Thursday, February 27, 2014

What I'm Reading: Following Atticus

You were expecting a ThrowbackThursday for Pippa, weren't you?  I'm not surprised, since I did a #TBTRoxy and a #TBTKinsey.  Nope, I have another Kinsey-centric post instead.  Poor Pippa, she remains a third class citizen in our house. Here is one #TBTPippa:

This was the morning after Kevin brought Pippa home (best surprise ever!).  Kinsey was not sure what to make of her.  But anyway... on to the real post.  I'm reading a book about a small dog who hikes all the 4000ft high peaks in New Hampshire: Following Atticus.

I first heard about Following Atticus from 3upAdventures, a hiking/mobile living blog I've been reading recently. I am 40% jealous of their lifestyle (mainly the amount of hiking they get to do) and 60% glad I have a house with a stove (they have neither).   I was intrigued about her description of the book because I used to think that Kinsey was the most rugged small dog there was.  Kinsey is pretty rugged - he will hike up mountains and run long distances with us.  At 13 pounds, it is pretty impressive.  Here are a couple photos of peaks he's scaled:

Mt. Piscah, VT
Mt. Roberts, AK
A trail I can't remember, Douglas AK
But I think Atticus has him beat.

The Adventures of Tom & Atticus
I haven't quite finished the book but it is providing the perfect entertainment for these busy times. It is light and moves fast (which is good since I've been reading it in 5 minute intervals).  A (sad) overworked man rescues a dog named Max who changes his life.  Max is older and is not around long before he passes away.  The man is forever changed by this dog and so gets a puppy and names him Atticus.  Atticus and the man (Tom) discover hiking and hike all the high peaks in NH.  Then they do it again, in the winter.  Then they do it again, two times over in the winter as a fund raiser for cancer.  I'm still reading about the attempt, I do not know yet if he succeeds.  Regardless, hiking up Mt. Washington twice in the winter is a pretty big goal!

Most of all it is a classic "man meets dog" love story.   The story is about Tom's love for Atticus and Atticus' love for Tom.  (I am pretty sure that anyone who says animals can't feel love for humans hasn't had dogs).  I love stories like this.  Even if the dog dethrones Kinsey as the most rugged small dog that lives.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

#TBT - The Kinsey Edition

Things have continued to be pretty crazy around here.  Between my regular job, the clinic, and the apartments I don't have much spare time.  We've also been dealing with a family member's health issues (scary for a little while but things are looking up!) so I've been feeling very unmotivated to think of topics and post.  I hope you'll take another #TBT as my one post for the week.  Prepare yourself for a lot of puppy pictures because Kinsey was one cute puppy!

The story of how we got him is that he was part of an accidental litter of one of Kevin's clients' pets. She had gone through one litter of Brussel Griffons and decided breeding wasn't for her.  She hadn't gotten around to getting either the mom or the dad fixed yet and oops! she had another litter to deal with.  I was in the market for a dog (my cat Lulu had passed away about six months before) and so Kevin let me know that I could have one of these dogs.  The Humane Society in Juneau was like what every Humane Society should be - there was a waiting list for dogs! They also preferred people who didn't work full time (even if they were really active and had a veterinarian boyfriend like me) so even though I initially wanted a bigger dog, I decided to go for Kinsey.

The morning after we picked him up.  He had a rough first night but then in the morning had full blown Stockholm Syndrome and was attached to me at the ankle.  Because of what happened with Jasmine, Kevin was pretty careful to not show him too much attention the first few weeks.  Roxy was fine with him from the start.  In hindsight, I think the fact that he was a puppy, male, and never got bigger than her was a real plus.  She likes to be the queen bee and Kinsey has always respected that.  He's happy with his place at the bottom of the pack as long as he gets lots of attention.

The result of Kevin taking a back seat was that Kinsey has been my dog right from the start.  A breed trait of Brussel Griffons, they tend to bond to one person.  I used to say Kinsey likes Kevin more than random people on the street but in recent years he has gotten more attached to Kevin.  He will still pick me over him every time though.  It is okay, he is both Roxy and Pippa's favorite.  Unless I have food, and then game over for Kevin.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  I love how casually Kevin is holding Kins.

