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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home made dog treats

Ali in Helena has a golden retriever girl too. Jesse is the biggest sweetheart, who loves to cuddle with you if you pet her soft fur. Jesse had apparently been experiencing a winter funk like me. She wasn't her peppy self, would rather sleep on her pillow then come greet you, and was generally just in the doldrums.

Ali also wondered if Jesse could sense a major shift about to happen in their house with the arrival of the baby in a few weeks. She found Jesse sleeping under the crib last week, and Jess will go sniff everything in the baby's room before having breakfast each morning.

I wanted to take Jesse a baby gift too, and thought that home made dog treats might be a nice way to exercise my baking muscle while not consuming calories. So Harlow helped me:

The ingredients are peanut butter, bananas, oats, whole wheat flour and a little oil and water. You mix all that up and roll it out like a dough, then cut them out with a cookie cutter and bake on 250 degrees for 3-4 hours or until dry. Harlow thinks they are DELICIOUS, as does DJ who kept asking where the Dusty biscuits would be? Apparently DJ and Harlow shared a doggie biscuit at lunch last week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting by

I went to Helena Saturday through Sunday for a dear friend's baby shower. It was a nice 180 mile round trip drive; an opportunity to get out of Bozeman and have fun with Ali before she delivers in 6 weeks or so.

It helped pull me out of the funk I've been in since Christmas. I swear, last week was the longest four day week possible! Late meetings, high stress, low motivation.

Bah. At the end of the week we received our W-2's to be able to do our taxes. You might remember that we're looking forward to a big tax refund to pay off our wedding and give us room in our budget to do fun stuff. DJ came home on Friday and immediately fired up Turbo Tax; the number on Friday night was about half of what we were hoping for. By Sunday night he'd entered my student loan information, car tabs (which are tax deductable) and home mortgage information and the number had gotten better, but still not as much as we'd hoped for.

Sigh. Damn it's expensive to be grown ups. We'll deal, and it doesn't really set us back, but I'd really like to get this wedding monkey off our backs.

Anyway. The next few months have more to look forward to. My birthday is a week from today. We're hosting the annual Superbowl Party; this year's theme is "Gravies of the World". Then we're headed to Big Sky for Moonlight weekend part deux. We're considering a trip down to Pocatello to see my parents in February. I might head to Eastern Washington for a long weekend in March. We'll head to Portland in April so DJ can be the best man in a friend's wedding.

And then it's spring!

All of that travel and events every two weeks will hopefully keep me from getting stuck in a winter funk again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sweet dreams

I did it. After much relentless browbeating conversation with DJ, he agreed to let me order a Real Grown Up Bed on Monday.

I've been drooling over this bed from Pottery Barn for over a year now. It's pretty classic. A sleigh without a footboard. High enough to feel big, but not an overly big bed itself. I'm not a super matchy-matchy person; I'd actually prefer furniture that can be used in various rooms throughout the house as needed. But I like that ordering from PB meant we could, someday buy a coordinating dresser if we wanted.

You might remember me whining about our cash-strapped situation right now. Again, we're fine, but we definitely don't have a random $600 + $150 shipping and handling lying around for this bed. We received some generous checks for Christmas, and after I realized that applying those funds to our credit card (wedding expenses, ugh!) really wouldn't impact our ability to pay off said credit card any faster, I harassed DJ into letting us buy something we really needed.

It'll be here in mid-February, as it was on backorder until late January. PB says they deliver to your house, and they bring it to the room you want it in. This was the part that made DJ nervous, so hopefully a month from now I'll have fab photos to share and a good customer service experience to rave about!

I'm still on the hunt for a cheap, cool, functional night stand. And so many other things.

Friday, January 14, 2011


In considering out Europe trip last fall, we're both really excited to visit the Normandy region of France. Intrigued by D-Day, the history, and the chance to have a more authentically French experience, we've both been doing a lot of reading about WWII.

Dusty picked up the DVD set of The Pacific over Christmas. It's the compendium to Band of Brothers, done by HBO a few years ago from the Stephen Ambrose book about Easy Company during the Allied invasion of Europe. The Pacific focuses on a group of Marines invading Guadalcanal, Pavuvu and Peleliu.

Obviously, the stories have penetrated DJ's psyche, as indicated by the following conversation, held yesterday as DJ was headed out the door for lunch:

DJ: "do you realize I saved your life last night?"

CK: "What?"

DJ: "Yeah. Yeah you're lucky I threw that Japanese grenade out of bed before it exploded!"


DJ: "Yeah, I was only kind of awake; I woke up with my fist clenched around something, but I knew that if I got out of bed you'd wake me up. So I patted you, said that I was only getting up to pee, and nonchalantly threw the grenade out into the hallway while I walked to the bathroom. You owe me your life."

CK: "HA, that's so funny! I thought you'd gotten up to pee, for reals, since you gave me the disclaimer!"

DJ: "Yeah, only after I 'threw' the grenade did I realize I'd been clenching my thumb in my fist."

CK: "crying laughing"

DJ: "By the way, that's a really good book."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The baby thing

I noted the other day the seeming explosion of pregnant people, both in my life and on the internet. Seriously, every time I turn around someone is knocked up.

I'm 27, soon to be 28. My husband is 32, soon to be 33. We've been married 6 months. We're both healthy, sane and intelligent people. But when it comes to the "when to have the first kid" question, we're both all over the place.

