Let there be Litey!

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday, January GMM (League meeting) and Ground Hog Day Eve-eve…

Gretchen’s doing MUCH better, and there’s a little more information over on the girls’ blog, including a (hopefully it works) link to their new Facebook page.  Sissy wants more likes, of course.

51Pv9KaFXVL__SL75_As we try to keep little Miss Me Do It under some kind of control, I finally got a chance to use the Litey Leashes I picked up while I was Christmas shopping.  (Sorry for the little photo…)  Gg has pink, and Sissy has yellow.  I can’t speak to the very bad review on Amazon, but I can tell you it’s a nylon-covered rope light leash, so no, I don’t expect it to last a lifetime as the Lupine leashes do.  However, they’ll be great for night walks at the beach house, and since we don’t take long walks after dark anywhere, I hope they’ll last long enough that I’m not disappointed.  They gave off enough light that I didn’t need to juggle a flashlight with two dogs and a rolling trash can Tuesday night.  For our purposes, they’re great.


Another Gg action shot 2009

Thankful Thursday?  Oh, how thankful I am for great vets, from the staff at the after-hours clinic to our new vet, but really, how blessed are we to have Wondervet still on speed-dial and to have the fine folks at Leesburg Eye Care for Animals as a part of our care team?  I’m really excited about Dr. D’s (the new vet in our lives) interest in opthamology, but it really tickled me to hear how thrilled the Eye Care staffer I spoke with was to learn that too. 

Of course, I’m grateful beyond words that the fine veterinary care has us in the difficult position of trying to keep an active, feels-good girl calm and quiet for another week yet.  Remind me of that in a few days when she’s REALLY testing her limits and my patience!

I’m also moved to a very emotional place when I think about how quickly friends shared advice on Facebook and even offered to pill Gg for me.  It was a beautiful mix of old friends, local friends and “virtual” friends, and it was like a big, supportive hug.

Do you still really love your job?  Sure we all have bad days, but I think part of the Eye Care staffing magic is in their ability to assure the passionate, dedicated people they hire never lose that spark.


Bold Rock, New Passion

Some of you know that I love a crisp, not to sweet, not too dry white wine, or anything in the bubbly family… especially Prosecco.  However, I do NOT like beer, ale, lager, etc.  I have found a couple of hard ciders that aren’t bad, but after a stressful, long day at work followed by a League meeting, I listened to a good friend whose hubby is a home-brewer, and ordered the happy hour Bold Rock cider on draft. 

269998dc7a44f24cfc2262567c88d74cNow, I’ve known for a while that central Virginia’s cider industry is on the grow, and I’ve been meaning to make a point to try some.  Wow.  What I had (no, I don’t know the specific variety because I was told I’d like the special so…  I ordered the cider special) was very light-colored, crisp, a little sweet, and just as smooth and not-alcoholic-tasting at all.  I could have had an insane quantity, but fortunately, we were seated just prior to the pre-UVA basketball game rush, and we never saw our server again, not even when we wanted to pay and leave.  (I’m not exaggerating; I all but tripped another server to get told to go to the bar to pay… no, I won’t say where it was because I’ve NEVER had a bad experience there before, and when my friend finally saw our waiter, it seemed pretty obvious there was some sort of wait-staff drama at play…)

Anyway.   You’re getting a photo of Crimson Ridge, just because I like the photo and again, haven’t a clue what I drank, but it was lighter in color than other hard ciders I’ve had.

Now, I want to get to know the VA cider industry, especially those that are local.   Do you like hard cider?

Goodness part 2

I don’t even know where to start, so fasten your seatbelt and hang on.

Firstly, I’ve given another update on the fur-girls’ blog.  The short version is Gg is doing well, had her drain removed and the new vet is awesome.  Stitches come out soon, and we MIGHT be able to ditch the cone of shame then, which would make my little “I’m healed already!” girl very happy.

Then, my personal trainer – Sissy – demanded a run yesterday.  I was trying out my other new shoes – the New Balances – and I can say that while the sole is a little firm for my tastes, it performed admirably on wet pavement, over a mucky gravel road and in a brief pounding on the concrete section of the road.  No blisters, and I do have to say I think the NB lacing system suits me best of all the brands I’ve worn.   Maybe in time, the sole will feel more flexible.

