Friday, September 30, 2011

Furry Friday: Riding Shotgun

Among the many great things about Riley, his ability to take long car rides is certainly something Justin and I count ourselves as lucky for.  When we first got him, we had a 3+ hour ride home from New Hampshire which he took like a champ.  He rode, or rather slept, the entire ride on my lap.  Riley never gets car sick. The worst he does is leave a few nose prints on the windows which is par for the course.

Because we lived in Albany when we first got Riley, many of our weekends and holidays were spent traveling in the car to see family.  Our little Rye-guy was completely unphased by this.  In fact he gets very excited to go for a car ride.  When we start packing up a bag for a weekend trip or even just a few essentials for a dinner over at my parents, he gets so antsy.  He just can't wait to get outside and make a dash for the passenger side door of the car.  

Recently I purchased a safety harness from Agway so that he can ride solo.  Normally he rides on my lap, however, on the rare occasion that just he and I are traveling together it's much safer for him not to be in my lap.  It was a bit of an adjustment for him.  He couldn't decide if he wanted to sit or lay down, but eventually he settled in for the long-haul. Fortunately he's light weight enough that he doesn't trigger the air bag to be on.    So all in all, it ends up being a win-win. 

Do you take your pets for car-rides?  What type of safety gear do you use?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Everyone's a Photographer

I love technology.  Love it.  I love it more so when it all comes packaged in a neat little bundle like my HTC smart phone.  Gone are the days when you need to remember to bring anything more than your phone in order to take pictures.  On vacation but you forgot that clumsy film-eating Kodak of yours?  What's that - you forgot your digital Coolpix?  No problem.  HTC to the rescue with an 8 mega pixel camera equipped with zoom, a flash, and other editing software built in for on the spot perfection.  Just about any cell phone nowadays has some form of camera and photo "effects" options.

Not only do I love sweet little bundles of technology for taking photographs, I love "FREE" web-based photo editing software.  There are so many online resources available that I almost feel compelled to edit every photo I take because a.) if you can, why not? and b.) it's just plain fun.  For a while my go to site was Picnik, but after a while it got a little boring to use only the free bits.  And then of course there's Picasa by Google which works hand in hand with Picnik.  But recently I've reconnected with my old Photobucket because they've kicked it up a notch.  Photobucket was someplace I used strictly for html codes for my photos so I could embed them on myspace (remember myspace?), but now I can do so much more.  Like that "touch of color" effect, but with more specificity than Picnik ever dreamed. 

On one hand it's kind of sad that the art of photography is now something anyone aged six to sixty can achieve with the touch of a button on a cell phone, but on the other hand I see it as a challenge for the true photographers out there to make their photos that much more breathtaking.  I'll be honest, with how much I can do online at Picnik or Photobucket, it's certainly raised the bar for that of any photographer I'll be hiring (and I'm only an amateur). 

What photo editing sites do you use? Am I missing out on any gems out there?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cupcakes - AA Style


To me a cupcake represents a little slice of heaven, sure to spike the sugar levels in my body and pump me full of feel good serotonin and dopamine.  I'm sure somewhere someone scientific has documented that looking at a picture of a cupcake, such as the one above, causes the release of feel good chemicals in your brain.  (You're welcome, by the way, for the photo and subsequent feel good chemicals.) On a non-scientific note my father insists we actually have two stomachs, one of which is specifically designated for dessert, hence why there is always room for dessert.  Now, with all that in mind, when has a cupcake ever been anything more than a delicious little bundle of love?  I'll tell you:  when students at Berkeley College use them as an Affirmative Action example.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Time Warner Sucks

Ever since Irene and the subsequent "tropical storm" which followed, Time Warner's service at our house sucks.  It started with very slow transition channel to channel, sometimes sitting on a black screen for a while and then whatever show was on would reappear.  We seriously thought something was going on with our television.  However, then we would flip on our digital streaming through Netflix and the internet connection would drop out sporadically.  The same would happen with our laptop.  One minute all the modem lights would be on and then the next minute they'd be blinking like a Christmas tree.  I'm not sure what's going on with Time Warner's service, but it better resolve itself and fast.

