Below: Princess Libby on my (unmade) bed
Isn't he a beauty?
That's all I have to say about that. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday!
My furry friends haven't said hello in a while. They love getting attention, both in person and on the bloggity blog.
Below: Princess Libby on my (unmade) bed
Below: Libby on my parents' bed (where she is not allowed). See how her ears are back and how she is vigorously wagging her tail? She knows that she is BUSTED!
Below: Mickey sitting on the windowsill in the library
Below: Mickey is always adorable, but he looks so precious when he lies down with his front legs crossed.
Below: the Princess donning a gothic bandanna after getting groomed
Below (this is the last time that I will say "below"): Libby giving her daddy a very warm greeting after I brought her back to my brother's apartment. Sometimes, I forget that I am only her second favorite person in the world.
We can't forget about Cody, the incredibly kind and docile dog with a very soft and velvety head.
And now, I will introduce the newest member of our family: SAM!
Isn't he a beauty?
We picked him up two weeks ago from Orphans of the Storm. He is a kick-ass four-year-old mixture of (we think) German shepherd, lab, and hound. He's perfectly housebroken, brilliant, and is obsessed with his new human owners and doggy brothers.
Guys, I can't stress enough how important it is to rescue your dogs and cats. There are so many of them in shelters who need homes and will either be euthanized or spend the rest of their life in a small cold cell if they are not adopted. By getting an animal from a shelter, you are saving a life. I know that there are plenty of wonderful breeders out there (I can't say the same thing about puppy mills- I have NOTHING good to say about them), but everybody wants to adopt puppies or kittens. Puppies almost always find homes. It's also so much cheaper to get an animal from a shelter or a rescue group vs. a breeder. We paid about $150 for Sam, and that included a visit to the vet, a microchip, neutering, and medication. Plus, since he's older and has already been in a home, he is housebroken and won't destroy our house. Please consider rescuing the next time that you get a pet. You will not regret it, and you will always feel good knowing that you are giving your pet a better life.
That's all I have to say about that. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thursday!
I blame the remnants of jet lag (apparently it takes one day for every time zone you cross over to recover, in which case it will supposedly take me about 17 days for my body to return back to normal), the cold gray January skies, and my post-holiday depression (at this point, I really can't list any positives of a long-distance relationship) on the fact that I've been like this since I returned back to the states (refer to photo below):
Just like a dog.
All I want to do is sleep. I've done two P90X workouts since I got home, and I didn't even have the energy to get through half of the second one. Everything I do is exhausting. I'd worry about myself, except I know that I am this way for the reasons that I listed above.
With that said, I realize it's now time to socialize again, exercise again, and get out of bed when my clock says AM instead of PM. Many people experience post-vacation blues and live in cold winter regions, so I really need to quit this pity party that I'm having with myself. I need to live again.
My classes resumed last Tuesday. I never have class before noon (which enables my ability to pretty much sleep as late as I want), but I'm not sleeping in tomorrow. I am getting out of bed several hours before class and am exercising. I will do the same thing the day after that and the day after that. No excuses. I will never feel better if I don't get back into my routine.
At least I have this creature to make me feel better:
Jon dropped off Libby last Tuesday, and he's picking her up again tomorrow. She's been with us for a full week, and we've had so much fun. As always, she lives on my bed. She's an automatic mood-booster.
Although I sleep a lot, I still make sure that I get good food. The first time that I went to dinner with my parents after I got home, I told them that I really wanted to get sushi. We went to Sushi Kushi San3 in Vernon Hills. The original branch is in Lake Forest, but this one is much closer to us.
The three of us split a massive plate of six different rolls. I can't begin to tell you what each roll was, but I know that I liked them all. All the way to the right (above), you can see that they gave us a side of tempura flakes as an added garnish. YUM.
I also deviated from my normal cereal routine this weekend and made an egg scrambler for brunch (I can't call it breakfast, since I didn't wake up early enough for that). I whisked two egg whites and one egg yolk with a few drops Worcestershire sauce. I sauteed two large mushrooms (finely chopped) and then combined it with the egg, shredded arugula, and mozzarella cheese. It was the perfect combination for me. I thought about making an omelette, but scramblers are always more satisfying to me for some reason.