Courtesy of Amy's blog

Courtesy of Amy’s blog

While that’s all good, I do have two more pieces of goodness to share.  First, the always thinking of others Amy sent my Christmas present, since we can’t seem to get together.  Why yes, I do feel quite guilty that I can’t get her baby’s present mailed, much less Christmas goodies a month later.  Gah!  

Isn’t it lovely?  I’d love suggestions.  It’s just shy of 400 yds., and if you’re curious about the details, follow the link above to Amy’s post about the handspun.  Thanks so very much Amy, for the beautiful handspun and for your friendship.

photo.JPGLast but hardly least is my tee from Pack Mom.   I entered a contest last month, and I was one of the lucky winners!  It’s a really pretty, dark red tee.  Why yes, a certain DIVA dog has been feeling left out over the past week and does keep inserting herself into things.  I figured it was somehow fitting here…  You know it says “…Pack…” even if her head does cover the P and the A, right?

The well-timed package arrived on Friday, while I was still reeling from a very late night with Gg and the emergency surgery.  It was wrapped in a similar red, tied with a turquoise ribbon.  I just love that color combination, don’t you?

photo.JPGAnd here’s the back of the tee, without any canine models.  Thanks Pack Mom!  Jenn was even very helpful as I tried to figure out what size I wanted.  Those ladies fitted tees are tricky, aren’t they?

Thanks ladies, and thanks to all of you who have checked in on the wee one, offered advice, etc.  It’s all meant so very much, and I hope that we’ve turned the corner and Gg is on the mend.

Have you gotten any goodies in the mail lately?

Goodness & Light part 1

After all of my stress and worry last week, it’s time for goodness and light.  The funny thing is, there was goodness and light throughout the mess too.

photo.JPGDon’t mind the reflection of the lights in this art.  It’s by Ron Krajewski.  I really like his style.  While we don’t need a custom pet portrait (because the Knight’s aunt did one for us last year), I was drawn to the basset on the wall at the after-hours vet.  I’m always interested by what’s on the walls in a vet’s office.  Sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s professional pet portrait-type photos, and sometimes it commercial, advertisement stuff.  What’s on the walls in your vet’s office?  (I won’t link back to the neato amateur eyeball art in the eye clinic since several of you found it creepy.)

In the midst of the caring for Gretchen week, there was good stuff, and I want to be clear…  I didn’t fail to notice it at the time, I was just busy trying to help Gretchen fight through the pain and beat her nasty dog-bite infection.  We’re on the right road now, so the healing has begun and I can exhale.

Photo courtesy of Zappos

Photo courtesy of Zappos

Over the past week, my new trail shoes arrived.  While they weren’t the first-time-wear-perfect of the Brooks Cascadia, they are fabulous and they are Gore-tex, so they were perfect for a make up for lost time long run/walk/hike with Sissy on Saturday.   The Brooks Ghost GTX held up to everything Sissy and the trying to thaw but not quite muck threw at them.  We ran through a frozen marsh, we huffed up a very steep partially graveled hill, and the Ghosts didn’t even flinch when we leaped across a wee, sloppy stream onto the muddy bank.

They’re pretty too, and I don’t normally care for black athletic shoes.  I keep saying that, but these replace the well-liked but short-lived black Rykas.  And so you know, I did recently run across something that said 300-500 miles is the average lifetime for trail running shoes.  Hrmph.  That’s anywhere from just over six months to a year of use.  I could live with that, but both my Rykas and the Cascadias began to show their age around 5 months.  The Cascadias are still hanging in there in terms of support and comfort, but the soles are quite worn and lack real traction, which is a big part of why I wear trail runners.



The Knight also ordered me a pair of New Balance V770s, but they will be road-only shoes, worn on those shorter days when we stick to the paved/gravel surfaces.  Oddly, he didn’t know anything other than that I wanted a pair of “road runners” and my size.  It’s purely coincidence that they have remarkably similar color schemes.

