that every one of his dogs has died of cancer ultimately).

Adam woke up today not feeling too hot. He had the day off so he was going to go to church with me but since he really didn't get much sleep last night, he decided not to come. This evening, I gave him Bear to suck out his poison. Bear's good about laying with/on me when I'm sick but he doesn't really do the same for Adam. He did actually lay on Adam for about 30 minutes though so maybe he sucked enough poison to make a difference tomorrow. Adam has to wake up at 5 to do a printer install. I hope he gets enough sleep and that he's feeling better!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

6 months since my accident

Well, in just a couple of days, it will be six months since my accident. I'm really happy that I no longer have any pain associated with this. A nice side effect has been that hair no longer grows in the scar...although I'm sure that will change somewhere down the line. Also, the scar is the smoothest spot of skin on me.

This picture is from the day after the accident. It was much more painful than it looks here. Adam had just finished cleaning all four of my wounds out and I was in SOOOOOO much pain. I laid down in bed and my whole body was shaking from the pain. Adam called a pharmacist after about an hour. They said I could take more pain medicine. I did and was out pretty quick. Luckily, each day, the pain got easier to bear.

I think this one was about 2 months after the accident. I was still having to wash it every day and it was still bandagedall but 2 hours a day for a little airing out. This was just after the infection was finally taken care of.

This was taken today. While it's quite big, it's not nearly as big as it was in the beginning. I am sure I'll be scarred for the rest of my life but it doesn't look as bad as I thought it was going to. Of course, when I go out into the sun to bike or walk it will become very dark, like all my scars do and will be even more noticable. Skin is greatly unappreciated but I don't think I'll evr take mine for granted again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wearing my school uniform

I finally started my externship for my dog training schooling. I went to the Humane Soociety last night and met Robyn, my mentor for the next little while (at least 12 weeks). I am attending 6 week class with Jasmine, training her. Then I will attend another one of her 6 week classes where I will do some teaching myself. I will also start doing my volunteer training hours at the Humane Society shortly. My uniform is just a polo shirt that has the school's logo and displays that I am a student.

The class is fairly large, between 10-12 dogs. The smallest dog is a dauschund puppy and the largest is an almost full grown (but still a puppy) Akita mix weighing about twice as much as Jasmine. There is one dog in there that is reported to be dog aggressive but he was playing with other dogs after class with no problems. I wish I had taken Bear to one of these classes as a puppy just for the purpose of being able to introduce him to other dogs so he maybe wouldn't have developed a hate/fear of other dogs of course everything else I would have learned from classes would have been good too.

After class, I asked Robyn how to get Bear to learn the focus cue. I have been able to teach Jasmine and Jack but Bear just refuses to look at my face when I try. She told me to put my face just in front of his so he doesn't have far to soon as he makes eye contact, give him a treat. It actually worked. It doesn't work every time but it is progress!

Since I had the treats out, I decided to try to teach Jasmine a game. I put a treat in one hand, closed both hands and let her sniff both fists. Then, she paws the one with the treat in it. She picked it up really easily except she doesn't always do the sniffing part. She just paws one hand and I open it. If there's no treat in it, she paws the other. It's funny but she hasn't quite gotten it down yet. I tried it with Jack too but he really had no idea what I was trying to get him to do. So after watching Jasmine do it, he started shaking hands with me intently. His dew claws really dig in! He never got it so I moved on to something he already knew.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A 10 mile ride with Jasmine

I keep telling Adam that Jasmine is my new biking buddy and that she'll go on some weekend bike trips with me this year. He didn't believe that I would ever take her on any real bike rides though.

Yesterday, after walking Jack and taking Bear on a shorter (2.5 mile) ride, we drove out to the bike path in Boise out to Lucky Peak Dam. I showed it to the Mendozas when they were out here. We started 5 miles from where the bike trail ends so we could do 10 miles.

It was super cold out, 32 degrees so I was bundled in lots of clothes. I left my biking shoes at home and wore my hiking boots. That was much warmer for my toes. I hooked Jasmines trailer up to the bike and off we went. I let Jasmine do far more running than I planned on. It was our first ride with the trailer though and I didn't want her to hate it because she had to spend too much time in it. I only towed her 3-4 miles throughout the entire ride. She kept surprising me with all the energy she had!

There were some mishaps. She jumped out of the trailer while I was moving. I now close the front screen. She pulled us over trying to get to a beagle. It's very odd for her to react to another dog like that. I don't know what got into her. Other than those two things though, I really had a good time. And I know Jasmine did too. She slept on the drive home and except for eating dinner, she slept pretty much all evening as well.

Now if only Bear would let me carry him in a trailer, I could tire him out like that too!

Friday, January 16, 2009

REI garage sale

I have been eyeing these shoes for the dogs for some time now. They have real rubber soles and were built on a mold just like people shoes, only a mold of a dog's foot. They are normally $60 for a set of 4. That's why I've only been eyeing them for a while. I went to REI's garage sale here. That's where they sell their used/returned stuff for cheaper. I found these shoes for $20. They're still in great condition but were dirty. They're too big for Jack and Bear...maybe next sale I'll find some their size. Poor Jasmine has to get used to the the picture, she's afraid to put her feet down.