I also peeled a grapefruit like an orange and placed it on my plate. It was all too much for one meal, but I managed to get it all down after a while with the help of the dogs Cody and Libby. I could never imagine that dogs would like grapefruits, but I guess you learn new and interesting things all the time.
Guess what else we did over the weekend? We took the dogs to the dog park to play in the snow.
What a pretty golden retriever!
We went into the woods, which we don't always do. I'm sure it's nice in warmer weather, but I think snow always makes things look prettier.
So, I guess I got SOME exercise over the weekend. I'm just excited to pull myself back together and become a healthier and happier person again. I miss that. Bring on tomorrow!
More New Years Eve Pictures
Our friend Claire posted more pictures from New Years Eve, so I made sure to post them for you. That was such a fun night.
Jewish or not, we have a tree every year. We cover it in blue and white, and it becomes a Channukah bush. Last night, we decorated it.
I've been away for a few years, so I'm not up to date with all of our ornaments. Here are my current favorites:
The Cardinal on a Branch
The Flying Angel Mutt with a Bone
The Humane Society Loves Christmas Trees/Channukah Bushes
AND our Personalized Puppy Ornaments! I didn't even know that we had these. It was a little sad, because we have two additional ones for two dogs that we don't have anymore. These ones make me smile, though!
When the tree was done, I had a slice of home made pizza and a glass (or two) of wine.
I love Friday nights at home!
Hello friends! I am so tired and want to collapse in my bed right now, but I can't do that until I post something. I just can't.
Today was my last day of classes for the week, because it's Thanksgiving Break! This is my first American Thanksgiving in three years. Wow. While I enjoy the holiday, the days around it are very hectic for me. My friends come in from all over the country, and there are always too many things to do. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just not one of those relaxing holidays where the only thing that I have to worry about is petting my dogs, feeding myself, and trying to wake up before 2 pm.
Anyway, you may notice that when I go up to a week without posting anything on my blog, my first post after my "hiatus" is a plethora of randomness and one thing has nothing to do with the other. You will notice that again today. I am also very tired, so this will be even more ridiculous than usual.
First, I love Annie's Mac and Cheese. I crave noodles and cheese separately on a daily basis, so putting the two types of food together is just like peas n carrots for me. Not only are Annie's products tasty, but they are organic and are whole grain (at least the boxes I buy are whole grain). Extra fiber? Hell yeah!
I like to make the whole box (and save half for another meal or sometimes eat the whole box at once and then sit there and wonder why I just did that and say that I'll never eat a whole box again in one sitting just like people say that they will never drink again when they wake up with a hangover because I was just so damn full YAY I love run-on sentences without punctuation!) and then spoon a meal-sized portion onto a bed of baby spinach. I also normally add a handful of shredded cheese to it while it's still hot in the pot and sprinkle some garlic powder on top.
I liked the Creamy Deluxe (it's cheesier than the average Annie's mac and cheese), but there are plenty of other varieties that I enjoy. They all pretty much taste the same, but the shapes are different.
Here's another thing I want to tell you: I understand why people like freezing their bananas. I can only eat a whole banana when it just turns ripe (I gag when they get too soft), so it's much more economical for me to peel and freeze them when they get to the gagging/brown point than throw them out.. I've been using my frozen bananas for smoothies, and you should do the same thing! Just make sure that you peel them before you freeze them. Can you imagine trying to peel a frozen banana?
Over the weekend, I made a smoothie with chocolate protein powder, my soy eggnog, a frozen banana, tart cherry juice, and frozen berries. It was too sweet for me, but I learned that eggnog is a great add-in for smoothies. I just don't recommend adding too much fruit, because it makes it sickeningly sweet!
At least it looked purdy.
Before I go faceplant on my pillow (or on Libby, who is sleeping on my pillow), I'm sharing dog photos. It's a passion of mine.
A doggie friend visited our house on Friday.
He made friends with one of our dogs.
And then he made friends with our other dog.
