Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Secret stash

Crazy lady has a fondness for frogs. She has done zero, zippo, nada work this month because of the pneumonia. Every hour of wakefulness has resulted in at least 6 hours of nap time. She is no fun, but slowly feeling better. This morning, she was more alert than usual, and was able to catch-up on her bills. The tax collector waits for no one... anyhow, she noticed that some of her stuffed frogs were missing from her desk. After a brief search, she found them in my secret stash...
She scowled and said "just keep them safe, Sugar-pie. It's nap time for mama."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Go Erika!

Crazy lady's niece from California (the wonderful Princess Erika) is a fantastic gymnast. Here she is, practicing her new floor routine for local and national competitions:
video

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wino Tomato Sauce

Sunday was a snow day. I spent most of the day glaring at crazy lady and staring at the snowflakes. Crazy lady cooked. She worked her way through graduate school as a line cook (one of many, many jobs), and finds that making soups and sauces helps the healing process. She made a creamy spinach soup and her famous "wino" sauce. Here's the recipe for the sauce:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion (or 2 small), chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, wacked with a knife or minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground fennel
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup good red wine
3 cups undrained canned tomatoes (28-ounce can)
pinch red pepper flakes

(1) Add the oil, onions, garlic at a low heat.
(2) Add the salt & pepper flakes & dry herbs. Don't forget the fennel! The fennel makes the sauce taste like meat. Seriously. Veggies always complained that she slipped them a meat sauce whenever she served it in lasagna or penne.
(3) When the onions start to "pop" because most of their liquid has reduced, add the wine.
The trick is to use a full, robust red wine. The onions & garlic & herbs should turn a deep, soupy purple, after you add the wine. Of course, crazy lady always add more than 1/3 cup...
(4) Let the liquid reduce, about half the original size. Inhale the fumes. Mmmm...wino...
(5) Add the canned tomatoes, including liquid.
(6) Let it gently bubble for 30-60 minutes.
(7) Use your hand mixer to liquify the sauce. Potato mashers and blenders work well, too. Make it as creamy or lumpy as you like.
That's it! Crazy lady quadrupled the batch, to freeze the sauce for a later day.
You don't have to add extra oil when you double (or triple or quadruple) the recipe. The onions & garlic soften great, if you keep the heat down low and the pot's top slightly ajar to trap moisture. It's a trick she learned from the fine folks at Moosewood Restaurant.

One last money shot:
Enjoy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Feed a hungry child

Donate a free meal by clicking here. It doesn't cost you any money, and only takes 1 click on the "donate a meal" button.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Too Gay?


Crazy lady finally woke-up this morning WITHOUT A FEVER. She's still exhausted and sleeping all day & night, but no fever means that there is upcoming relief from the infections-that-won't-go-away. She received the above video as a Friday pick-me-up, and wanted to share...enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Story time

Crazy lady is still sick, and spends most of her days sleeping. The Princess and her mom came over today, to play with jewels and read some books. I ate a special snack, watched them play-- then stole ALL of the stuffed animals from the room, when they weren't looking! It was an excellent, devious day.

Lunch

From foster mamma Judy this morning:
video

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Treating colds

Tinderbell's mom Judy W sent crazy lady the following words-of-wisdom, to help with her cold. Judy W said, "I got the above insights after surviving an acute upper respiratory viral infection while living in Maryland last winter." I thought her advice was great (especially the positive visualization, hint, hint) and wanted to share...

1. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE, even if they are healthy. Healthy people carry germs/bacteria. But they are healthy b/c their immune system is strong and can suppress the bacteria/virus. Whereas yours is weak and healthy people's germs/bacteria can jump on you and exert their detrimental effect b/c your immune system is already weak and cannot soldier/buffer the attack.

2. You must consume extra protein (meat, eggs). They help rebuilt the system that is being digested by the cold. I think I ate 6 eggs in one meal or the equivalent of 4 chicken thighs. MEAT/PROTEIN---I cannot stress the importance of these substances! Your appetite might be down, but that is when you need to consume meat/protein/quality food the most!!