Funny story - we lived in Juneau, Alaska while Palin was governor and during the McCain/Palin presidential bid.  The governor's mansion was on my route to work so I walked past it every day (no, you can't see Russia from there).  For awhile we were on the same schedule and I would see her every morning and she would never wave or make eye contact with me.  This really bothered me, since I was obviously a constituent and saw her every day, she should acknowledge me occasionally.  Then, not long after I got Kinsey, I was out walking him and she drove by, smiling and waving.  Guys, I was starstruck.  I forgot I hated her for a whole week and just kept telling everyone "Sarah Palin waved at me!" Puppies are a game changer!

The beard growing in!

I'm so mean to him!

He's a happy little dog.  I've been feeling badly lately that we haven't been out running or for very many long walks.  Between being so busy and the bitter cold winter we've had Kinsey has been cooped up inside a lot.  I'm hoping the weather breaks soon and I can squeeze some runs in with him.  We'll both be better for it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#TBT - The Roxy Edition

#TBT is "Throwback Thursday" where you post old photos (aka blog filler).  Today's is going to be focused on Roxy, in somewhat chronological order.  Some of the early photos may be out of order - I wasn't part of the family yet and I stole them from Kevin's Facebook page.

Roxy with her first canine buddy, 2002?
Not a gray hair to be found

Kevin looks mighty young here too!
Back when her favorite toy wasn't a frisbee

Circa 2006

Ask Kevin the story about the dog on his left.  Well since this is my blog, I'll tell you about her.  She was Kevin's dog too, her name is Jasmine, and Kevin lost her in a poker game to his buddy Bob.

Just kidding! Kevin was studying long hours in vet school and brought Jasmine home to keep Roxy company.  The plan backfired though since they didn't interact much with each other and ended up competing for Kevin's already limited attention.  Roxy does look annoyed and is kind of giving her the side eye in that photo.  Kevin had a poker game and his buddy Bob was over and Jasmine wouldn't leave Bob alone.  Bob commented on how great Jasmine is and Kevin said "take her."  He did and now she lives a happy life with Bob's family in Michigan.

Actually, this was the photo that made me want to get to know Kevin.  Remember how I said we evaluated each other as roommates before meeting each other in person?  I was checking out his Facebook page and remember thinking after seeing this photo that he was someone good. 

On their way out to meet me! 2008

Back when Roxy could snowshoe - up a mountain to boot.  Actually I distinctly remember calling Kevin after this hike (he wasn't with us) and saying "I think I broke your dog."  Even then she had some pain issues.

Even Roxy thinks my dad is spouting nonsense, 2009

But she'll still follow him

Looking grayer but still wanting that stick! 2010

Old and wise, 2011

Monday, February 10, 2014

Big News

We bought a veterinary clinic last week.  We are now officially small business owners (politicians, court us, we're job creators!).  I'll write about it more (and post photos) in a bit but it hasn't quite sunk in yet.  Honestly, right now I'm just trying not to think about all the money we owe to the bank to avoid hyperventilating.  Kevin has been crazy busy getting everything together for the closing/all the accounts set up after the closing so not much else has been happening around here.  We've either been working or sitting on the couch in a zombie-like state watching West Wing reruns.  We did carve out some time to go snowshoeing yesterday.  We've been getting some great snow so I was happy to play in it.

Notice the snow, I'm fancy now!
Okay, I admit it, Google added the snowflakes without me doing anything.
Kinsey was upset Kevin continued to walk away and would not look at me long enough to take a picture
Caught up!
 Some photos of snowshoeing LAST year, which are relevant because it may have been Roxy's last snowshoe trip. [Insert sad face].  She is just not up to longer walks this year so we left her home.

She wasn't happy about it but we bribed her with a raw hide so she didn't hold a grudge.

Also, by the way, I was definitely not surprised to see Brussels Griffon as number three on this list of 10 Most High Maintenance Dog Breeds. It explains why one of Kinsey's nicknames is "Jackass." 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Adventures in Vegetarian Cooking: Carmelized Onion & Butternut Squash Covered Quiche

Let's cut straight to the chase on this one.