Mickey loves it when other dogs come over to play. We think Cody likes it too, although it's hard to tell with him. He'll wag his tail at anything. Sometimes, we question if he can even tell other dogs apart. We're not always sure that he knows who we are....
Speaking of doggie visitors, Libby is here until Thanksgiving! My bed is still her favorite place in the world.
She's lying across my pillows right now, so I have to move her over before I get into bed. She won't like that. What a poor puppy, having to deal with me taking over her bed space.
If you're in the US, have a wonderful start of the holiday!
My dog Mickey is a hoot. Our yard is surrounded by prairie, and Mickey runs into it when he's not wearing his electric collar since the plants are past the boundaries of our property. We always know when he went too far, because his long and thick fur always attracts burrs and seeds and other native flora. This time, he came back with a stick stuck in his tail.
He's so cute, that I can only laugh when he comes back covered in plants. How can you not snicker when your dog is trying to act innocent but has a branch attached to him?
Another amusement is that my dad bought me gnocchi (since he knows how to make me happy) and didn't even know that the food expires on my wedding day. Out of all of the days it could expire, who would have thunk that it would be then?
Naturally, I expected this to be magical gnocchi.
I made a batch last night and mixed in salmon from Sunday night's dinner. The salmon was good, but the overall meal was very unimpressive.
For lunch today, I combined the plain leftover gnocchi with broccoli, pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. It may be the only way that I ever make it, but it's ALWAYS good!
I also have to share that it's eggnog season. If your tummy doesn't agree with regular eggnog, you can buy soy eggnog. I'm sure this is nothing new, but I've been out of the country for a few years. Cut me some slack.
I woke up early this morning and did my Plyo X workout, which is my norm for Tuesdays since I started P90X. Plyo X is about 60 minutes (including warming up and cooling down) of nonstop movement. I was initially very scared of attempting this, because plyometrics can be very hard on your body. Too much jumping up and down could add stress on the knees and back. I experienced this when I did Zumba at my last gym. My knees were okay, but I always woke up the next morning with a sore back and leg (my right thigh that usually aches).
One of the things that I really like about Plyo X is that you can modify everything. If they do an exercise such as a jumping squat, you don't have to do the high-impact version. You can do the squat without a jump. Usually, somebody will show you how to do the modified move. Tony Horton, the P90X instructor, also explains how to lessen your chance of injury while doing a high-impact move (land like a cat!) and stresses good shoes and a shock-absorbing mat. Once I learned that there wasn't a 100% chance of injuring myself, my attitude towards Plyo X changed.
I started running two times per week at the same time that I started the program, but I soon realized that I was putting too much stress on my body. I wasn't a consistent runner, so my body wasn't used to that impact either. I may have been able to put up with it, but my right shin began to hurt when I walked. I stopped the running, and I used two yoga mats(one of top of the other) for extra coverage under my feet. Our basement floor is carpeted, but it's a very thin layer on top of a concrete floor. I'm sure that was one of the reasons that my shin ached.
Since I "padded up", I've had a great time with Plyo X. I am huffing and puffing more than I am in any of the other workouts, because it's all cardio. We do a ton of different squats and lunges, so it's also very good for the lower body. I only need my mats and a towel (and WATER) for this, so it doesn't require as much equipment as some of the other DVDs.
This morning, I was so exhausted towards the end of it that I literally wanted to curl up on the basement floor and go to sleep. I've never been that tired from this. I guzzled all of my water and then went upstairs for a recovery smoothie.
I drank it while I got ready for class. Do you like my thumb nail, by the way? It's a Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strip. They come in all sorts of crazy patterns. You just buy the strips, which are real nail polish, and put them on your nail like a sticker. You press them down on your nail and then use a nail filer that they give you to file off the excess part of the strip that hangs over your nail. Mine are starting to chip, so my flower child pattern is coming off soon.
Bye bye for now!
Editor's note: The workout is called "Plyometrics X". I'm not really sure why I've been abbreviating it!
WARNING: If you don't feel like reading a sad post, then I suggest you skip this one!
As I said yesterday, we lost our dog Rigley to bladder cancer last week. She was a very special dog, and she was my friend. This post is all about her.
