Friday, November 4, 2011

Roger is Awesome.

So, I adopted Roger when he was a year and a half. He had been in Vermont for 6mo, transferred up from a shelter in Florida. Other than a couple vaccination records I was able to hunt down, I knew pretty much nothing about his life up to that point. He was sort of a nervous fella, but we took to each other right away and the rest is history.

Recently, we've become mayor of our vet's office trying to figure out why Roger needs to pee 10x a night. Urine tests, blood tests, and this morning: x-rays. We still don't know why he's peeing so much. But we do know a little bit more about his life B.V. (before Vermont).

The vet brought me back to see the x-rays. That's a lot of kidney stones, I thought to myself. "Where did you get Roger?" he asked. "Humane Society of Chittenden County," I responded. "Uh huh. Well, it appears that he's been shot, at least twice, at some point in his past." And then I realized what the x-rays were showing. That constellation of glowing dots on the left hip x-ray was bird shot! And a BB lodged directly under his spine!

To say my jaw dropped would be the only accurate description for my reaction. I stood there staring back and forth from one x-ray to the other to Roger to Dr Eustis and back. Someone shot my dog? Some asshole SHOT a PUPPY?? TWICE?!?! Well I guess that explains why he used to be a nervous dog!!

He went on to explain that since they weren't causing Roger any problems, we would just leave them in there. If the BB had been to one side or the other, it might be what's causing his current problems, but right in the middle it's just lodged in muscle.

I don't really have a good way to sum this up, other than to say hug your dog.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Scenes

Getting a little jump on the work week

Cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes

Smile turning into a yawn

Sunday bone = happy dog

Monday, August 22, 2011

Campfire Cuisine with Christie & Lou

Since our Memorial Day camping trip was four days long, we decided to get a little adventurous with our breakfast and dinner menus! 

Dinner #1: Cheddarwurst, corn on the cob, potato salad
I mean, the park was called Cobscook, we couldn't NOT have corn one night, right? 

Breakfast #1: Pancakes & Bacon (no picture)
I brought two boxes of firewood with me, but thanks to the damp chilly coastal weather, we needed more by morning. Unfortunately, we were awake and wanting coffee before the ranger station was open. Not fun. But finally we were able to get firewood, quickly followed by coffee and warmth and BREAKFAST!

Clearly, the ranger station had some pretty high-quality, dry well-seasoned wood. All firewood foams like that, right? 

Dinner #2: Boboli pizza with peppers & bacon, salad
After successfully cooking Boboli pizza on a wood stove for our Bolton hut trip last February, I couldn't resist trying it over an open campfire. It was delicious! Crispy on the bottom and toasty on the edges, all melty and gooey on the top.

Breakfast #2: Trash Can Breakfast
In looking up possible dinners, I came across a bunch of "trash can" recipes. Basically, this means you throw everything into a coffee can, cover with tin foil, and stick it in or over the fire.

For our trash can breakfast, we added eggs, sausage, and veggies. Once it's all cooked, top with shredded cheese and dig in! 

Dinner #3: Leftovers
We had planned on veggie burgers for our final dinner, but unfortunately they didn't stay frozen solid enough to stay together on the grill so we ate another round of Cheddarwurst, leftover pizza, potato salad, and garden salad. We also had plenty of cheese & crackers, trail mix, and watermelon, which is what we had for lunch each day.

Breakfast #3: Orange Peel Muffins
I cooked these Sunday night as a to-go breakfast for Monday morning. I wasn't quite sure how they would turn out, but I think they were pretty good! It's a good thing, too, because we had to pack up and leave in a hurry, narrowly missing a serious downpour early Monday morning!

Desserts: Banana Boats!
Don't think we skipped dessert! Banana boats are made by slicing a banana the long way and stuffing with desired filling, wrapping it in tinfoil and cooking it a bit to soften and melt everything. Let it cool a bit, then eat with a spoon! We tried chocolate & peanut butter one night, and chocolate & marshmallows another night. Success!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Camping with Bruno & Christie!

I can't believe it's taken me this long to post about our Maine camping adventure!! Lots of dogs, lots of food, lots of firewood, and probably more than our fair share of damp weather made for the best Memorial Day Weekend camping trip ever!

We picked Cobscook Bay State Park on the Maine coast because it was about the same (sevenish hour) driving distance for both of us. We booked the last remaining oceanfront campsite for the whole holiday weekend, Friday through Monday. It was a bit of a risk, since we had to book it way in advance and could possibly have four days of lousy weather, lousy site, or worse.