I used to be really NB-loyal, but then they monkeyed with my favorite, trusted style, and I got heel blisters that couldn’t be cured, and then a sole that was far too firm for my needs.  (Comfort and support, thanks much.)  These soles also seem firm, but we’ll see…  My plan is to prolong the life of all of my shoes by wearing them  as close to exclusively for the purposes they were designed for as is possible.

And for the record, neither shoes actually came from Zappos.  They just had good photos in the right styles and colors.

For those who care, I now have four pairs of shoes in the walk/run/hike rotation.   The beloved Cascadias are holding on and I have a twin pair to replace them when I must.  They’ll go anywhere and hold their own, but given all the water on our longer routes, they’re a warm-weather, it’s okay if my feet get wet shoe.  Then there are the Tevas, which are DEFINITELY a HIKING shoe, and will likely only get worn 1-2 days per week, when we do the rugged mountain part of our trail, and the Ghosts will be my winter sloppy weather shoe.  If the NBs work out, they’ll save a lot of short, street miles on my Cascadias.

There was more goodness and light, but I didn’t realize I had so much to say about my shoes.

The Sun Will Come Out…

photo.JPG… on Monday.  Or at least, that’s when Gretchen’s drain will be removed by the woman I am sure will be her – OUR – new vet.  PHEW.  She uses a Tonopen instead of the more accurate, fancy Tonovet, but we’ll cross that bridge in another month when it’s time for Sissy’s routine, local eye pressure check.

Thank you so much for the power of the paw work, the prayers, white light, good vibes, etc.  Please keep them coming.  As with the dog bites I suffered years ago, Gretchen Greer is really having trouble fighting the infection, so by no means are we marching along the road to recovery.  We’re on it again after yesterday’s detour, but it could still be a long, hard road with an uphill climb.

The DIVA is being… the DIVA.  She senses Gg feels better than she has, and so… she’s being rambunctious.  I’m sure too that going from 20-30 miles a week to what… day #4 with no walkies at all doesn’t help, but there’s snow on the ground, it hasn’t gotten out of the 20s since Monday, and there’s this whole safety issue, not to mention my lack of sleep, a migraine that finally let go…

Hem.  I’d wish you a happy weekend, but personally, I just want to get some sleep, maybe find a way to walk with Sissy without throwing Gg into a tailspin, and find that knitting I started last weekend and the book I was seriously enjoying before I stopped having time to even think.  What’s on your agenda?

Power of the Paw Please?

Double-posting, since the fur-girls and I don’t have a complete overlap of followers/readers…

photo.JPGGretchen is in surgery.  Her wound looked … watchable when I left for work this morning, and was BLACK and spongy when I got home.  We went back to the emergency vet (more praise… different staff, more of an efficient feel tonight, which it turns out, we needed) and before I could smooch her and promise it would all be okay, Gg was in the back, being sedated and prepped for surgery.  Evidently, all we could have done better was not let her lick it AT ALL, so when she does come home, it’s the cone of shame 24/7.

I also have to publicly retract anything not wonderful I’ve said or implied about the biter’s owners.   I got a wild hair on my way home and stopped in.  They’re rescuers of cats and dogs, and truly are upset that their boy hurt my wee one.  They said all the right things and then some.  If only I had listened to you wise folks and talked to them last month!!   I totally misinterpreted their good intentions and efforts to integrate a rescued boy into their home, and … well let’s just say as with most dog aggression problems, to err is HUMAN.

Hopefully, Gretchen won’t pay too high of a price for my ignorance and poor judgment.   Another silver lining… sometimes those neighbors you don’t know are really decent folk just waiting for an introduction, or heck, even a welcome to the neighborhood.

Please don’t worry if you don’t see an update here for a while.  I anticipate a long, late, short night, but for those who are my friends on Facebook, I’ll try to at least update there.  And yes Sissy, you SHOULD have your own Facebook page.  Maybe that will be my distraction tonight.

Thankful Thorsday

I don’t know that I’ve ever been more thankful for a Thorsday.  Firstly, thanks to all for your kind words, moral support and more.  (If you’re lost, scroll down and read yesterday’s post.)  We’re so thankful that Gg’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, and I’m moved to that misty-eyed state that so many of you get it and know that the real damage is yet unknown, because we have no idea how much this wounded Gretchen’s JRT psyche.