For what we pay per month for Time Warner service, it seriously has me thinking of switching to another provider.  But who?  Time Warner seems to have a monarchy on services where we live.  I could go to a satellite, but then I lose out on local news/weather channels.  Internet selection is very limited as well... Hughes Net advertises a lot, as does Verizon's DSL, but I don't know anyone using these items with much success.  I had my own run in with DSL back in Albany.  I was being billed for a service they never came to install, a service I was never able to use/activate.  Then I got the 3-month run around from their rude customer service reps.  Seriously, it took them 3 months to figure out that a.) the service was never installed and b.) I should be reimbursed. Rediculous.

So, what to do?  Any suggestions?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Furry Friday: Sleepy Boy

With the onset of Fall, I can honestly say I myself have been sleepier than usual.  Getting up when it's dark out to get ready for work is a total bummer.  By the time I get home and sit down to dinner, it's dark out.  Pretty soon it'll be back to the old routine of driving into work in the dark and driving home from work in the dark.  The days will be severely shortened and I'll start to feel like Al Pacino's character in Insomnia.  Well, maybe not that tired because I am not subjected to the six months of darkness that Alaska experiences, but you get my drift.

There is someone else in our household who is much sleepier lately.  Riley is just about to go into all out hibernation mode here.  It's colder and darker now which means all he wants to do is snuggle and sleep.  It makes it especially hard for me to leave him in the mornings because, likewise, all I want to do is snuggle and sleep.  And he's so cute at it, just look at my sleepy boy:

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Lots of changes going on this week with things near and dear to my heart.  Now don't go asking if I'm expecting or anything like that.  I'm talking about Netflix and Facebook.  These are items I utilize almost daily and apparently they've been shaking some things up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Got any recipes?

Last week the hubby and I had a hankering for Chinese food and dug out a recipe my Aunt Michele had shared for Lo Mein.  We also picked up some assorted sushi rolls from Price Chopper.  Although not true sushi (all cooked California style rolls) they were delicious none the less.  In order to make the Lo Mein, I had to pick up Tamara Sauce (a dark soy sauce) and Hoisin Sauce.  The recipe only utilizes 3 TBSP of each, so I am looking for more recipes to use up both these items.  If you have any please share and I will do the same by posting the Lo Mein recipe, courtesy of Aunt Michele, here:



  • 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Tamara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Lo Mein:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt / pepper to taste
  • 4tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 chicken breasts cut into strips (can substitute Pork, Beef, Shrimp, etc)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (I used minced)
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips


  • Mix together sauce ingredients and reserve.
  • Bring pasta water to a boil, salt water and cook spaghetti as per box instructions.
  • While pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in nonstick skillet over high heat. When oil ripples, add beaten eggs and scramble them.  Remove and reserve.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining vegetable oil then add meat and stir-fry 4 minutes.  
  • Push meat to the side and add garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms. Stir-fry 2 minutes, then drain.
  • Combine all ingredients (pasta, veggies, eggs, chicken) in the pot used for spaghetti. Pour sauce over all and toss to combine.    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday Night

Monday night may be the best night on CBS.  Last night I watched "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" and my night was complete.  I never really got into "How I Met Your Mother" before, but I am digging the mystery behind the narration of the show and in trying to figure out who ends up with who as per the title of the show. I think Mondays may become the night where I watch CBS in the bedroom while Jay watches football in the living room, but I am okay with that.  Isn't marriage all about give and take?  

Anywho, on to the real purpose of this post:  Two and a Half Men.  I must say I was surprised that Ashton's character wasn't some long lost son of Charlie's.  I was equally surprised at how the producers of the show literally killed Charlie off.  It wasn't enough to just have a funeral... no.  They had to drag his character through the mud as a penniless STD ridden drug addict.  I did have a hunch Rose had something to do with it though.  I figured they'd make his character run off with her, but I didn't foresee her character pushing him in front of a metro train.  I must say that I did find Ashton's introduction to the show a little cheesy (flung himself into the ocean for love, happens upon Charlie's house, sleeps with two women in the same night, and apparently he's a billionaire who can save the day by buying the house.)  Cheesy or not, I will probably continue to watch the show.  Mostly in hopes that Ashton will cut his hair.  I'm not digging the Jesus Christ Superstar look.

