Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dog People

My dogs spend quite a bit of time in my front yard when the weather is fair as it 
has been lately.  Living near several public places, (the historical society, the 1912 
Center, the high school), ensures a good amount of foot traffic past my house and 
both Nosey and Seamus have their regulars - friends and admirers who stop to see 
them, pet them, give them treats and throw the frisbee.  Occasionally some cold 
hearted person will walk by without even a glance at their sweet and friendly faces, 
but that doesn’t happen very often.

And then some times you get someone like today. A guy stops, pets them, talks to
 them for a minute and then - WAVES to them and says "b’bye".  Wow.  What a great 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dog Advice on Metafilter

I’ve had a couple of promising second interviews and in hopes of starting full time work 
soon, I asked the following on Metafilter:

“Dog advice needed - How to keep my dogs happy while I'm at work?”

I’ve gotten some great responses including this one:

Other things - get a big Kong for each of them and fill it with treats in the morning. Hide 
treats around the house. Leave the TV on. Get someone to check in on them during the 
day. Hire a walker. If your house is set up that way, some folks swear by a doggie door 
so they can go in and out at leisure.

Sometimes I call home home and talk to my dogs when the answering machine picks 
up. I have no idea if they listen or not, but it makes me feel better (and kind of weird, 
but whatever.)

Read all the responses here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boycotting Urban Outfitters

I like Urban Outfitters but their propensity for copying
the designs of independent artists is just plain greedy.

Why not buy from the artist, instead of creating knock-
offs?  Here's their latest copy and for now, I've decided
not to shop there anymore.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Broken Ankle: Six Months Later

This week marks the six month anniversary of my ankle fracture: 
a trimalleolar fracture that resulted in surgery and metal plates and 
screws being put in my ankle.

If you came across my blog by searching for “broken ankle” because you have just 
experienced this yourself, I’d first like to send you warm and empathetic thoughts.  It 
hurts like hell, doesn’t it?  And it’s a bit traumatic.  But believe me when I say that things 
will get better.

Here’s my first post about my break, then there’s one here and here and here is the 
three month update.

Six months later I am walking pretty well.  I have a slight limp, but my guess is that if you 
do the physical therapy you won’t have a limp at six months.  I didn’t have medical 
insurance, so couldn’t get the physical therapy.  My limp is lessening though so I hope in 
another month or two it will be gone completely.

I used a cane from month four-five.  I don’t use it much now but I keep it around for certain 
things like shopping at the mall with my daughter or anything else when I am going to be 
doing lots of walking on a hard surface.  I’d say I am without it 95% of the time

I still have ankle pain every day - though it is MUCH, much less than the first two months.
My ankle still swells every day.  I’m not sure when that will end.  Some days it is bad enough 
that I put ice on it,  some days it isn’t that bad. My right ankle (the broken one) is still bigger 
than my left ankle.  (See photo above) Maybe it will always be this way.

If you have friends and family to help you, things will be easier for you.  (I couldn’t have 
made it without my 18 year old daughter - Thanks Del! And my dogs were my constant 
companions - Thanks Nosey and Seamus!) 

 If you don’t have much support I’d advise surrounding yourself with your favorite books 
or watching seasons of your favorite tv shows on Netflix.  During my non-weight bearing 
time I watched all of PBS’ Bleak House, Battlestar Gallatica and the first four seasons of 
Rescue Me.  I also read lots of Henning Mankill and Jasper Fforde.

The time I spent with Esther Summerson, WIlliam Adama, Tommy Gavin, Thursday Next and 
Kurt Wallander saved me from a slow death by boredom.

So things do get better.  Keep the faith.  The first three months are the hardest but then things 
look up considerably.  Warm wishes going out to you for an easy recuperation.

Now... if I could just find a job...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Employment Issues on Metafilter

ASKED: How do I prioritize all the tasks that come with being unemployed, 
from getting help to finding a job?

I liked this kindhearted answer:
“Have a plan. Stick to the plan. Keep yourself healthy. Keep perspective. Be 
gentle on yourself and realise that you WILL get a new job. It WILL be a bit 
rough in the meantime. There's a lot you can do to make it LESS rough.