Here are some facts about Rigley:
A few months ago, my mom noticed that Rigley was urinating in the basement. She never had accidents in the house before. She took her to the vet, where they did an ultrasound and found a mass in her bladder. They put her on antibiotics that seemed to help for a couple of months. Below is a picture of Rigley feeling very well.
About two weeks ago, my mom went in the basement to find what she later told me looked like a murder scene. Rigley was hemorrhaging, and she left piles of blood. When she brought her to the vet, hysterical, she thought that she'd never come back home again. They gave her some Chinese herbs that actually managed to stop the bleeding. My mom took her home, but she knew that Rigley's life would be over in a matter of days to weeks.
While Rigley acted fine, she showed some very strange behavior when I went with my parents to the dog park that weekend. She'd walk a few feet and then squat like she was trying to pee, but nothing came out. We could tell that she was struggling, but she eventually was able to relieve herself.
When I came home from school and let her outside two days later, nothing came out. She couldn't pee at all. This went on for hours. After several discussions with the vet, my mom made the painful decision to bring her in. We learned that she had a urinary blockage and that if we didn't euthanize her, her urine would become toxic and result in a very painful death. It was all excruciating, but we couldn't let her live in misery any longer.
i won't go into any of the sad details at the vet, but I will say that she's in a better place now. We bring all of our dogs to the vet where my mom works, and they are outstanding. They gave us four clay paw prints from her (they take her paw, press it in clay and then bake it), and I will keep mine forever.
Losing a dog is the WORST PART of having one. The good part is that it gets easier every day. I can't even tell you how sad it was to watch Mickey look around the house for her. We think he gets it now. We don't think Cody noticed that Rigley is gone...because he's not the brightest.
I'm happy to say that we had a wonderful dog for eleven years, and we gave her a good life. I'm sure that she wouldn't want anything more than that.
There is rarely a dull moment when you have dogs. The weather was still gorgeous today, so I took them for a walk after school.
These pictures don't have anything to do with my story, but I think everything looks so pretty. Call me crazy, but I like having leaves all over my yard.
There's the furniture that we probably have to put in the basement next month until the weather gets nice again. Sad.
Back to my story, or pseudo-story, Mickey peed on Cody two times during our walk. He peed once on his head and once on his back. Cody is not the smartest member of the dog population, so he didn't notice.
I wiped his head and body with bath wipes when we got home. He wasn't as nasty as the time when he rolled around in animal vomit/crap in the backyard, but I still didn't want him lying around on the carpets/etc with urine on him. I'm sure you get it.
There's a clean Cody!
I couldn't get a clear photo of the pissing culprit (Mickey), because he runs away from my the camera the same way that he would run away from a spray bottle full of water. I can only take his picture if I sneak up on him.
Cody hates pictures, too, but he puts up with it. See Mickey walking away from me?
I had a surprisingly delicious dinner, and it took all of five minutes to put together. I remembered that I had a packet of NoOodles that was just about to expire, but I wasn't sure how to make it taste good. NoOodles (which is supposed to look like "No Noodle" are made up of yam flour and water. They kind of look like pasta, but the texture is very cold and slimy. It's not pasta-like at all. Sounds gross, right?
I've only cooked them in the microwave in the past, and I thought that I would try a frying pan this time. I could heat and and crisp it up at the same time.
They never got crispy, but they picked up some flavor from the cooking spray and actually did not taste quite as slimy. I mixed it in a bowl with teriyaki sauce, and then I added leftover vegetables from dinner on Sunday. Don't let the only slightly-appetizing photo and the fact that that is not real pasta fool you; dinner tasted great!
I think that NoOodles work really well in stir fry-type dishes. I wouldn't suggest trying to eat it as a substitute for a regular Italian-style dish, because it just doesn't taste right. For a stir-fry, it's a great substitute for rice or noodles if you want to reduce your carb intake. I also recommend the stove method over the microwaving method!
Before I go, I have to tell you something sad. We lost our dog Rigley to bladder cancer last week. I'm going to make a special post for her, because that's the least of what she deserves. I miss her so much. I'll miss her every day.