I’m especially grateful for folks like Katherine and her Macy, who affirm that Gg is not some weird Jack Russell after all.   She can be timid and fearless, she can push through intense pain to attempt to join Sissy in the back yard (foiled by watchful parents though), and then tremble and appear too weak to even walk to the sofa to be scooped up for comforting, warming cuddles.  Jacks are a complex breed, and it’s what I generally love about them, but right now, I wish they believed in flight instead of FIGHT.

photo.JPGI’m unforgivably past due in thanking the very kind and dear Nancy for my goodies from her coloring contest.   This fleece infinity scarf has been a godsend in this bitter cold.  I’ve worn it for walks, I wore it all dolled up on New Year’s Eve, and it is so easy-care!  Upon further reflection, it might have inspired my craving for winter whites.

I’m also so very blessed to have the Knight, who is an incredible doggy Dadaw.  He’s done a lot of the cold and/or snowy potties with Gg, and is better than I am about taking Sis out the front door too, so she doesn’t feel left out.  He also didn’t bat an eye when I came home from Old Navy with three onesies for Gg, to help protect her wound when it stops draining and she can have a little more freedom.


The dynamic duo, earlier this month

Of course, with it being Thorsday, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sis-ma.  After her heart-breaking howls yesterday when she was gated in our bedroom (as usual) and Gg was crated just outside that door, but within her sight, the Knight coaxed her into the crate first this morning, and both girls were happy to tuck in together for warm snuggles while we’re at work.  She doesn’t like NOT being the center of attention, but she loves Gg even more than being a DIVA.

What are you thankful for today?

Everything happens for a reason…

Regulars know I don’t believe in coincidences.  However, sometimes I struggle with the whys when something bad happens, just like everyone else.  Thankfully this time, the situation unfolded pretty quickly and while I’m not at all grateful that Gretchen got bitten by the neighborhood menace, there were positives.

  1. I learned that we DO still have an emergency vet *IN* the city.  In fact, Wondervet used to put in a few hours there, and the staff is beyond compare.  (Well, okay… they’re as awesome as Wondervet and Vision Vet and her colleagues.)  So for the few local readers, unless you have to drive past the place in Earlysville, when your vet is closed, go to Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital
  2. While chatting with the other human patient in the waiting room, I got a recommendation for another local-ish vet.  I won’t link yet, but upon hearing of the place, I remembered that a friend stumbled upon them because of their extended Saturday hours and it was love at first visit.  While chatting with the ever-present Wondervet, I learned that the owner/managing vet there is an old friend of hers. 
  3. While visiting said place’s website, I learned she has a special interest in opthamology.   Be still my heart.  A vet into eyeballs AND already bonded with our Wondervet?!  I can hardly wait for tomorrow’s call when I’ll basically interview her…
  4. I was reminded how blessed I am to live in a dog-centric world.  Friends re-routed their conversations to support me yesterday.  I take it for granted, but my inlaws didn’t flinch when I called and announced I wasn’t working because Gg was still somewhat sedated and needed me.  Another friend reminded me of one of Gg’s favorite people-food treats when I mentioned on Facebook that baby was being VERY picky and needed to eat ANYTHING she would accept.

I know many of you will have lots of questions, so photos will follow this paragraph.  Proceed with caution; I don’t find them disturbing, but as a firefighter-medic, I routinely returned to a meal after the most disgusting of calls, so I’m sure I am not a good judge of gore and what might bother the general population.

Yeah, the same dog that has been a pill was the offender.   It charged us Monday evening, and I rather literally swung harnessed Gg behind me, to focus on keeping the alpha-DIVA out of harm’s way.  Well…  I forgot that Gg is a Jack Russell TERROR at heart; she somehow slipped her harness and chased the aggressor back into its yard, where I heard that awful sound and knew my wee one was hurt.  Thankfully, she high-tailed it right back to me and the other dog and its packmate stayed in their yard.

photo.JPGRather than try to describe where the wound is, see for yourself if you are so inclined.  It is in a compromising spot, so Gg is on two weeks of “bed rest” (no running, jumping or stairs) and then over the following two weeks, we can increase back to our 20+ mile per week walk-runs.  I’m not sure where we’ll log those miles at this point; because our focus has been on a very sad, sore dog, we haven’t been able to go talk to the aggressor’s owner(s).  Rest assured… we will.  I don’t want or need reimbursement, but I would like to be able to resume our walks next month and feel safe.

photo.JPGThe wound isn’t as pretty as it was Monday night at the vet’s.  The Knight feels it is bruising from where the beast’s jaw made contact but didn’t break the skin.  Because I know what internal bleeding feels like, I tend to agree with him, but we’re keeping a close eye on her.  She’s also on antibiotics, an anti-inflamatory drug and a heavy painkiller. 

