Monday, July 14, 2014

My Very Own Pond and More!

I adore monsoon season in southern Arizona!  The drastic temperature drops (usually to the mid-70s F) and even the humidity (which reminds me of the Midwest, where I grew up and lived for during half of my 20s).  What may be surprising is that my favourite part is not only the fact that my yard floods into a half foot or so deep mud puddle, but I actually rather like the mud!  The dogs LOVE running through the water and getting thoroughly filthy.  Owning German shorthaired pointers is not for the faint of heart.  These dogs are anything, but dainty and a romp through the mud pit is absolutely their idea of a good time.  They are dawgs, through and through.

The highlight of my evening was Gatsby repeatedly falling into the water filled holes he'd dug (that I hadn't yet filled in, obviously) as he ran around like a nutter.  He was dragging around a big water logged rope toy, which he kept dropping in the water and frantically digging (and splashing muddy water three feet up the side of the house) in his search.  Just the look on their faces when they first went out and saw all that water.  They lit up like kids on Christmas morning.  As I said, getting muddy and grody is one of their favourite hobbies!  Both dogs dove into the water and ran, chased, wrestled and generally has a fantastic time playing.

What did I do?  Threw on an old green eyelet cotton sundress and jumped into the "pond" myself!  If you can't beat 'em (and you can't beat a muddy GSP), join 'em!  I laughed so hard my gut hurt and the dogs seemed pretty pleased that I kicked water at them, threw sticks into the water for them to fetch (water retrieving in my own backyard!  Hilarious!), and participated in their rambunctious game of so-called tag.

We all slept soundly and the cool temps were a relief.  All in all, a great start to a week which can only get better!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stroke of Luck

It has been one week since my 13 year old German shorthaired pointer Lily had a minor stroke.  Last Tuesday morning was a combination of devastation and extreme worry.  Remarkably she has recovered more quickly than my vet or I could have anticipated.  Day one she couldn't stand up at all, her head was tipped to the right, and she bobbed her head rapidly back & forth, seemingly unable to focus on her surroundings.  By the end of the day she could slowly hobble along with her hind legs positioned in a widened stance and her legs twitching with ataxia.  Weaving like a drunken sailor she fell down regularly and had to be helped up.  She wouldn't and/or couldn't eat due to some paralysis on the right side of her face.

From day two to day three Lily could only eat pureed food and even then didn't want to eat much at all.  By Friday night she was walking around semi-normally with very little ataxia although she still had (and still has) some balance issues which cause her to fall once in a while although she can now stand up on her own every time.  On Saturday morning she was begging for some of the steak and potato burrito I  was eating for breakfast, so I took a chance and fed her a piece of potato which she was able to chew, swallow, and beg for more.  Lily still cannot eat dry kibble and has difficultly picking up chunks of semi-soft food, but her appetite is back and she can chew almost normally.  The lucky girl has been getting home cooked meals of meat and veggies cut into medium sized chunks.  Lucky too are my other two dogs who get a little bit of Lily's special food on top of their kibble; it wouldn't be fair to them to be able to smell her special food and be denied having a little themselves.

Learning about the causes of and after therapy for strokes in canines has been both disheartening and hopeful.  Lily's chances of having a second stroke are fairly high, but on the other hand are lessened due to her speedy recovery.  We hope that she may fully or mostly recover and her prognosis is very good.  She is already leaping up the back steps (granted that is only about 14-16 inches high) and when I pick her up to put her on the bed she leaps upward as soon as I put my arms around her.  Spirited and determined, that's my Lily!
Lola and Lily

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

Minus the psychedelics, in my case.  (Quote is from Timothy Leary.)

For the past several weeks (months?) I have been 99% avoiding social media like Facebook and Twitter which has been extremely beneficial to my mental and emotional well-being.  This has meant lower stress and anxiety, the lack of anxiety and drama, and more time spent in the real world instead of time wasted online.

I've been running three times a week with Gatsby, using the Runtastic app to monitor my exercise and connecting it to MyFitnessPal which I use to keep track of my diet (calories, fat, sugar, sodium, protein, & iron in my case).

Truthfully I am still fairly addicted to Netflix, Hulu+, and AmazonPrime Instant Video but tend to put things on in the background while I'm sending out resumes or doing housework.  My house is MUCH cleaner than it has been in months or perhaps years.  I am still battling the depression aspect of my bipolar disorder but it is far more manageable than before I "tuned out" from social media.

Reading more and writing more have again become a big part of my life, although I need to motivate myself to post more frequently on this blog.  Somewhat to my surprise a number of people have been concerned about my absence from Facebook and my blog could be a vehicle for them to stay connected with what is happening in my life.