3. Rest. When you sleep, your body can re-focus all its energy on fighting the cold.

4. I hope you have been swallowing vitamin C and vitamin B6 pills. They really help too. Make sure in to increase your dosage.

5. Have a friend walk Sugar. Though I am in the Carribeans right now, I understand (well, maybe not) how cold it can be in Boston. I visited Boston but lived in NYC/up state NY/Maryland during cold seasons. It seems like every time I go out in the cold, my cold worsens. But If you must walk Sugar yourself, cover all parts of your body except your eyes.

6. There will be a time when you seem to be getting better, but that is not an excuse to think you are healthy again. Your body is still very suspectible to another infection. (Speaking from personal experience)...continue exercising caution and the above advice.

7. Cold medication can help to some extend, but they do not really cure your cold. You need to boost your innate body's immune system--eating, resting, and yes, laughing. When one laughs (eg. talk on the phone) or think pleasant thoughts (eg. your adorable niece), one's body releases a hormone that helps with recovery--- cannot think of the precise name right now. Or just to think about the fun things you get to do when your cold is away--- shopping, socializing with friends, traveling, and dining out, etc.

8. Keep telling yourself that you will get well and you will see an improvement in your health.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Below freezing

It was below freezing most of today. Crazy lady dressed me in my new, bright pink hoodie. What do you think?
We took a stroll around the park, and I chased some balls.
It was too cold to spend a lot of time at the park, so we walked home after 10 minutes. Crazy lady is feeling better, and said the freezing temperatures brought down her fever. She also said "the drugs have definitely kicked in, which makes breathing easier." She hopes to resume her writing schedule by the end of this week. Yeah! A happy crazy lady is a fun-loving dog.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snuggle Sunday

Giant snow flakes slammed the windows, but quickly melted on the ground today. What a waste! Crazy lady wants to wait until later this week, when we expect inches & inches of snow to hit the Boston area on Friday. So, we had bathroom breaks and snuggle time all day today.
We also did some "low impact playing" since crazy lady can't move without coughing, puking and falling down.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Princess and the Lung

Crazy lady is SICK. She is convinced that she's knocking on death's door, but I think she's being overly dramatic. Geez, it's just a cold with a teeny, tiny lung infection. Okay, so what if the emergency room docs called it pneumonia? She still needs to toughen up! She has become best friends with the couch, ginger ale and penicillin. She was still able to register for her Haar-vaard classes on Wednesday; and watch the Princess for a couple of hours on Friday. Here's the Princess' self-portrait at her preschool:
And, a very special drawing:
And, of course, the Princess' beautiful smile:
Tomorrow is a snow day. Woo hoo! I don't care if crazy lady can barely walk outside without puking-- we are investigating the wonderful white blanket scheduled to hit Boston tomorrow morning. I will force her to take pictures of my very first snow experience. She can hallucinate, later.

Writers and drama. Does it ever end?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cambridge!

Yes, we are back in Cambridge! Zero incidents with United, but it was fun to watch crazy lady argue with the cabbies because they refused to take us home. They didn't want me to "damage" (their words) their precious Boston cabs. No comment. Crazy lady is pretty sick (she thinks she has the flu); but she wanted to make sure my anxious fans knew we arrived safely. Ah yes, I'm back on my ledge!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

Crazy lady received numerous emails, asking "where's the complete Thanksgiving meal?" One person even said, "Don't get me wrong-- Turkey covered in turkey bacon is paradise, but we want to see the entire show!" So, here it is...Yes, that's a giant mound of mashed potatoes for Lee & Alex. The veggie option (giant stuffed mushrooms) is behind the mashies, somewhere. There was a humongous salad, lost in the crowd of carbs and (later) desserts. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Anxious Separation