ASKED: “Should I apply for a temp agency to kickstart my stalled career??” 

I found this answer by “Patheral” interesting:

“San Francisco is big enough that you can sign up for several temp agencies 
and get enough work (if you're skilled enough) to make a good living and get 
the experience you need and desire. I did this for many many years in a 
different city/state but for different reasons. Don't just go with one temp 
agency, sign up with two or three - I had my resume in at five and I hardly 
ever wanted for work. Yes, some weeks I made a little above minimum wage 
but others I made a lot more than minimum wage - that was one of the things 
I liked about working temp... that and the variety of work places.” 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Laser Monks No More

A few years I wrote about a monastery company called Laser Monks, that sold 
printer cartridges to fund their monastery and other nonprofit entities.
I raved about them, citing their “900 year tradition of community service 
and outreach.” 

 I  have been ordering from them for years now but my last order, made March 
29th, never came.  I tried to log into their website but it was down for repair - and 
still is.  I finally found a number to call (their other number had been disconnected) 
and received a call back this morning from 303-468-0962, the number of Laser 
Monks Distributors.  He informed me that Laser Monks has liquidated and the only 
way to get my money back is to dispute the charges on my credit card, which I have 

Apparently there are many, many people who had their money taken, and never 
received their orders.

Not what I expected from monks. But I guess being a monk-owned business doesn't
give one sanctuary from the recession.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Shortbread

I set out to make Ina Garten’s shortbread but had no white flour.  
So I substituted whole wheat flour.  To compensate for the heavier 
flour I double sifted it and changed it from 3 1/2 cups to 3 1/4 cups.  
It was still quite heavy and dense so I added a splash of lowfat milk 
and then everything came together nicely.  It took the whole 25 
minutes to cook them and they turned out  scumptiously well.  
Here’s the recipe - my changes are in italics.

Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies (adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (I used colored sugar for the top)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, double sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, 
or use a regular hand mixer, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar 
until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them 
to the butter-and-sugar mixture.

4. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

5. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. 
Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and 
cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an un-
greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Alternately, roll the dough 
into a long, 2-inch cylinder before refrigerating. Once chilled, slice the 
cylinder into 1/4-inch circles. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking 
sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow 
to cool to room temperature. Makes 20-30 cookies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bad News for Fitzgerald Fans

Daisy Buchanan’s house has been demolished!

Jay Gatsby seems as shocked as I am.

The owners demolished "Land's End" , which had fallen into
disrepair, because they wanted to build five luxury homes to 
be sold there for 10 million each.

I find this both sad and nauseating.

See the demolished view, if you have the heart, here.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Seamus and Nosey Flynn Wait for Spring

Look! The cold, white ground is gone,
The grey still comes and goes
But sun comes near as often now.
We remember the road to the green fields,
We remember the smell of the light dew 
As the ball goes sailing over the grass,
The flight of the birds as we come near
The sound of the bees, the sight of the stream,
And running down the trail through the big, tall trees.
Wait for us green fields
We are coming.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday Dinner

This  is what I made for dinner last night.  The
chicken was spicy and yummy!  I paired it with
an amazing Silverlake Riesling.  Photo and
recipe courtesy of On the Woodside .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making an Apron

Last week I made my daughter an apron for St. Patrick’s Day.  When 
she was young I made her a St. Patty’s dress every year but gave 
that up once she hit fifth grade.  

I found a cute Cynthia Rowley apron that was easy to duplicate without 
a pattern.

I had forgotten how much I dislike JoAnn’s fabrics.  There is their stingy 
fabric cutting as well as the way they treat their customers .

and now a new reason: they plaster their fabrics with self ads - a waste of 
good fabric!  I dislike having to pay for fabric that they have blazoned with 
their logo.

But it is the only fabric store in my town so ... I bought 
the fabric and some trim and made the apron in one night.