Kevin was not a fan of my latest adventure in vegetarian cooking.  I on the other hand, gave it a thumbs up.

I had made a sweet potato, carmelized onion and feta cheese quiche awhile back and we both really liked it.  This time I used what we had on hand: butternut squash puree, carmelized onion, and mozzarella.  I'm not sure what the difference was but Kevin did not like it - so much that he didn't even bother to take leftovers for lunch the next day (so you know his feelings were strong!).

What I liked about it was that because I covered it, it was a cross between a pie and a quiche.  The sweetness of the butternut squash and carmelized onions made it reminiscent of a pumpkin pie.  But the egg and the mozzarella made it acceptable for dinner (and two lunches - you better believe I took the leftovers).

 If you let your pie crust come to room temperature before rolling it out, you will have a prettier crust than me.  I usually plan dinner 5 minutes before I start to make it so I didn't have that option here.

It looks like dessert, but it's dinner!

I paired it with green beans from our freezer and pineapple.  Pineapple because we have two apples left.  Two!

Praise Baby Jesus, I never thought I'd see the day!
Since we are low on our local fruit stock, I don't feel bad buying tropical fruit.  At this time of year the fruit has to come from far away no matter what we get.

Here is the recipe, in case you trust my taste more than Kevin's:

2 Pie Crusts
1 Large Onion
1 c. Butternut Squash Puree (or pumpkin or sweet potato)
1/2 c. Mozzarella (or 1/4 c. feta)
6 eggs, beaten with a dash of half and half (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sautee onions over medium low heat until carmelized (10-15 minutes).  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.  Beat eggs in a separate bowl with half and half (if using) and salt and pepper.  Roll out one pie crust into a pie dish.  Pour butternut squash into the pie crust.  Add the cheese, onions, and eggs to the pie crust in layers.  Do not mix.  Place second pie crust over the mixture and crimp edges together as you would a pie.  Cut four slits into the top crust.  Bake until the egg mixture is cooked through - about 35-45 minutes.  I checked if it was done by lifting and peeking through the slits.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Owning a House: A Year In

Thursday was our one year anniversary of "owning" our house (well the bank owns most of it).  I thought I'd look back and show some before and after shots.  You'll notice I'm only showing you the downstairs, we've been focusing our efforts on that.  Upstairs is to come!

Entryway - Before:


I got the big mirror over the mantel for $10 when my hairdresser was closing up shop, the side board for a lot more but we haven't regretted the splurge, the picture frame was a gift from my MIL (It is from Pottery Barn - she knew I wanted it but it was out of stock when she went to get it and I'm pretty sure she got the last one from a store in Texas).  The big vases are a new addition from an antique store, we plan to put some lighted branches in them. 

The Living Room - Before:


We picked up the couch from my sister in April.  I bought it while I was living in D.C. and then stored it at my sister's when I moved to Alaska.  The rug was Kevin's grandmother's that his parents generously let us have.  The coffee and side tables are recent additions from a local antique store.  Still on my list is to get a new entertainment center, we got that one for free a few years ago and I think it is pretty ugly - but it serving its purpose for now.

The Dining Room - Before:

That green and gold was really awful and it was a high priority for me to get it painted.  Once it was painted the whole downstairs just felt so much lighter.  I was surprised at how much of a difference painting one room could make.  After:

The Game Room - Before:


Notice the dart board is up!

The Downstairs Bathroom- Before:


We used Renaissance Men LLC when we realized we were in over our heads.  We would highly recommend them!

The kitchen has stayed the same but here are some recent photos:

Not too bad for the first year.  On our to-do list for the downstairs is:
  • Put in a gas fireplace in the living room fireplace
  • Turn the window in the "sun" room back into a door (not pictured because it is basically the kitty litter room right now)
  • Hang pictures and art
  • [long term] Paint the entry way (that will be a big project due to the stair case, might not happen for awhile)
  • [long term] Put a wood burning fireplace in the entryway