Saturday, December 16, 2006

Todays fun:

Making the dog wear clothes. She wasn't too impressed at first, but the with the smallest distraction completely forgot she was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and a belt. Silly girl!

I've made some major progress on my thesis - yes, I'm still writing that blasted thing. My motivation has been seriously lacking on it, but I've done pretty much all the writing for my first paper. Now I'm working on style, format, and flow. The second paper (its a two-paper thesis) has been mostly completed since Winter Quarter '06. I have just a little more to flesh out and its done. So, in January I'll be contacting the department head and getting that darn thesis submitted. Yippeeee!

We'll be heading to my parents' place in Nevada for Christmas. In anticipation, Chris did a trial run of making a prime rib for dinner tonight, a la Tyler Florence:,1977,FOOD_9936_35329,00.html. It was really tasty, but not quite what we wanted to Christmas dinner. Back to the drawing board.

I hope all our friends and family, and their friends and family, have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Rest In Peace

My sweet Tulie-cat.

Your time here was much too brief.

I hope you knew how much you were loved, and that you found happiness in the time we shared.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

Due to inclement weather, Chris and I decided to stay home for Thanksgiving. That didn't stop us from making an entire Thanksgiving Dinner for the two of us though! We had an 11-pound turkey that we rubbed an herb butter all over and injected with melted butter with copious amount of garlic, and stuffed with the usual aromatics (orange, onion, garlic, lemon). We also had Stovetop Stuffing and cranberry sauce from the can - a couple guilty pleasures - and mashed potatoes with gravy. For dessert I made a pumpkin pie and a cherry crumble. Needless to say, we had lots of leftovers. I put four dishes of turkey enchiladas in the freezer, and we had turkey sandwhiches for days. Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Horses and Wine

It was a great day - I got to meet Stef's Aunt Pam and we went horseback riding and wine tasting at Garrod Farms in Saratoga. Our trail ride took us through the Cooper-Garrod Vineyards and the Open Space Preserve on the eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains. My horse, Whiz, became a bit antsy about 3/4 of the way through the ride. Apparently she knew home was just over the ridge and wanted to get there soon, and gave me a hard time keeping her in the line. But it was a lot of fun and I haven't been riding in ages. Think I could keep a horse on the patio without the HOA knowing?

After the ride we went to the tasting room where we tried seven of their wines. My favorite was the George's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, named for the founder and winemaker of the vineyard. Then we headed back out of the mountains, in Pam's convertable with the top down to enjoy the beautiful day.

We met neat people, did cool things, and laughed till our cheeks hurt. In fact, you haven't had a great day unless your cheeks are sore - and with horseback riding I guess that would include both sets.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006


Check this out - Nutro Natural Choice, the same company that makes the kibble we feed Ayla, now makes desserts for dogs! If you can't read it, there are four flavors: Berry Cobbler, Carrot Cake, Pumpkin Crumble, and Apple Torte.

Ayla tried the Apple Torte over the weekend. My verdict: Looks like cat food, smells like apples. Ayla seemed to like it though. And at less than 100 calories per can, as it so proudly states on the front, she can eat her dessert and still keep her girlish figure!

I think we'll save the pumpkin one for Thanksgiving...

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Quiet Weekend

Its been a rather quiet weekend. On Friday Ayla and I found a neat place to hike that's really near home: the Las Trampas Wilderness in San Ramon. There are many many trails, picnic sites, and its shared with horses so there's lots of road pies for Ayla to sniff. Unfortunately it had been raining prior to our exploring, so there was too much mud to go far. In fact, we were headed up the Elderberry Trail and I accumulated literally inches of mud on the soles of my shoes, so we had to turn around. I'm looking forward to doing lots of hiking there when the trails dry out a bit!

Otherwise we've been doing the usual - good food, playing with the pup and the cats, enjoying our condo, and keeping happy. I'm off to find some new recipes to try out. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Road Trip!

I'll be the first to admit that we are crazy. We woke up at 3am this past Saturday morning to get on the road to visit my parents in Nevada. We chose that ungodly hour so we wouldn't have to deal with Bay Area traffic on a Friday afternoon, and it really works! So, as I said we woke up at 3am and Ayla looked at us like we were insane. With some prodding we managed to get her up and out of the house, and into the car where she promptly went back to sleep.

We got to Dayton around 8:30am and Ayla walked into Mom & Dad's house like she owned the place. Phantom, their 14-year-old lab, seemed to enjoy having the little whippersnapper around. She adored him, loved running in the back yard, and soaked up all the attention she could. In fact, she was quite spoiled - with 5 people in the house (Chris, me, Mom, Dad, and my brother Clayton) there was always someone willing to play or pet.

It was COLD though (no trips to the river this time)! Ayla got a chance to try out her new red jacket in the cold weather and it was perfect. She was running around in the backyard in the mornings and loving it, not shivering and asking to come back in.

We humans had a good time too. We had good food (Did you know they put security tags on the meat in the local market? Apparently beef theft is a problem there.). We played pool and learned a new card game called 3-13. We laughed... lots. A great time!