Did you watch Two and a Half Men?  What did you think?  What are some of the other shows you are a fan of?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling Fall-ish

I have to say that Fall is probably my favorite season.  It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it doesn't rain as much as April/May, I can still get sweet corn, apple cider donuts are abundant, apple cider is fresh, I got married in the fall, fall attire is flattering... the list goes on and on.  However, one of my all time favorite things about fall is decorating.  More so than Christmas.  I don't go as nutsy with fall decor as I do with my Christmas decor and I think that's what I like about it.  It's subtle and easy to set up and take down. 

I don't decorate for "Halloween," per say, I decorate once for the whole Fall season.  Halloween is just one day and we don't get any trick-or-treaters anyway so I can decorate to my heart's content with all other kinds of fall-ish items.  Place mats, pumpkins, eggplants/gourds, cute scarecrows, scented candles and leaf wreaths just to name a few.  Plus I'm an earth-tone person when it comes to my normal decor in the first place.  I like browns, beiges, maroons, sages... these are my colors.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Furry Friday: Fall Fashionista

Holy coldness!!!  Where did last night's temperatures come from?  We were in the low thirties in Upstate NY and I refuse to turn the heat on just yet.  We did however have a fire going in our fireplace which did help keep the edge off.  The house stayed at about sixty-five all night which was ok, but still a little chilly.  As my Grandpa Dank would say "it's good sleeping weather." Sleeping weather or not, it was time to pull out some warmer clothes for Riley.  Yes, I said for Riley.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dr. Finkelstein

Thank goodness my hair appointment was this Wednesday as opposed to last Wednesday.  As you may already know, my hair dresser and I are almost guaranteed to schedule appointments when inclement weather (albeit natural disasters) should strike.  If it's in the winter and we have an appointment it will either hail, sleet, or drop 4 feet of snow that day.  If it's in the spring, it'll rain like a monsoon with lightening strikes rivaling that of some Greek god.  Summertime...well, let's see, NY has experienced an earthquake, two hurricanes turned tropical storms and a tornado.  Last night the weather behaved, but just to be sure my color "took" appropriately I donned a blueish machine which bubbled and steamed my color to perfection.  I actually think it was quite becoming on me in a sort of Dr. Finkelstein way.  Fortunately the end result was a little less mummy-like although I am still ghostly pale (blame it on my Irish heritage.)

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Day

I can get used to this...  Yesterday I got home to chicken cacciatore for dinner, prepared Rachel Ray style by my hubby.  With his new work schedule he is home a full half hour to forty minutes before me which means dinner is at least started.  Yesterday it was not only started, but perfected.

I am not the only one enjoying Jay's revised schedule, however.  Riley gets an extra forty minutes of ESPN couch-lounging time in the morning with Jay since he now leaves later.  Initially it confused Riley.  He is accustomed to coming in from his walk and getting right in his crate so Jay and I can leave for work.  But now, I'm the only one leaving by 7:10 and  Jay doesn't leave until 7:40ish.  So Riley realized he could hop out of his crate and sit with Jay, but he was so out of his element that every time Jay moved to touch the remote or to check his cell phone Riley would hop back into his crate expecting Jay to leave.  Eventually this new routine will be old hat, but for now Riley is adjusting.  I tell you, though, he's not having a hard time adjusting to Jay getting home earlier.  I think almost every toy in his toy box was out last night. Even toys he hadn't touched since Christmas.  He is all about daddy being home earlier to take him out and play with him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Turning over a new leaf

Today the hubby starts a new job.  So far this is the one bright spot to 2011.  He first interviewed at the beginning of August, was called back for a second interview and then accepted the offer just a little over two weeks ago.  I waited to say anything on the blog until everything was official, and good thing I did.  As with most things in our life, this job did not come without it's share of hiccups.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Furry Friday: Kindergarten

With all the back to school posts running rampant on Facebook, it got me thinking that if Riley were human I'd have a full-fledged Kindergartner on my hands this time next year.  Can you believe it?  He'll be five this coming June.  To me he's still a pup.  I can remember the first day we got him and the long ride home with him on my lap.  When his red loofa toy was as big as him.  How my heart felt like it would break every time I left the house because he would cry. Where does the time go?