I’m just grateful it wasn’t anything worse.  Of course, the jury is still out on what this has done to Gg’s pre-existing problem with any dog other than Sissy…  I have a consult with a trainer on Saturday.  It will be a month before we can even consider “school” but I figure it could take that long to find the right set-up.

Posting will be irregular as I juggle an already hectic schedule with intensive care of a very special patient.


Are you off today?   I know plenty of people who are celebrating the Presidential Inauguration and Martin Luther King Day, and some are also doing the Day of Service, but for me, it’s a regular ol’ Monday, with the added complications of no mail, no bank, etc.

I love to bake.  The Knight is the COOK in our house, but I am also the soup fanatic.  While I aspire to try and perfect more soups – I use that term to include stews, bisques and any other variety, okay? – in the meantime, I’ve found some truly remarkable pre-packaged products.

121270Campbell’s has moved uptown.  Okay, only a few cousins…  there’s still a strong, red and white canned presence on your grocer’s shelves.  Meet Campbell’s Gourmet Bisques.  I’m head over heels for the Thai Tomato Coconut.  I mean…  I think I could eat it every day, and that’s coming from a woman who only repeats water over and over and otherwise craves variety in her diet.

I promise you could pour four boxes of this into your fine china tureen and no one would ever guess you hadn’t made it yourself… unless your friends and family know you’re sneaky like that.  My only complaint is that I don’t have any more of this in the pantry.

Oh – and don’t let the Thai part scare you; it’s not spicy.  You get the Thai “feel”, but there’s nothing close to native Thai, burn a hole in your tongue spiciness in there.  Heck, I’m thinking that in a pinch, the coconut milk in my pantry could meet the traditional red & white canned tomato soup and…  it wouldn’t be the same, but it would be tasty, especially with a grilled cheese sammy.

tumblr_m7s6k6JXKV1rcqw8go1_250Campbell’s Go is another not-Knight-friendly line of soups.  (The man did eat rattlesnake stew in Sedona, but from his own kitchen, he wants incredibly boring, traditional foods.)  However, I’ve also already tried the Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas and whoa is it awesome!   Unlike the flavorful but tame Thai Tomato Coconut Bisque, this soup bites back.   It’s definitely a stand-alone, don’t need no stinkin’ partner on the plate soup.   I’d say unless you know you have a low tolerance for spicy food, give it a try.  It’s not extreme, but I’m not comfortable saying everyone will find it palatable.

I have at least one other variety of each soup type in my pantry.  They’re great for nights the Knight is busy being the fire chief.  And to be fair, the bisque – the whole box, not a single serving as described on said box – more than filled me up on its own too.

Are you a soup fan?  Are you a soup maker?  Feel free to share your favorites, including recipes!

White out?

March 2012 002

March 2012 dusting… too much like what we’ve gotten this winter

Our snow was a non-event in parts of our area, but we were lucky to get a couple of wet inches yesterday evening.   Maybe it’s because we can’t seem to get a decent snowfall even when it is forecasted, but I’m craving winter white in my wardrobe, and have almost none.

Problem is, I can’t find anything I want to purchase.  I’d like an aran-style, tunic-length sweater that isn’t too heavy.   I’m even thinking I might change my mind – AGAIN – and go shopping for a winter white formal for the gala, but I don’t really know what I want, so that makes it hard to shop!

I’ve seen a few articles/ads for white this winter, but again… nothing I care to incorporate into my wardrobe.  I don’t want white jeans.  I don’t want a white coat/jacket.  I’m open to a white dress, but haven’t seen anything that works for me.

Where do you weigh in on white this winter?