But we were so lucky! The campground was beautiful, and the sites were really spread out with plenty of woods in between so we had privacy. Based on the availability when we booked, we expected the park to be jam-packed, but we lucked out there too, and only had people in the site next to us for our last night (and they slept in their van)!

Here's the crew: Bruno, Roger, Farley, Christie (and me)

Getting settled in...

Bruno and Roger played lots and lots of Table Fort.

 Heading out on our hike!

 The website described the only trail in the park as a "nature walk" so we were expecting a mellow, easy stroll. There was another park nearby that we discussed driving to, in case we were up for more of a challenge. But it was definitely enough of a hike! We ended up doing it both days, with slight variations. We never saw anyone else, so the doggies got to be off-leash the whole time. 

Back in front of the campfire, tired and happy after our hike. 

Up next: some of the great food from our trip!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crepe-A-Week Update

Atlantic Moster (Breakfast Menu), enjoyed at home
It's probably lucky for you readers that I'm a terrible food writer. If I were a better food writer, I would be posting every week about the amazing Skinny Pancake crepes I'm eating and you would all be sick of hearing about it. Lucky for you, I usually don't even remember to take a picture before digging in!

I was sick all this past week, so I didn't get to my crepe until Saturday night. I called ahead, and arrived before it was ready so I took a seat at the bar. Watching the crepe chef at work was truly hypnotizing, and my appetite was piqued by the time mine was boxed and ready. It's still a bit chilly to dine al freso, so Roger and I walked home with it. Tonight I chose the Cannelloni Crepe, and it was fantastic! It came with a generous side salad with their house dressing. It's been rumored they were considering bottling their dressing, and if that ever happens I'll be first in line to buy a bottle.

I may not be turning into Pat Likes To Eat any time soon, but I am good at spreadsheets, so I can tell you that nine weeks into my year of crepes, I've eaten $93.35 worth (not including taxes). My favorite new discoveries are the Chicken Cordon Blue Crepe, and the Vegan Monster. Once the weather gets warm enough, I'm looking forward to enjoying some of the sweet classics on the patio!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Funday

Started with breakfast at Handy's with one of my favorite all-grown-up Gotta Campers.

Followed by a little fun at the pier, listening to the ice break up & melt, 

FURminated out Roger's winter coat on the sunny porch, 

Baked banana bread for my airbnb guest, 

Finishing up with packing my bags for St Louis!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Closing the Loop

After several years of renting out my second bedroom, I made it my full-time home office in January. I had some really great roommates over the years. It was a big chunk of relatively passive income to say goodbye to. But my freelance business is buzzing and needed the space, and I love having my sunny little home all to myself again! I've been finding ways to make up the difference, and still put some money aside for exciting things like fun trips! And home improvement projects! And some day soon, a new car!

Again this year, I will be renting out my entire condo to a graduate's family for the UVM graduation weekend. It's fantastic--a financial incentive to spring clean and then go away for a weekend? Yes, please! I found my renter on craigslist, but this year I decided to give airbnb a spin, too. After listing the whole condo, I figured why not list my newly reclaimed guest room too? With the airbnb system, an interested guest sends a request with the desired nights, and you can see their profile and approve or decline their reservation. What an improvement from craigslist! The 3% cut they take is totally worth it!

Just last night I booked my first guest--a gal from Atlanta will be arriving Sunday for a two-night stay, bringing in a total of $116. And the timing couldn't be better--yesterday afternoon, my water heater stopped heating water. And so my adventure began!
-On Wednesday, my plumber etcetera, Guy Henning, gave it a look and recommended I call a water heater repair company. (He didn't charge me, he's a good guy like that).
-This afternoon, the water heater repair man checked it out, and identified a burned out breaker as the problem. A regular service call is $80, but since he didn't actually do anything, he charged me $50.
-Don from Melody Electric just came and in only a few minutes, replaced the breaker. Original cost: $149. Subtract the $25 coupon from their website, I paid $124.

Total cost $174 minus $116 = $58. One more overnight guest through airbnb, and it's covered! I could not have scripted a better example of making my condo pay for itself, and closing the loop of cost vs benefit of home ownership!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

beCAUSE we care!

This Saturday, March 12th, is the 6th annual beCAUSE Craft Show at St Michael's College! Each vendor pledges to donate 50-100% of their profits to a non-profit of their choice. I'll be donating my sales to Burlington Freestyle

Visit the website and fan us on Facebook to check out the full list of vendors, and see you there on Saturday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Philanthropy is Delicious!