The News:

Cosmo has been adopted!  He is my 3 year old purebred English pointer foster and he found the most amazing, perfectly wonderful forever home with a lovely couple, GSP mix sister, and huge yard for him to romp around in.
Fitness is becoming an integral part of my life which is meaningful to someone who has never been particularly athletic or interested in team sports.  My choice of activities are still pretty solitary although I love having my friend to run with sometimes and Gatsby to run with always.  The pure joy he feels when running is a huge motivator for me.  Also the more exercise he gets the less often he commits crimes like digging holes and chewing up my stuff (I currently have no swim suit and no sandals which really sucks when you live in a deserts and temps are already 90-100 F).  For an almost nine year old he can be puppy-like in his destruction (e.g. eating entire rolls of toilet paper) if he gets cabin fever.

Lola recently went through a second bout of demodex mange but after two dips and a new regimen of meds to keep her excessive allergies under control, plus an antibiotic to help prevent skin infections, she is doing wonderfully well!  Her coat is once again a glossy black and although she has some naked, scarred patches from the mange she is back to her happy, sweet, and playful self.  No longer do we have cranky, bratty Lolita... okay, not most of the time.  She's still obnoxiously demanding around mealtimes and STILL tries to con me into feeding her dinner early (like around 2 or 3pm instead of the usual 5pm).  Weasel.
Gatsby is, well, Gatsby.  He seems pretty happy to have Cosmo out of the picture even though they got along just fine while he was here.  Not having another boy dog try to steal my time and affection pleases him to no end.  Now that Lola is feeling better they are playing together again which makes me happy.
One of the neatest things is the custom perfume my talented friend Aziza Poggi created for me, inspired by my favourite flowers: tulips and peonies.  She even let me name it!  I dubbed it "Persian Poem," after one of my favourite poets, Omar Khayyam, and Persia being the place tulips originated (nope, it's not the Netherlands).  I already own several of her perfumes (Black Lotus, Aphrodite's Kiss, and Pandora's Passion) and am addicted to her whipped shea body body which is better than any I've tried from brick & mortar stores or online shops.  I have dry skin and living in a desert in no bueno.  Currently I'm using gardenia scented shea butter but have bought jasmine and the unscented varieties in the past.  Check out her top notch products at the Aziza World Fragrances Etsy shop.

I have several new posts in the works: new recipes, amazing books I've read and brilliant movies & documentaries I've seen recently, lots of food stuff, complaints about halfwit pseudo-archaeologists *cough-ArthurEvans-cough*, and more that I can't properly remember at present.

Hopefully I can manage to keep folks interested and even capture the interest of some new readers!

Until then... auf wiedersehen!
For the love of kale.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Running!

I love it!  Heading out into the 82 degree desert afternoon soon.

Time to get sweaty!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

What I'm Eating

After several outlines and a score of bullet points... a post!

Anyone who is acquainted with me knows that my two biggest passions in life are German shorthaired pointers/Deutsch Kurzhaars and... food.  I love cooking, I love eating, and I love trying anything I haven't tried before.  My so-called "bucket list" mostly involves things like eating exotic wild game, unusual plants, and plenty of offal.

Anyway... here is a sampling of what I've been cooking over the past week or so.  With temperatures between 90 and 100 F already, most of my cooking is done in the morning which is the coolest part of the day.  My toaster oven and rice cooker are indispensable.  The kitchen with its east and south facing windows quickly becomes the hottest room in the house, so the less fire the better when it comes to preparing food.
Breakfast
Scrambled eggs with kale/beets/caramelized onions, maple veggie sausage, 
& spelt bread toast (not pictured).

 Lunch
Spinach/arugula with fresh tomato & onion, white albacore tuna,
*wild raspberry poppyseed dressed with sriracha (of course).
*Sprouts brand Wild Raspberry salad dress, with blue poppyseeds
added by yours truly.

Dinner
#1 - brown basmati rice with green chili chicken sausage,
red bell pepper/zucchini/caramelized onions & sriracha.
#2 - lemon & *Sonoran heat spice blend marinated fresh trout fillet (skin on),
poached in its marinade and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Snack
Banana and coconut sorbet pop by Jolly Llama.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Something New and Fresh

Either this will become my new venue for writing and blogging or somehow I'll transfer my old .com over to this account.  Having never switched a domain name from one Google/Blogger account to another, we'll see what happens.  I wish I could transfer my old content over to this blog... but perhaps it's better to start fresh and archive the old remains.

As I write this, my mind is churning over the idea and I believe that I will choose to begin this blog from a pleasantly blank slate, unhindered by established format or types of topics.

I rather think I like this!


UPDATE:  Domain name (www.garnetscarabin.com) has been successfully transferred to this blog!