Category Archives: Random Life
It’s her day.
This is the woman who taught me how to love unconditionally and that your baby, no matter how many legs it has or how ill-mannered it can be, should be doted on and cuddled as much as possible.
Case in point: Tori the rat terrier who’s giving the camera the stinkeye.
Today, I’ll be spending a good part of the day with my mom, celebrating our relationship and dining on tasty, locally prepared food.
Our ultimate hope is to get tickets for a tour of Boulevard Brewery, the internationally renowned craft beer company based in Kansas City.
She better leave that Spuds Mackenzie apron at home, though.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! Whether your puppies have two legs or four, you deserve some appreciation for a job well done!
The kindness of strangers and friends alike has helped warm my heart over the past few days.
I am still processing the loss of Charlie Machete, as well as other unrelated family matters that I will not go into here.
Yet, even in dark times, there are reasons to rejoice.
A kiss from an old man, the squeeze of a sister’s hand, new life emerging on my doorstep – so much beauty abounds.Joy to all on this spring Tuesday.
There’s a room in my house that the dogs are obsessed with.
Actually, I have long tried to keep them out of the room with a closed door that also helped me avoid thinking about the disorganized mess within.
Officially, the room is my office, but it has always been more of a repository for stuff I didn’t want to deal with. Like paperwork and mail I couldn’t decide if I should hold onto or toss and clothes I couldn’t cram into in my primary closet.
But last weekend, my friend Shelley came over with the sole purpose of helping me turn this cluttered room into a functional space that would bring me peace and inspiration – without spending any significant money.
Truth be told, I was a little scared and embarrassed that the room had gotten so out of control.
But Shelley has a way of bringing out the fun in life.
Our project isn’t finished yet, but thanks to our progress so far, I’m now as eager as the dogs are to spend time in that room.
Every morning this week, I have even invited them to join me there as I get ready for work.
It is the very best way to start my day.
Do your pets supervise your morning routine?
Don’t be fooled by that headline.
I did not take any of my dogs to the museum.
But on Saturday, a lot of Kansas City folks did – well, they went at least as far as the the museum lawn.
Dogs on the Lawn was a first time event hosted by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Festivities included paws-on art projects, DIY dog apparel decoration and a few pet-friendly vendors including Kansas City’s brand new food truck for dogs.
People with dogs got to participate in paw painting – finger painting for dogs. The results were very colorful and abstract, but all the pet parents seemed proud.
Those interested in more serious art inspired by their animals could order a custom portrait from Ashley Corbello, a local artist who specializes in pet paintings.
I decided I would like Ashley to immortalize Scooby the elderpin in a painting sometime soon.
But in the meantime, I headed to the DIY screen print area, where local art students were helping folks customize cloth accessories for their pets.
With the yellow dog project in mind, I chose a fabric scrap that I thought might work as a t-shirt for Scooby.
For decoration, I chose the shuttlecock, which is a nod to the famous sculpture that lives on the Nelson-Atkins lawn.
The real reason I came to Dogs on the Lawn, however, was to
play with the puppies help at the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull table.
The group currently has five adorable pit mix puppies available for adoption. Three of them attended this event, along with their mama and another adoptable adult male.
The puppies were such a big hit that by the time I got to the event, they were pretty much crashed out. (I picked them all up and snuggled them to my chest, anyway.)
The coolest thing I discovered at Dogs on the Lawn was Kansas City’s first food truck for dogs.
I grabbed a bottle for the boys at home!
Come back tomorrow to see how they liked the brew!
Although we missed each other, Our Waldo Bungie’s Emily and adoptable Moby the Wonderdog also attended Dogs on the Lawn. Check out the post here.
Do you hate dandelions?
I don’t. In fact, I love them.
As I inspected the garden last weekend, I was thrilled to see quite a few dandelions sprouting.
Although we don’t use weedkillers, we don’t get a lot of dandelions.
That’s probably because I like to pull them. And when I do, I try to yank out the whole plant, root and all, well before their heads turn into those fluffy seed puffs. That helps keep the overall population down.
In addition to removing them where you don’t want them, pulling dandelions provides a seasonal treat that’s packed with minerals and nutrients.
If you have been reading this blog long, you know I’m a fan of wild edible plants.
I’m especially fond of dandelions, which are plentiful and trending for foodies. Over the past year, I have seen bags of dandelion greens on the shelves at Whole Foods and dandelion salads on the menus at restaurants. (I tend to gulp at the price.)According to Whole Dog Journal, dandelions can also be beneficial for dogs.
Last weekend’s dandelion haul wasn’t massive – just about 15 young plants, none of which had flowered.
But that was enough. Cleaning dandelions takes a while, especially if you don’t plan to throw anything away.
The entire dandelion plant is edible, although the greens can be a little bitter.
I cleaned mine by soaking them three times in water and then scrubbing all of the dirt from them.
Then, I snipped their roots for roasting and gathered the greens in a bowl.
I haven’t turned my roasted roots into a liver-cleansing tea just yet, but I have gotten use from the greens.
Last night, I snuck some greens between layers of cheese in a batch of nachos. I called ‘em Dandy Nachos.
And on Easter, I used the greens to garnish a batch of deviled eggs.
As promised, see below for the deviled eggs recipe. It’s one of my famous, inexact recipes, so you won’t need any measuring cups.