Over the course of four years there are things about Riley that have definitely not changed and then there are other quirks, so to speak, that have become more pronounced.  Things that presumably will always be the same: he wants you to be in the same room as him while he eats; he loves to snuggle with his mommy in the mornings when daddy is showering; he loves to chew his bone in bed but wants daddy to hold it; and sitting on the back of the couch to look out the window will always be his favorite past time.  Quirks which have definitely become more pronounced:  his distaste for any other animal on tv is cause for full scale attack mode; tub time becomes a new game of hide-and-seek where treats have to be present to coax him out from under tables and beds; and bed time is 9:00 sharp or else he becomes a whiney over-tired toddler with a temper tantrum.  What can I say?  He's a creature of habit and I love him all the more for it.

What are some of your pets quirks that have become more pronounced over the years?  Reminisce with me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

3 Inches

Three inches...that is what we are struggling to keep the water levels below in our basement.  Thanks to hurricane Irene, Lee and Katia we have the makings of an indoor swimming pool.

Today we woke up to more rain, checked to see if our sump pump was running and then left for work.  Well about 30 minutes into our work commute, my Dad called to say he stopped in to check on us and found the sump pump was on and "humming" but not pumping.  So back home we went to hook up our second pump.  Justin and Dave, my pseudo-father-in-law, took the other one apart and got it working again. Currently we have one pump draining into the built in drain in the basement, the other is pumping out through a hose out the basement window and into our driveway.

My neighbor says that our basement never took water, but I have a hard time believing that.  All I can say is that although I am frustrated in my own flooding situation, I am totally heartbroken for those in Schoharie, Schenectady, Middleburgh and the surrounding townships who were attempting recovery but are yet again under water.  If you have not yet donated and are unable to assist physically with the relief efforts, please visit the Red Cross online, stop by your local Price Chopper, or call your local fire department to inquire as to making a donation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Furry Friday: Vocabulary

Earlier this year there was an article published in the Huffington Post about a border collie named Chaser breaking the world record for demonstrated comprehension of a 1000 words.  This of course is amazing to me.  Heck, it's amazing to me what few words my little fur-child seems to have a grasp of.  Just last night he was chewing on his cow loofa and I said "Riley, you want to play?"  His head perked right up and he brought his toy over.  Just to see what word it was he perked up to, I said "play" a few more times which caused the same head-jerk reaction and subsequent tail wag.  Apparently he understands play, which got me thinking about all the other words I believe he understands:
  • Bed
  • Work (when I say I have to go to work, he goes in his crate)
  • Red Guy (another toy of his)
  • Cow
  • Dachshund (another toy of his)
  • Eat
  • Bone
  • Snack
  • Dinner
  • Breakfast
  • Cheese
  • Girls (referring to my sisters)
  • Grandma
  • Grandpa
  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Easy (if he's playing too rough)
  • No
  • Up
  • Hugs
  • Kisses
  • Out
  • Come
  • Now
  • Let's go in
  • Asparagus (he learned that when I said this, we were going to the patch to pick it)
  • Truck
  • Water
  • Wait (we tell him to wait while we're picking up his #2, otherwise he runs and rips your arm out of your socket while you're doing so)
  • Cuddle
I'm sure there are more but these 32 are just the typical words I use with him every day that he seems to understand just perfectly.  What a little smarty pants.  He makes his momma proud. 

What do your pets do that amaze you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


What do 16 pounds of pears, 3 gallons of water, and 10 pounds of sugar have in common?  In combination with some yeast, pectin, and a few other powdery substances: they can all be used to make wine!  This year's crazy weather has resulted in a very full pear tree, as opposed to last year when we maybe harvested six.  So what's a girl to do with an over abundance of these little green guys?  That's right.  Make wine.

Last year I bought a wine making kit to use with the peaches we harvested. My first attempt ever at processing wine came out pretty good. A little drier than expected, similar to a riesling, but pretty good none-the-less. This go around I am aiming for a sweet pinot grigio.  The key to this process is successful racking: filtering stages that reduce the fruit sediment and yeast yielding the clear liquid known as wine, aka Vino.  Plus, I have read that with pear wine you typically add in about six cups of honey midprocess.   I am no expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once.  So, that's the game plan.

About three months from now we shall have a finished product.  I am a firm believer in planning ahead so I'd like to solicit ideas for names starting now.  Get your creative juices flowing and leave a comment.