I also found a large, thick belt. I have no idea what it's for but for me, I use it when walking the dogs. It helps minimize the pain of when they pull. It distributes the pull over a much larger area than my regular belt does. So it was a successful trip to REI. :o)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy birthday to Adam!

Monday was Adam's 30th b-day. He was still sick and spent the whole day in his pajamas watching tv by the humidifier. I rented a couple of movies for him to watch and he ate the homemade chicken noodle soup I made for him. He was really bored with watching tv so he got dressed and told me he was going to play poker. I told him that since it was his birthday, I would go with him. He has been asking me to go with him but I keep telling him no. He explained some good hands to me on the drive there. He told me not to feel bad if I didn't last more than a few hands since most people don't on their first time playing. I did my best to remember what he told me but I did forget some of it. I had a really good hand and I won a big pot...and wiped Adam out at the same time. I didn't reaize I had done that though. I ended up playing for about 2 hours and beat about 1/2 the people who had started. The people he plays with seem really nice.

On the way home, we stopped at Walmart for his birthday dessert. He had told me earlier in the day that he didn't want cake since his throat was hurting but cheesecake is a whole different and smooth. So we had that for dessert.

Tomorrow, we'll be watching "Paul Blart, Mall Cop". He really wants to see the movie and it worked out close to his birthday.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

5 miles to sleep

Today, the dogs and I drove out to Melba and went hiking. I was looking for a park that would have been really cool. It was an old Paiute spring camp area. They have rocks with Indian art all over the place. I only had a hand drawn map, not directions so I never found it. I pulled into a gravel parking lot for a gravel trail that led to the Snake River somewhere beyond where we made it to.
We did find some coyote scat here and there but I wasn't too worried about that. After all, there were tons of cows wandering around, still alive. Plus, there were some people somewhere beyond eyesight, but still within earshot riding dirt bikes...they obviously weren't being bothered by them. What did worry me was the cows. Jasmine, Jack and I were attacked by a cow last year. She charged us many times. The last charge was so scary! If she had had horns, we would all have extra holes in our bodies. As it was, her droll was on the dogs from when she was shaking her head at them. Anyway, I am now really scared of loose cows because of that cow. I started praying for safety but when one stood up and started walking toward us, I turned and walked as fast as I could in the other direction.

We had a few water/snack breaks. We brought along the new collapsible water bowl from Grandma & Grandpa. No one had any problems with using it. At one of those breaks, Jack and Jasmine actually laid down. We ended up going 5 miles. I was going to take one more side trip but the sun was getting low and it looked like rain. So we went back to the car, had more water, another snack and loaded everything back into the car. Within minutes, all 3 dogs were laying down and settled. That never happens. We've been home for a few hours now and aside from the time to eat dinner, they have all been sleeping soundly.
I love hiking. I'm glad I got to go with the dogs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A howlin' alarm clock

The last two mornings in a row, I have woken up to the sound of Bear and Jack howling their hearts out. A police car had driven by the house on the way to an accident (I assume) and it really riles the dogs up. Jasmine has only joined in twice but ironically, she howls much better than either of them. Bear's howls are just a pathetic high pitched squeal kind of noise.
This morning, I got out of bed after they did that and looked out the window. The sun was just rising and it was so vibrant. It's been quite some time since I've seen a good sunrise.

During the day, I took my sewing machine to a reapir shop. I've had some problems with it since getting it (Adam bought it as a birthday present the second year we were married). Sometimes it behaves better than others though. I was just going to get it looked at for an estimate, thinking that I wouldn't have it repaired unless it was $20 or less. The guy working there was very knowledgable and before even turning it on, he told me what he thought was the problem. Sure enough, that was it. The bobbins that came with it were too small for the hole (he says he had three sewing machines last week with the same problem). He used one of the shop's bobbins and it worked great. So for $7.00 I got a package of new bobbins and didn't have to have it repaired. Yeah!! Now maybe I can work on some of the projects I wanted to do with my sewing machine.

I tried doing a tune up on my mountain bike last night. There were 2 spoke nipples that were stripped...the ones that needed to be adjusted most of all. So I trued it as best I could without the use of those two spokes. Then onto the brakes. It took much longer than it should have but in the end, I got that done as well. The front brake pads are both split so those really need to be replaced but I'll hold off on that for now. I don't use front brakes often so it's not worth the money. The hard part came when I tried working on the derailleurs. I decided that the derailleurs were shot but after thinking about it, I think it is a combination of old cables and bad shifters. I tried with all my might to get it to work to no avail. Again, not a huge deal since I only bike on flats with that bike so I can handle a single speed but I can see having to replace the shifters/derailleurs if we move back to our hilly neighborhood in GA...or anywhere else. Altogether, it wasn't a very sucessful tune-up but I did what I could and really, everything I need on it works well enough.