'Till next time, friends!
This weekend was one of the most entertaining weekends that I have had in a long time. I started out by shadowing an intensive care dietitian at my dad's hospital on Friday morning. I plan on shadowing a few different types of registered dietitians, but I really enjoyed the experience in intensive care. I think that I can handle the hospital very well. I don't get queasy from seeing blood or very sick people. I think that I got that from my dad! Intensive care may be a field that I will consider pursuing.
After the hospital, I spent some time at home before I packed an overnight bag and made my way to the city with Libby. We went to my brother Jon's apartment where I fed her, fed myself, and took a cab to Nicole's apartment before the big event of the evening: the Australian Rules Football Grand Final!
If you don't know about Australian Rules Football, then look at the end of this recent post. I posted all of my links from last year that explain a little bit about the sport and the teams.
The sold-out event was at the Brownstone Tavern & Grill in Chicago, and it was hosted by the Chicago Australian Football Association. The entire bar was reserved for the game, so you couldn't get in there without a ticket. It cost $20 to get in the door, which also included a raffle ticket for an assortment of wine, cash prizes (up to $500) or a round-trip Qantas ticket to Australia (which I sadly did not win).
The crowd was a nice mix of Americans, Aussies and other counties that wanted to get in on the excitement. At times, I really believed that I was back in Australia. It made me so happy. I was even happier at the end of the night, because the Geelong Cats won the game!
Nicole and I made a lot of friends on Friday night. We were in the bar from 10 pm (the game started a little after 11) until 2 am, so it was bound to happen. We even made a friend wearing a Collingwood jersey. Shocker.
Nicole stayed out the entire night, even though she woke up at 4:40 am to go to work on Friday morning. What a trooper!
I was so happy that I ended up buying tickets and going. As long as I'm in Chicago, I'm watching the game with these guys!
By the way, I said, "Gooooo the Cats!" in my title for the reason that Australians use that expression. Americans would say, "Go Cats!", but not Australians. They add the "THE" in there. I just adore it. It's always THE footy. Or THE cricket. Of course, I picked it up while I was over there. I don't say it when I'm with Americans these days, but I'm sure that I would if I was talking with Australians. I certainly did it on Friday!
On Saturday, I drove to the suburbs in the early part of the afternoon and went to my friend Kate and her boyfriend Dan's new apartment. They moved everything in there in the morning, and they were organizing their things. I helped them all afternoon and then I went home and changed for dinner.
I went to Cooper's Hawk with my parents and their friends Patti and Ken (who are just as cool, if not cooler, than people my age). I started out with a spatini, which is (from the menu) cucumber-infused Effen Vodka, coconut water and fresh-squeezed citrus juices.
For an appetizer, we all shared the Thai Chicken Flatbread.
Rotisserie chicken, cashew sauce, mozzarella, roasted cashews and chopped cilantro drizzled with peanut vinaigrette. I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. It was spectacular.
We also ate pretzel bread with whipped butter.
I got the jambalaya for my main dish. I've gotten it before and wished that I had gotten something else, so I'm not sure why I got it again. It's very good, but I don't like big quantities of shrimp or Andouille sausage. They have a huge menu, so I'll make sure to get something different next time.
Patti got the crab cakes,which came with mustard sauce, potatoes and sauteed garlic spinach. Their crab cakes are great. She was nice enough to let me try some.
My mom got her barbecue chicken salad, which is always good. I ate most of the crunchy onion rings.
My dad got sliders. Yum. The only dish I didn't photograph was Ken's! He got chicken and said it was very good.
I also drank wine and champagne, so I was surprised that I was holding up okay today. I had a great time last night, but that's to be expected when you hang out with Patti and Ken!
After working on my chemistry homework today, I joined my parents and the pups at the dog park.
This dog was so cute. I have a cute picture of him playing with Mickey, but I can't get it to load for some reason. Apparently, it's too big. Wahh.
The beautiful and spacious dog park
I sat in the back with the puppers on the way home. We had a little photo shoot. Mickey didn't want to participate, so I had to snap a photo when he wasn't expecting it. Perhaps he runs away from the camera because he knows that I'm going to post his pictures on the internet.