Crazy lady is a "cat person." She lives an independent and solitary life, filled with writing, books and travel. Cats are independent and solitary creatures, who demand affection on their own terms. She feels a strange kinship with those evil tormentors (oops, sorry, CATS). She never liked dogs. Crazy lady used to believe that dogs were needy and stupid. Then, she inherited Abby, a pit & boxer mutt.
The first day crazy lady brought Abby home, the mutt started to bleed all over the furniture, carpet and newly cleaned hardwood floors. Crazy lady flipped out and thought Abby was dying. She took the dog to the emergency room, where she discovered that Abby was "in heat." Did you know that dogs get periods? Crazy lady was clueless. The web did not exist, back then. The vet was very nice about the "emergency visit" and didn't charge crazy lady full price. Instead, the vet took the time to explain doggy menstrual pads and cycles. She also gave crazy lady a couple of books written by Monks. They explained how to raise puppies, and the general characteristics of dogs. Finally, she put crazy lady in touch with a local dog training organization, so she could learn the importance of obedience and maintaining a pack hierarchy in the household. Crazy lady's dog education started the evening Abby was rushed to the emergency room.

That same evening started something else-- whispers from loving friends, who said "give her up." They insisted that crazy lady was insane for keeping Abby. Her kind friends were worried about the stress of having a dog on crazy lady's already hectic life and limited income. Back then, her day job was working for non profits, and her night job was writing $50 stories for horror magazines. Her friends kept telling her, over and over, "You don't owe Danny. He's dead. He would understand, if you gave Abby to a better home."
Crazy lady ignored her caring and concerned friends. Hip dyplasia diagnosed at an early age? Pain management programs for dogs? Acupuncture? $8000 for hip replacement surgery? Zero understanding of the word "no?" A midnight trip to the emergency room because Abby bit her eye? The "give her up" whispers escalated, but crazy lady was stubborn and falling in love. Abby had floppy ears, a wonderful disposition, and a full "body shake"whenever crazy lady walked into the room. Unconditional love was rare, and Abby provided her with endless devotion. So what if she had very little money? Abby had wormed her way into crazy lady's heart.

Then, total destruction of her house-- and crazy lady paused.
Crazy lady clearly remembers the day it happened. She was tired, depressed and worried. She had to work late, and Abby was home alone for too long. The mutt was already showing signs of stress-- drinking too much water, destroying anything left on the counters, eating entire tennis balls, and pulling the sheets off the bed. The Monk books said Abby had separation anxiety, and they gave crazy lady some tips: crate Abby during the day, give her more toys, turn on the radio for background noise. The books warned crazy lady to "never be angry at the dog. Too much time would have passed, and they don't know what they did wrong."

The doggy books never explained how to handle the shock of seeing thousands of pages ripped from novels and tossed all over the floor. Hundreds of books, bought by crazy lady with hard earned money since she was 12 years old, were demolished. First edition Anne of Green Gables, her very own short stories published in Fantasy magazine, and her collection of Freud's letters were completely destroyed. Crazy lady was swimming in shredded book bindings when she walked through the door that fateful evening. She looked towards the living room, and saw her furniture ripped, with the stuffing tossed on the floor. The teak chairs were chewed to pieces, and the computer cables were pulled from the carpet.
Crazy lady sat in the hallway and cried. She called a close friend, sobbing, and asked, "do you want a dog? I don't know what to do." She remembers her friend's response:

"You want real problems? I'm pregnant with twins, HIV positive, my husband can't keep a job, my mother is still clinically insane and locked up, and I can't see my ankles. Stop bitching, clean your house, and kiss your damn dog."

Crazy lady tried to argue. "But I'm not a SAINT--"

"Shut up," said her friend. "You convinced us that you wanted that dog, even after we begged you to give her up. That dog loves you. You are that dog's world. You don't give children back because they have problems. You figure it out, and find a solution that works. You have friends and family that will help you. Just ask."

"Whatever."

"Don't be an idiot. What's the damn dog doing, right now?"

"Licking my face."

"Ugh, I can't deal with you, right now. Call me when you have REAL problems!"

Crazy lady hung up the phone. Abby was licking the tears from crazy lady's face and shaking her butt. Crazy lady took her friend's advice and gave Abby a hug & kiss. She got off the floor, cleaned the house, then bought yards & yards of fabric to cover her book shelves and furniture. She hired a friend to walk Abby twice a day; and her parents would visit, to play with Abby and keep her company if crazy lady had to work late. Later, when she could afford it, she started Abby in doggy day care. And, as Abby grew older, crazy lady was able to find a job that let her work from home.