Chris, Ayla, and I came home on Monday. Back to work for those of us with jobs (yeah, I'm talking to you, retired-person Dad!). But we are looking forward to visiting again soon. It was very relaxing being there, and I hear there's good fishing to be had next time.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Yesterday we took Ayla to one of her favorite places: Point Isabel. Its an awesome 21-acre off-leash dog haven managed by East Bay Regional Parks. There are trails to walk on, many access points to the Bay for swimming, benches and tables all along, and even Mudpuppy's Sit & Stay Cafe for refreshments and Tub & Scrub for self-service and full-service dog washing. Ayla loves to explore here and went swimming in the water after a ball this time! She's not really afraid of the water at all, and once she got her undercarriage wet she realized water is a really great thing on a hot day. After playing ball, walking around, swimming, and general merriment for a couple hours we headed back home. Ayla got a bath at home and slept the rest of the day. In fact, she's sleeping at my feet as I type this. She loves to sleep.

Its been a quiet weekend otherwise. I've been out bargain shopping and Chris has been doing stuff around the house. By the way, today marks Chris' 5-year anniversary at work. Congrats!

It should be an easy week. We're gearing up to head up to my parents' place in Dayton, NV, next weekend. We hope to take the pup to the river there, and who knows what else we'll be doing. I'll have more news and more pitctures then.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pumpkin Carving

We carved a pumpkin! It was a cold and dreary weekend, spent mostly indoors playing with Ayla, cooking good food, and watching movies. Chris came home from grocery shopping with a gorgeous pumpkin for our Halloween Jack-o-Lantern.

Since we took our dining room table down (we tend not to sit at it and had other uses for the space it was taking) we had to carve the pumpkin on the floor, which means Ayla got to help... at least, that's what she insists she was doing. I drew up a sketch of what we'd carve and Ayla watched intently as Chris transfered it to the pumpkin. She made sure Chris did a good job of cutting of the top and helped clean out the inside. She did her best to help carve the front of the pumpkin too.

Ayla didn't much like the pumpkin on the patio. Whenever she'd see it she'd bark at it. I took it down, let her sniff it, and she tried to eat it. Even then, she still barked at it when I put it back up. Guess she doesn't like Halloween very much.

Update - October 20 - RIP poor pumpkin. We had a heat wave and a patio railing with full afternoon sun is evidently not a great place for a cut squash in 80-degree weather.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lots of Stuff

Fourth of July - We have a killer view from our very own patio of the fireworks put on by the city. And, since we're less than half a mile from the main park, we could hear the music and festivities the whole day. We had a lovely barbeque and then decided to hop over the patio railing to the hillside, just in case the view was better. There were quite a few people doing the same, but I think we were the only comfortable ones. We set up a blanket and our patio chairs, brought out our really weak solar patio lights, made hot cocoa, and enjoyed ourselves. Ayla did great too. She pretty much ignored the fireworks, though we were plying her with treats the entire time. So, come on out to see us next Fourth and we'll have a really fun time!

August 12 - My dear friend Stef visited us for the day. We spent most of the time talking and laughing, and catching up. We got some take-out for lunch and took it to a park, where we were attacked by bees. That was not so fun. We ended up having to toss the food and get out of there before we all got stung. Later we had a barbeque and enjoyed a nice bottle of wine, and before we knew it, it was midnight. Stef stayed over and got to enjoy Gretel, the cat, walking all over her at night. Good kitty, don't let the guests sleep soundly. :)

The following weekend - More visiting with Stef, but this time we went to see her and her cute little house and yard. Ayla did her best to eat all the flowers, but Stef assures me they are back to normal just a week later. We picked up lunch at The Lobster Shack, where they daily fly in fresh seafood from Maine. Yummy! Then we went to Bay and had a picnic. While we were there a woman with a dog came and played fetch with her dog into the water. Ayla chased that dog over and over, trying to get him to play with her, and getting in the water deep enough to reach her belly. Soon enough she'll be swimming! It was so wonderful to get to see Stef two weekends in a row; I'll have to steal her away from her fiance more often.

August 25 - My parents and little brother were RV-ing this week. They set up camp in San Benito at a Thousand Trails and did lots of things: visiting wineries, going to Monterey, visiting wineries, going to missions... did I mention they visited wineries? On Friday Ayla and I hopped in the car, leaving Chris to fend for himself for the night, and drove down to visit. The RV area made me Feel like I was at summer camp. They had a lodge with ping-pong, two pools, a jacuzzi, a mini golf course, horse back riding, and even a dog park! We hung out at the camp that day and enjoyed each other's company while Ayla tried to get old man Phantom, my parent's 15-year-old lab, to play with her. There were tons of quail right outside the site, and a peacock, and hummingbirds... and flies. We had s'mores that night around a camp fire and the next morning Ayla tried to eat a bush. She got pretty far on the thing too. Mid-day Ayla and I drove back home, and she slept the rest of the weekend. Camping is hard work! It was great to see the folks, and I have some ideas for future RV sites we can all enjoy.

That's it for now. This is a long weekend and we have some plans, so I'll have more to write soon!