I've been in my job 3.5 years. At times, I love it. Occassionally, I wanna just quit and be a stay at home mommy who can bake cookies and garden.  I'm lucky to have both a mother and mother-in-law who worked outside of the home while having children; neither of whom are pressuring us to have kids.

So I suppose much of the angst I feel about it lately is due to the baby boom going on around me.

I feel good about where we're at right now as a family. Married, with a dog, dual incomes, a mortgage that allows us to travel and save substantial amounts of money for big purchases. Our relationship is solid, the dog is good, and well... I feel like there are a lot of things I want to do before I'm *ready* to have kids. Travel more. Europe. Beach vacation. New vehicles. Mexico. Not spook at spending more than $100 on a new purse. You know, entirely selfish pursuits.

On the other hand, I hear stories of people, like us, who are healthy, having a hard time conceiving. Stories like that worry me. I mean, things happen when they happen, or when you drop the cash on some serious medical intervention. I'd feel... angry at myself, maybe? if we spent too many years selfish and as a result had a hard time getting prego.

So shit. I don't know what the right answer is. And I'm only half of the equation about this Great Big Thing on the horizon.

I do know, though, that we're keeping the goalie until we get back from Europe, at least. I'm not having a baby until I go to Rome, and I'm not walking around Rome needing to pee every hour.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things making me nutty, lately

  1. Frozen windshields... On the INSIDE of the vehicle
  2. Related: Having to wear 38975987016516 layers just to take the dog out to pee. 
  3. Also Related: Wearing 2937984027609867 layers to work, then overheating in my office because it's like a billion degrees.
  4. People who say "after a lot of thought and prayer, I've decided to do X" (which is usually the option that benefits them, personally, the most).
  5.  It seems like everywhere I look on the internet, the author is knocked up. Maybe its just my demographic, but I'm feeling flooded with reproduction stories,
  6. Myself, for being unable to follow through on things. Gah.
  7. Stress eating candy.
  8. Working until 10:15pm, then being too exhausted/ worn out to make it to a 7:30am yoga class this morning. 
  9. Driving on icy roads.
  10. Not being able to bicycle for exercise... for at least another 3 months. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spring flowers in January!

Are possible!

I wanted to try to force flower bulbs this winter, for a little indoor flower action through the winter. The endless white winters in this part of the country can be maddening for a gardener without a little greenery.

About the first of October I put daffodil, crocus and tulip bulbs in my summer pots, and put them in our crawlspace to grow.

This is what they looked like by the 9th of November:

I'm not sure what's going on with the daffodil to the left; growing all wanky out of the pot.

I was really hoping to give little pots of crocus to friends for Christmas gifts.

Unfortunately, the crocus pots didn't work out very well. I think its because I had a hard time keeping the soil damp, as the crawlspace is kind of tricky to get into frequently. One of the three pots survived (kinda), and will hopefully bloom in the next few weeks.

I brought all but the tulip pot out of the crawlspace the first weekend of December. They hung out in the guest bathroom with DJ's home brew for a while. To successfully force bulbs, you've got to expose them to sunlight and warmer temperatures slowly.

The daffodils finally were able to be on display right around Christmas. They've given our living room a nice spot of color, greenery and fragrance from their little corner of the living room.

After the bulbs are done flowering, I'll plant them in the garden with a lot of fertilizer. I don't expect the bulbs to bloom outside for a year or two, but I'd rather not throw them away. Forcing takes a lot of energy out of a bulb; they can't be forced again.

I just moved the tulips into the bathroom upstairs last week. I'm hopeful that I'll have a pot of flowering bulbs in the house all spring until the outside bulbs start blooming!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Goals

Eleven goals for 2011:
  1. Organize the business end of life. Go through the file cabinet in the office, clean out and shred unnecessary paperwork, make room for DJ's paperwork. Consolidate grad school student loans in order to lock in the ridiculously low interest rates available now, instead of remaining on the variable interest rate for the remaining 7 years I have to pay off these things. Get retirement accounts moved into more aggressive investing, as the recession has to end someday and I should take advantage of the upswing.
  2. Be prepared to have a great time in Europe this fall. This means reading up, studying my map, and packing light, light light.
  3. Pay off the wedding/ credit card. This is an obvious burr in our sides. Seriously, it gives me anxiety. It will happen when we get our tax refund, and not sooner. But that also means not adding additional charges to my credit card. Gah. I hate carrying a credit card balance. 
  4. Continue to improve my gardening skills. I'd really like to can my own salsa, with tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, etc. grown at home.
  5. Evolve my job into what I want it to be.
  6. Be a better dog owner. Training for Harlow, maybe a fence in the back yard, and always pick up the poop. I know... I KNOW. We suck at this. Our version is to just make sure she poops in one of the vacant lots in our neighborhood; we have only about a 50% success rate. 
  7. Blog steadily. I had a few breaks in blogging this year. Specifically, I'd like to do a better job of blogging my gardening, since it's my way of journaling things. 
  8. Ride my bike to work in the summer. Good for me, good for the environment. 
  9. Continue to feather our nest. Tile around the fireplace. Insulation, sheetrock and organization in the garage. Master bedroom furniture, new bed, etc. Getting everything to a point that I'm satisfied with. 
  10. Sew. Either baby quilts for friends having kids, or clothing. 
  11. Continue to expand my exercise horizons. I dabbled in yoga at the end of 2010. I'd like to add cross country skiing to my winter activities.