Abby died in January. It was a challenging 14 years for both of them, but crazy lady would never have changed the time she had with Abby. I'm quieter, more of a loner, and more obedient than Abby. But when I greet crazy lady with a "full body wiggle" hello, she laughs. She's still a cat person, but Abby's joy taught crazy lady to love dogs. Because of that mutt, crazy lady loves and accepts me for the dog I am. Thank you, silly dog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Doggy Household Adventures...Bandit's Back!

Seven dogs in the doggy household last night-- including a special surprise...
Bandit! He's the dude on your right, next to my former squeeze Otis. His leg is fixed, and he loves life. Here he is, playing tug with Popeye.
The folks who adopted Bandit returned him on Friday. They didn't want him anymore, but that's okay. They are fools. I LOVE Bandit. I even dumped Otis for this new man in my life! He's gorgeous, studly and a tease. Otis will always have a special place in my heart, but Bandit is my new love. Ah, love...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doggy Household

Day 1
We arrived at the doggy household to find Phoebe, Boomer and Popeye bark a greeting. Wow, I can hear them through the window! I hope they don't break the glass. Crazy lady said something about unloading the car later-- I think she was worried about the window, too-- and took me inside. It was total, complete mayhem. She herded everyone to the back yard, since frantic greetings are always accompanied by the urgent desire to pee.
After the wonderful greeting and pee break, crazy lady unloaded the car and read the instructions. Phoebe and I settled in for a nap, in front of the window. Popeye crawled under the desk, to get a better look at crazy lady. Boomer? He wouldn't leave crazy lady alone! He kept following her around, licking her legs, pawing her butt, demanding his belly rubbed. He finally fell asleep in his crate, and crazy lady started to work.
Three hours later, Boomer woke-up and walked into the hallway. He stopped and peered at crazy lady. His hair was sticking up, and he growled and barked at her! Crazy lady looked away, greeted him, then gave him tripe. Food made Boomer happy. Crazy lady? She kept mumbling, "Just like a man. They have a good time. Then, they wake-up with a 'what the hell are you doing here?' attitude. Geez."
Day 2
Crazy lady is all about schedules. Time alloted for feed, bathroom, play and Popeye diaper changes. She set her alarm, to keep us on a schedule. Sometimes it works, and other times we rebel. Crazy lady can try, but you "can't keep a good dog down."

Ha, ha! I couldn't resist a corny pun! So, crazy lady is learning to take care of a paralyzed dog. Judy left detailed instructions on her web site, and showed crazy lady some tips & tricks in the household. Crazy lady has some experience with cats and humans, but dogs are a different beast (I could have told her that). Popeye is extremely patient with crazy lady. He just sits & watches her fumble with the diapers, and then poops when she finishes putting on his pants! Boomer (of course) was sitting next to crazy lady during the diaper change-- and I could swear he was laughing at her expression! Crazy lady laughed, too. She said, "Babies do this all the time. At least Popeye didn't pee on me!"
Crazy lady has learned to let Popeye play on the grass without his pants, before diaper changes. She finds it helps the "poo situation." She is also teaching Popeye "no" and "leave it." He's a bit of a bugger. Serious little man attitude. He likes his food, he likes his toys, and he likes his play time. NO ONE will get in his way. He growls, snaps, and has temper tantrums. I tried to warn Popeye that crazy lady "takes no crap"-- but he didn't listen. Every time he tried to bite crazy lady or steal food, he had to go through "command exercises" to "lay down," "wait" and "come." He's a fast learner. Really smart. Just like all of us Taiwan dogs!
Day 3
Lazy Sunday. Although Judy said that we take our evening pee at midnight, crazy lady suspects it's later in the evening. Boomer and Phoebe keep waking her up at 2 AM for bathroom breaks! No worries. Crazy lady uses it as an opportunity for a (very) early morning Popeye diaper change.

We, of course, used the opportunity to play.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My New Bed


It's squishy, pale, and form-fitting. I love it! We're leaving to spend the weekend at the "House of Dogs"-- Boomer, Phoebe, Popeye and myself-- while crazy lady house sits for my foster mamma Judy. We're bringing the bed. I don't care what crazy lady thinks-- this bed is coming with us.