It turned out pretty well!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Job Hunting in the Northwest

Here are a few sites with job listings for the Northwest - specifically, jobs in Washington, 
Oregon and California.  Craigslist is great, of course, but not all employers post their jobs 
there.  If you are looking for a job in more than one area you can use Site Mash .  It is 
supposed to list entries for craigslists nationwide though it is not 100% complete.  You 
enter the type of job you want into the blank, e.g. writer, and then it will pull listings from 
all (or most) Craigslists.

One of the best sites for Seattle jobs is the Kings County job site  and if you are looking 
throughout Washington you can find state listings here

Here’s the City of Portland’s job listings .  The State of Oregon lists their openings here
and you can also check out Multnomah County’s listings.

Of Oregon, Washington and California, California has the most cumbersome job site.  Many 
of the jobs listed are only available to people who have already taken an exam in that job’s 
category.  But if you want to give it a try, it’s located here .  

This site  lists many California government entities and also lists sites for many cities and 
counties in California.

I really don’t need more job hunting competition but I can’t help but feel empathy for those 
of you who are, like me,  out there looking for work and not finding it.  Best of luck to you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snoqualmie Pass

My daughter is going to Emerald City ComicCon in Seattle this 
weekend.  Captain Kirk, Data, Cmmdr. Riker and the Steward of 
Gondor are all going to be there.

It’s a bad weekend for driving though.  We’ve had a few feet of 
snow this week. Today it was 38 degrees and some of the huge
mounds of snow melted away.  But to get to Seattle from Moscow 
one has to drive over Snoqualmie Pass.

This website by the Washington State Dept of Transportation
has webcams stationed along the trickier portions of Highway 90.
It updates them every 6 minutes. Thanks Washington!  I’ll probably 
be checking it all weekend.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ankle Fracture: 12 weeks later

I’m at the three month point since my ankle fracture.  This week I am out of 
the Airboot an into an ankle brace.  I can walk ar a slow pace in the ankle 
brace with a cane but it is painful.  I’m still using the Airboot if I go outside, 
e.g. to pick up my daughter from work, but that is because of the 2-3 feet 
of snow outside.  Once the snow melts, I’ll be able to use the ankle brace 
and cane to get around everywhere.

The problem with the ankle brace 

is that, though it is supposed to fit 

inside your shoe, it actually only fits 

inside certain types of shoes.  I have 

one pair I can wear with the brace

 - a running shoe by Merrell, not 

appropriate for snowy weather.  I 

need to buy another pair of shoes.

So this is progress. Slow, but still, moving in the right direction.  I found an
informative guide to ankle fractures online called So You Fractured Your Foot: 
Secrets to Hasten the Healing.  Wish I had found it earlier.

Other than my ankle, my biggest problem right now is the medical bills, which 
I’ll write about some other day.  But I highly recommend that if you live
within a days drive from the Canadian border, you head north when you have
a traumatic injury.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Raymond Carver Bio

I recently read Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life by Carol Sklenicka.  
Actually, it was about six weeks ago but I have hesitated to write 
about it.  I am a long time Carver fan and I immensely enjoyed the 
first 4/5s of this book, but I can honestly say, I wish I hadn’t read it.  

I was shocked at how he treated his wife, MaryAnn Burk, and his
children in his will, leaving everything but a few thousand dollars, 
including the rights to everything he wrote during the 20+ years he 
lived and was supported by Maryann, to his new wife Tess 
Gallagher, who later tried to cheat his children out of money coming 
to them from a possible movie project.

The biography is very well written and nothing can change the 
writing skills of Raymond Carver, but my opinion of him has changed
since finishing the book and I wish I hadn’t read it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teenage Valentine

It’s tough buying a valentine’s gift for an 18 year old girl.  Usually I just get 
some sort of bakery treats for breakfast and serve them on our special 
vintage red glass dishes, which we use only on special occasions.

This year, since my daughter has been doing so much for me during my 
recuperation, I wanted to do something a little more special.  

I found the lovely shamrock necklace pictured below at Emerson Made and 
got that for her.  I didn’t really like the muslin pouch the necklace came in so 
I made one of my own using vintage barkcloth with a pink satiny lining.  I 
couldn’t make it upstairs to my sewing machine so did the whole thing by 
hand (which I really enjoyed).