Deviled Nest Eggs
What you’ll need:
As many boiled eggs as you want (Remember, each whole egg makes two deviled eggs)
- Wasabi mayonaise (Available at Trader Joe’s)
- Your favorite yellow mustard
- A handful of fresh dandelion greens
- Bowl and spoons for mixing
Carefully peel your boiled eggs – I find it’s best to do this while they are still warm. Slice each egg in half and separate the yolk from the white. Gather all of the yolks in a bowl. Once you have separated all of the eggs, you can mix up your filling. Simply add the yellow mustard and wasabi mayo and begin stirring. Start with a small amount of the condiments at first – no more than a teaspoon – and taste as you go along. You will know when the taste is right for you. Garnish each egg with two or three shreds of dandelion green and one or more capers. Each egg should resemble a little bird nest with very tiny eggs. Sprinkle paprika lightly over the whole batch.
Have you ever eaten dandelions? What did you think?
It’s been quiet around here lately.
No lie – I’ve been trying to cut back on the daily computing.
I’ve been needing to get outside.
Luckily, the weather was warm over the weekend, so we headed out to the garden for some peace – and hard work.
But when I knelt down by our carrot patch, where that crisp orange smell still lingers in the soil, I knew I had to raid our little seed bank.
As usual, I sowed ‘em thick – two rows of traditional carrots, one row of purple carrots, one row of beets and one row of root parsley.
And the dogs tend to love tasty roots as much as we do.
I’m hoping for a bumper crop of root veggies this summer.
In the meantime, the fruit trees are full of buds and dozens of onions are just begging to be trimmed as garnishes or dug up for roasting.
And there are wild things to harvest.Come back tomorrow to learn about the weeds we’ve been eating and a recipe!
Have you begun gardening yet this spring?
If porcupines were tree branches, they would look like this.
Long-haired Luke picked this up in his golden tailfeathers last night during our jog along the Trolley Track Trail.
He squatted down to do his business, and when he stood up, this foot-and-a-half-long weapon was swinging from the underside of his tail. Because his fur kept him safe from the thorns, he seemed more confused than anything – like a cat with a string tied to its tail.
Never have I more wished to be carrying a pocket knife on an outing.
However, instead of cutting around the evil entanglement, I spent ten bare-handed minutes, gingerly tugging strands of hair away from the sticky, hair-like thorns, many of which lodged themselves in my skin throughout the process.
Charlie Machete seemed to be laughing at us all the while.
Oh well, it was an adventure!
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, several thorny varieties of deciduous trees grow in Missouri. I think our spiky branch was new growth from a black or honey locust that fell off due to the recent snowstorms.
Many honey locusts grow along the part of the trail we were on. They have a terrifying appearance, their own branches wrapping around the trunk like wooden barb wire.
What hazards must you watch out for on your outings?
Today, I clock back in at the office after a whole week off.
As much as I love my colleagues and enjoy my job, leaving Zach and the dogs at home is going to be extra hard this morning.
But the time spent together, in our own city and with our beloved dogs was pretty amazing.
Staycation 2013 highlights:
2. Warming ourselves by the fire of tree branches and twigs that fell down during Kansas City’s recent big, bad snowstorms.
3. Taking time to explore Red X, a big store in Riverside, Missouri, that is part hardware store, part grocery store, part liquor store and part purveyor of antiques and weird animal statues.
4. Having Zach’s sister and brothers over for dinner and taking an extra plate to our neighbor, who brought us a lovely bouquet of flowers to say thanks.
5. Challenging one another to consume the super hot sauce and dried pepper flakes that Bethany brought us from her trip to the Philippines.
6. Going to a movie – Oz the Great and Powerful – on a weeknight.
Have you ever stayed home for your vacation? What did you do?
In 1938, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo painted herself and one of her dogs.
A reproduction of that painting – “Itzcuintli Dog With Me” – hangs on the wall of my house.
It’s a souvenir from our vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, exactly two years ago.
Our strolls around the city were full of Frida imagery.
We even ate at a restaurant El Repollo Rojo (The Red Cabbage) that served foods Frida Kahlo used to make for guests at her own extravagant parties.
Frida Kahlo has always been a favorite artist of mine.
I will never forget hearing her story for the first time, on movie day in my high school Spanish class. The students around me were all screwing off, but I could not tear my eyes from the screen and the tale of an extraordinary and rather wayward woman who lived, loved and worked passionately, for herself and for her people.
During her life, Frida Kahlo’s heart and her body were both broken, but her spirit never was.
Along with food, high art and fellow artist Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo loved animals.
AnOther magazine has a great slideshow of Frida with her many pets, including xoloitzcuintli dogs like the one in the picture I own.
Itzcuintli is the Aztec word for day, and its sign is the dog.
In ancient Mesoamerica, dogs were sometimes buried with humans, presumably to help guide the souls on their journey.
Frida Kahlo’s typically dark work often includes ancient symbolism. She suffered most of her life from compromised health, so it makes sense to me on many levels that this Mexican breed would appear in her self-portrait.
Modern xoloitzcuintli dogs are sometimes used as therapy dogs for people with chronic pain.
I wonder if they helped Frida.
Are you a fan of Frida Kahlo? Who is your favorite artist?
If you don’t know much about Frida, I urge you to watch the 2002 movie about her starring Salma Hayek.For more about Frida Kahlo, check out related posts by InkPaperPen and Dear Kitty.