Riggles and Cody
A happy Cody
A happy upright Cody
For dinner, we had a white Hawaiian fish (sorry, can't remember the name and I don't feel like running downstairs and asking my dad when he's also probably asleep)
and a chicken and spinach casserole. Hooray for being creative with leftovers!
I'm going to do more chemistry homework and then I'm putting myself to sleep! Have a great night!
On Rosh Hashanah, we eat a lot of sweet food. After class this afternoon, I came home and helped my mom bake for our guests that were coming over later in the day.
First, we made the kugel. My mom cooked the egg noodles.
She then added all of the necessary mix-ins including cottage cheese, raisins, cinnamon and eggs.
She also added her crunchy corn flake topping (mixed with butter and cinnamon sugar) and then put it all in the oven.
I helped her make a cinnamon apple cake from Cooking Light. She has made it before, and it's always been a hit.
First, we made the cake batter.
We then combined cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
We mixed half of the cinnamon sugar with a ton of chopped apples.
Then, we added to cinnamon sugar apples to the batter.
We mixed well.
We may have each licked a spatula afterwards.
We put the apple batter in a pan and covered it with the rest of the cinnamon sugar before putting it in the oven.
We thought everything was under control, and then Cody found the perfect pile of animal crap in the back yard for play time. He rolled around in it and came back in the house covered in poop/vomit/something gross. It's beyond imagination to me why dogs do this, but I guess it's one of those things that sets us apart from dogs.
Poor Cody had to get a bath...the day after he got groomed.
All clean now!
It's like nothing ever happened...
Our family arrived about an hour and a half later. We started with appetizers such as gefilte fish,
apples and honey
After mingling for a while, we sat down for dinner. We ate brisket,
spinach cheese casserole (made by my grandma, who remembered eggs),
kuggel and also chicken and salad (not pictured).
Dessert was homemade apple cake,
my mom's apple cake
and chocolate coconut cake.
It was a great day for eating! I think I ate my weight in cake batter this afternoon. Geez.
Libby stopped by tonight (and is spending the night here, along with her owner/my brother Jon!).
Rigley also deserves an honorable mention, because she's adorable and was so well behaved tonight. I'd add pictures of Mickey, but he runs away every time I point the camera at him.
Happy, healthy new year!
Here's one thing I know for sure: Skinny Pop is ADDICTING! I went to the grocery store for a few things while I was staying at my brother Jon's over the weekend, and I picked up a bag of it. I finished the whole bag under 24 hours. I might have popcorn poisoning.
The good news is that Skinny Pop isn't all that bad nutrition-wise. I wouldn't recommend eating an entire bag of it every night, but there are many worse addicting things in this world. I'm pretty sure that the only ingredients are popcorn and sun flower seed oil. No preservatives. No crap. It's nothing like that movie popcorn that I buy from time to time (gosh, that stuff is good).
For dinner on Friday night, I picked up broccoli and Lean Cuisine.
Who doesn't love the occasional meal that you can just throw in a microwave?
And who doesn't love Happy Passover plates?
I added broccoli to bulk up the meal. I'm sorry to say that a single serving a Lean Cuisine is not very filling.
Libby kept me company while eating, but she didn't try to eat any of my food.
She was just being cute.
A little while later, my friend Kate stopped by the apartment. We enjoyed some wine and playtime.
We met some friends in the River North area and had a great night out. This was unfortunately the only photo I got. It's a keeper, though! Hi, Andi!
The next day, I enjoyed Back to Nature 100% Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese. I think I am getting hooked on whole grain pasta.
I added leftover broccoli for extra flavor and bulk.
Then, I took a gazillion more pictures of Libby.
I stayed over at Jon's again on Saturday night, and then I brought her back with me on Sunday. She spent a lot of time curled up on my bed. Isn't it cute that she's cuddling with a dog that sort of looks like her?
I love this dog. None of my other dogs curl up on my bed like this, but I love them too!
Jon came to pick her up tonight. I'm a little sad, but I think that I'll see her this weekend anyway. She's a great companion!