I put the pouch over an I Love You flyer with tear off’s so she can take an
I Love You with her if she ever needs a little extra affection.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Tube

I finally opened a You Tube account and loaded some of the videos
I made over the past year.  

My first one was a video that a group of friends made for our
friend Susannah Conway, who we all met through an internet class:
Unravelling.  It was a great collaborative effort and turned out really well.

Then I made this one for my friend Barbara Ruiz in Madrid entitled Ella 
Sueña Con Su Cumpleaños  (She dreams of Her Birthday).  I incorporated 
her artwork and one of her favorite things: converse shoes.    

 I needed something with a dog in a car for a flickr group and came up
with this video of Seamus, Nosey and I (though Nosey avoided the camera) 
with a great song by Imelda May called Johnny’s Got a Boom Boom.

And this one is a sort of slide show of my trip to Coleman in Alberta, Canada 
to meet two of my fellow Unravelling friends - Sylvia and Tina.

I have a few others to upload and hope that having this account will motivate 
me to make a few more.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Benadryl for Dogs


We had a scary evening with our pup Seamus on Monday. With no warning,
his face started to swell up - first around the eyes, then his jowls and forehead
and after about ten minutes his front legs started to swell. It was 11:30 pm, and
I am still unable to drive due to ankle issues, so my daughter called her boyfriend
who took her to but Benadryl.

I did some rushed research on dogs + allergies that night (here and here for example)
and benadryl is a pretty safe bet if you use it correctly. First of all - use tablets, not
liquid. Correct dosage is also important. Most sites recommend 1 mg per dog pound.
The capsules come in 25 mg so we gave Seamus two (he weighs about 60 pounds).

Within an hour of taking the benadryl his swelling started to go down. Tuesday
all of the swelling was gone except for a little around his neck and Wednesday
he was completely back to normal.

We don't know what happened exactly - allergies? spider bite? But from now on
I will make sure to keep Benadryl on hand at home.  Of course, if your dog has any
health conditions or is on any other medication, check with your vet before giving

Monday, January 17, 2011

Broken Ankle Questions

Asked on Metafilter:

Should I have the rod and screws removed now that my leg is healed?
Here's the problem-- If I keep my foot down (like sitting at my desk) for more 
than about 20 minutes the blood starts to pool in my foot. Nasty. ...... So, 
hive mind, especially those with medical knowledge and/or prior experience 
with broken legs, help! Keep my foot from being swollen and numb!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Seven weeks after my fall and subsequent ankle surgery, things are slowly
healing. I have another scar just like this one on the other side.

After six weeks of being "non-weight bearing", I have slowly begun
putting a little weight on my injured foot, while wearing "the Boot", my
removable cast.  It's a slow process, and very awkward, but it feels good
to be making progress.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hop, Skip and a Jump

My words for 2011 are : Hop, skip and a jump.

Originally, I considered this phrase literally - I’ve been hopping about on one ankle for five 
weeks now and hope to heal to the point where I am skipping and jumping later in the year. 
I am determined not to take the use of both legs for granted ever again.

But a hop, skip and a jump also resonates for me figuratively. (For my foreign friends - The 
phrase originated in the 1700s from a game using these movements, but came to mean a 
short distance. For example “It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from my house to Main Street”.)

I’m hoping that it is just a hop, skip and a jump from my current position (unemployed, broken 
ankle) to my new and improved position (employed in a job I love, mobile). The thought of 
positive changes being just a hop, skip and a jump away makes me very happy.

Tune: Bonnie Mulligan, performed here by the Sharon Shannon Band.
Photos: Most were found in The Commons, a few are by the great photographer Philippe Halsman

Monday, January 3, 2011

Word for the New Year

My friend Susannah Conway has a lovely tradition of choosing a word 
for the New Year, rather than a resolution.

Last year, I chose three:  Movement (both physical movement and movement 
from the stuck places in my life),  Comradery and Pulchritude (hence the 
photo above).

A few friends have already chosen their words: Grow, Love, Nurture.

I haven’t chosen my word or words for 2011 yet.  I want to think about it 
a little more. But when I do I will post it here.