In January, the winter storage barn at Pete's Greens burned down. Soon after, Bid for the Barn, an online auction was put together to raise funds for the rebuilding effort. On the first day of the week-long auction, I boldly placed the opening bid on an amazing item: a crepe a week for a year from one of my favorite restaurants, The Skinny Pancake. I did the math, and knew it was a great deal, even if I missed a few weeks here and there. Besides, I was sure to be out-bid by the end of the week, right?

To my amazement, I won! I giddily mailed in my check, and this week received a batch of Skinny Pancake gift certificates in the mail. Rumor has it they're adding a button to their computer system for this, so these are just to get me started. (And unfortunately NO, they don't roll over from one week to the next, so I can't save them up and have a big party.)

I'm going to use this as an opportunity to stray from my tried and true favorites, and test some new ones I wouldn't normally select. My goal is to try all of the amazing offerings over the next year! In addition to seasonal specials, there are 35 different crepes--maybe more, if the salad in a crepe-bowl or the kidz menu items count!

Last night, T and I went out for the first of my 52 "free" crepes. The restaurant was packed, and I think our 30-min wait time stretched a bit beyond that. But once we were seated at the table tucked between the stairs and the window, we had our own cozy nook in the crowded room. I selected the "Chicken Cordon Blue Crepe," and it was amazing! It's one of the five Dinner Crepes, which are only available Thurs-Sat nights. T's first choice, The Cattle Rancher, was sold out for the night, but he was quite pleased with the runner-up, Lamb Fetatastic (both from the Savory Classics section).

Price: $12.95
Balance: $237.05
Average price per crepe so far: $250

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In The Kitchen: Coffee Hazelnut Cookies

At Christmas time, I brought a box of Sugarsnap's Cookies for Good home to NH. The assortment I chose included Java Hazelnut cookies, and they were wonderful! I tracked down this recipe online, hoping to reproduce the yummy treat for my Gray Dog Media office-warming party. They were much crunchier than the original, and I usually prefer chewier cookies, but they were still delicious!

Unfortunately the office party was postponed due to a crazy snowstorm. Hopefully it can be rescheduled when the snowbanks recede a bit. The only problem? Cookies full of coffee really shouldn't be eaten too late in the day. Hmm...cookies for breakfast? Okay!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Snow Day

(Coffee Hazelnut Cookies--recipe coming soon)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I'm happy to report that 2010 was pretty damn great, so I don't have a huge overhaul plan--just more movement in the same direction.

Resolution #1: Finish all the books I've started reading.  I love reading, but evidently I'm not overly concerned with actually finishing books.  There are bookmarks tucked somewhere in the middle of about a third of the books on my shelf.  Time to get on that!  The added benefit of this?  Quiet time after working hours, not spent watching TV.  Particularly in the winter when it's dark by the time I leave my desk, it's all too easy to flip on reruns of NCIS while fixing dinner, and stay parked with Roger and my laptop until Conan comes on and I realize how late it is.  I don't like doing it, so I'm hoping to replace the habit with reading.  So far, so good--I've already finished Kevin Runolfson's The Things You Find on the Appalachian Trail and Raymond Chandler's The High Window.

Resolution #2: Continue to build Gray Dog Media.  I read an article on budgeting that recommends a 50/30/20 designation of your income: 50% needs, 30% wants, 20% savings.  Saying I'm not at that point is a gross understatement.  It's more like 90/7/3.  I'm hoping to save enough to buy a new car this year, so that savings portion needs a serious boost!

In a move that will hopefully support the 50/30/20 madness, I'm officially making my second bedroom into my home office!  After several years of playing landlord, I've decided to take the leap.  My current tenant moves out this week, and I'll be excitedly setting up my office this weekend!

Resolution #3: Achieve a higher level of physical fitness.  In 2009, I underwent and recovered from ACL surgery.  Partly due to the fact that I was unable to ski for the '09-'10 season, last winter I gained weight.  In 2010, I lost the weight and then some.  This winter I'm returning to Bolton to coach the Mini Racers program on Saturday mornings.  I'm back at Long Trail Physical Therapy twice a week to work on some scar tissue issues, and get my left leg strength back to 100%.  Going for a well-rounded winter, we're planning a hut trip to Bolton's Bryant Cabin in February, and I'm thinking of getting myself a pair of snowshoes so Roger and I can get out and enjoy the snow on my non-skiing days.

Overall, I resolve that 2011 will be my best year ever.