Sunsets here have been mazing lately. So I decided I would drive out to a small reservoir close by and see the sunset from there. Wouldn't you know it, the sunset wasn't as beautiful as they have been. I'm glad I drove there though. I was thinking about biking to it but you couldn't see it from the road and the road that lead to it was private so I couldn't use it. The drive was fun though.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A roaring failure

I woke up this morning to a thick blanket of snow on the ground. It didn't stop all day either. I figured this was a good day to try out those skis I bought. I first went out by myself, trying to figure things out. Once I could move forward and make turns (albeit slowly) I brought Jasmine out with me. She was a little freaked out by the skis and kept trying to get away from me. Looking back, this is really something best learned and mastered without a dog in tow...then you can add the dog but of course, I never do anything the easy way.

It was so cold out, I had three layers on top and three on bottom, plus a blaclava and a hat. We tried it in the yard first. I took the pic while we were just getting started. After all, I could have broken a leg and may never be on skis again so I had to get a picture just in case.

We made our way across the street into the field and I was really starting to get a hang of the forward movement motions. I got a litle speed going and Jasmine stopped so I tried stopping. I'm not sure what I did but we happened to be on snow on top of pavement so when I went down, it was not soft. I landed on my hip that was injured in the accident. Good news, it really didn't hurt like I was fearing it would. A few days ago, I looked up cross country skiing online and read about how to get up once you fall. Good thing I did because it was tricky even after I read the instructions. I finally got up on my feet again and got back onto the grassy field. Something felt like it was dragging on the ground but I couldn't figure out what it was. I looked closer at the shoe base I made and saw that the left one was broken so my foot was slipping off the ski and slowing me down.

So I took off the skis and we made our way back home. In my brief time on the skis, I have to say, it seems like something I could really enjoy doing but I guess I'll never really know. I am not going to fix the shoe base since it isn't strong enough material unfortunately. I'll have to put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with. Even if I am able to come up with an effective idea, I don't know how ready I would be to take Bear for a ride while being dragged along behind.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No more jogging for Jasmine

I finally decided that the roads were dry enough to take the dogs running with the bike. I knew Bear would take off like a rocket since he's been begging to run lately but I wasn't expecting it from Jasmine. She usually just trots along beside me but not this time. She ran almost the whole first 1/2 mile. After that point, she settled into a trot. She's definitely getting stronger legs and she's loving it. Now the dogs are strewn across the floor, stretched out and asleep with wonderful dreams of running in their heads.

Since the road we rode on in Wanship was straight, the dogs didn't need to know directions but here, there are options so on our walks since it's been snowing, they've been learning left from right and what they mean. For whatever reason, I have trouble with left and right. I know which is which but I almost always say the wrong one so I learned the traditional dog sledding words for left (haw) and right (gee). Since they're new words to me, I have to think harder about which is which and I usually get it correct. So on today's ride, I was testing them by faking a haw, then saying gee or vice versa. Both Bear and Jasmine did very well. I'm so proud of how well they pick things up now.

My mountain bike (the one I use in the neighborhood with the dogs) needs a complete tune up including truing the rear wheel. I guess I know what one of my evening projects will be soon. I guess I've been lucky that it lasted so long. I bought it from a thrift store in 1999 and really haven't done any work on it, other than putting new tires and seat and rear wheel on it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New year's lunch

When I first moved here, Mary Ann Wilson, was very nice to me. She sat next to me in relief society and talked to me. Later that week, while Valerie and the kids were here, she told me she was going to bring over some snacks she had made for her kids' lunches. she ended up bringing a pizza and cheese sticks as well. She's called me a couple times just to see how I'm doing. She invited me over to her house for new year's lunch and a movie with her family. I felt a little weird going to a family thing (it was her family and her parents) but I ended up going anyway. Her family is very nice. Her two youngest were both adopted at birth about 3 years apart but are biological sisters. They had a holiday like meal and they were really just starting to cook everything except for the ham which had been cooking for a while. So I helped with what I could while trying to not be in the way. She has 2 ovens, 2 dishwashers, 2 fridges...but just one stove top which didn't have an oven below it. Lunch was really good. Afterward, we watched Errand of Angels (an LDS movie).

Before I left, I told her I was planning on going ice skating in the next day or two and asked her if she wanted to come along. She said she would talk to her girls and get back with me. So today, we went. All four of her girls still living at home came along as well. I haven't been ice skating since I went with Valerie and the kids. I wasn't expecting the rink to be too crowded but I think it was one of the busiest rinks I've ever been in. I pulled the two youngest girls around one at a time. By the end, we were playing crack the whip when we hit an open space. That was fun. I was glad to get off the skates when we finished though.

The day Adam left, the dishwasher broke. The Landlord came by today and checked it out. After looking it over, he decided to buy a new one rather than the replace the broken part. He and his wife should be by tomorrow to put the new one in. He's a good landlord. They put in the laminate wood floors because he has dogs himself, 6 to be exact. At least I know he won't sweat the yard being turned to dirt in a few spots.
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