Sunday, March 24, 2013

Passover 2013

This year I had help as I made the gefilte fish.  Ari is a curious puppy who wants to check out anything new on the counters.  As he gets bigger, nothing much is sacred.  For him, stealing something off the counter is even better than stealing underwear off the drying rack.

The fish always starts with a stock made from the bones, heads, and skin.  Not exactly a pretty picture, but definitely the way to a good fish stock (that turns into bouillabaisse after Passover).

By midday the fish patties had come out of the broth and were stored away in the refrigerator with their little carrot slices to sit in a thin layer of broth awaiting tomorrow night's seder.

Tonight we got a sneak preview as we each had a piece for dinner.  The fumes from the horseradish pronounced it sufficiently potent.  But there is always a concern before the first bite of fish when I wonder if I got the seasoning right -- enough salt and sugar, but not too much.  Every year is different, but my husband always declares it to be just right.

Happy Passover!  May you extricate yourself from any unpleasant situation just as the Jews did as they left slavery in Egypt.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Life

Several of you have wondered if I have anything to report on my life beyond having a new dog.  The truth is not much.  I haven't gone anywhere of significance since our trip to Chile a year ago.  My only sewing project was a white reading stand cover for Temple Micah's use during the high holy days next year.  My librarian job has finally gotten down to the maintenance level of 10-15 hours a month.  Shelter kids come and go, but my work there is much the same.  My creaky body is creakier than it ever was and I often use 2 Leki walking sticks when I have any significant ground to cover.

The only areas in which I feel creative are cooking and music.  The new CSA share arriving each Wednesday prods me to discover new ways to use things like rutabagas and kohlrabi.  I'm working on dinner for tonight -- a study in orange:  Swedish chicken salad above and butternut squash soup below.

As for music, the most unique pieces I have found come from listening to Sirius XM as I drive the new Prius.  Pieces like Farewell to Stromness by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1980) and Bailecito by Carlos-Lopez Buchardo (1997).  I am drawn to pieces that suggest movement, such as walking or dancing as these two do.  I also continue to play gems recommended by my teacher Anadel, like The Seasons by Tchaikovsky -- 12 short pieces that are moderately difficult but worth the effort.

I have struggled to adjust to having an adult child living at home, tempering my tendency to  give advice and wondering whether or not this is a permanent situation.  Truthfully I see very little of him as he is up at night and sleeps during the day for the most part.  I want so much for him to be independent and happy, but I have come to realize that it is all very much out of my hands.

Lately I have spent a lot of time heading up a Temple Micah team called Aging Together, which is charged with looking at issues dealing with getting older.  We are focusing on several aspects of this:  establishing support groups for those who lose a loved one, looking at barriers to older congregants attending services (transportation, parking, hearing, etc.), and setting up a monthly lunch-and-learn program.  I was able to use by former career skills in selecting a sample of those 65+ years old and administering a survey to learn more about what people are thinking.  With my team's help, we had one-on-one conversations which not only completed the interview forms but established new connections with people who thought they had been forgotten.  I haven't quite joined this age cohort, but my time is soon enough, so I hope there will continue to be things that make me want to remain an active member.

Ari is proving to be a great host when people come over, so we have gradually started having guests for dinner and hosting groups like our book club.  He is much better than our previous dogs in terms of not barking or jumping obnoxiously.  He is a counter-surfer, so we constantly have to be on guard so as not to lose the main course to a dog.  But otherwise, he is content to sit around chewing on a marrow bone while we entertain.

I must remind myself to be more observant as I go through life.  I used to find some reportable tidbit every day.  I'm sure they are out there, but I seem not to look at the world through Blogging glasses these days.

Thanks to my few remaining readers who have continued to ask how I am doing.  I think of you often!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Puppy Reunion

Ari celebrated his 6-month birthday by visiting his sister Roxy in Bethesda.  She too had had a haircut so they both more closely resembled poodles.  They happily hugged each other in a little doodle dance and then ran non-stop for an hour or so.  Roxy is considerably smaller than Ari, but otherwise looks very similar to him.

For those of you who have asked for news about me, I will soon put out an update.  I wish I had something of great excitement to report other than the acquisition of our goldendoodle Ari!

Friday, March 15, 2013

First Haircut

Today Ari went in for his first grooming.  I had always sworn I would never have a dog that needed this much pampering, but alas I have one.  The good news is most golden doodles don't shed.  The bad news is every 3 months or so they must be trimmed.

He had gotten to look like a raggedy mess as his hair continued to grow, so it was time.  We took him to Muddy Mutts, where Hindy (a groomer of 35 years) did her magic.  Three hours later it was much more obvious that he is indeed 70% poodle.

This is just one more critical step toward Ari's adulthood.  I wonder if he knows how good he looks with his new haircut?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Closing in on 6 Months

Ari has taken up Jake's spot on the window seat in the family room.  He has a perfect vantage point where he can bark at every squirrel or bird that enters our back yard.

He is Mr. Sociable these days.  He goes to daycare once or twice a week, where he plays with other adorable dogs with names like Lucy, Max, and Toaster (who really would name a dog Toaster?)  He has also made good friends at the local dog park with Jax and Sadie.  He meets Birdie at the neighborhood ball park.  And he has friends like Shelby and Magruder who come visit and explore the back yard with him.

But his favorite activity of all time is chewing on a frozen marrow bone, which feels good to his sore gums and means he is not chewing on furniture or shoes.

After a hard day of playing and chewing, we often find this kitchen rug.  I only wish my hips were so flexible!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ari Out in the World

Now that Ari has had all his shots, he is learning all about dog parks.  On his first trip he met Jax, an 80-pound standard poodle.  Not at all intimidated, Ari ran every time Jax ran, not running after the tennis ball but rather just running after the big dog.  At one point he launched himself onto Jax's back.  He cried when Jax left.  He came home and slept the rest of the day.

The next day he met Casey, the black and white rescue dog who delighted in pinning Ari on his back in the mud with his jaws on Ari's neck.  Despite the fact that Casey was borderline aggressive, Ari seemed happy to have yet another canine friend.  His lovely fluff didn't fare so well, as evidenced by the photo above.  It confirmed that he is not getting fat at all, but is instead a little dog with a lot of hair.  After a bath, he resumed his beautiful fluffiness.

Yesterday's playdate was with Birdie, a service dog for our diabetic neighbor.  She is a 60-pound black lab, who thoroughly enjoyed fetching with Ari as her shadow.  They raced around the neighborhood ball field until both were completely exhausted.

Today at yet another dog park, Ari met Luna, a weimaraner 3 times his size.  Luna could run like a greyhound, often leaving Ari in the dust.  She was gentle and understanding with Ari as he tried to keep up and occasionally lunged at her.

Just this week since his dog park debut, I have noticed that Ari's tail now curls up over his back instead of handing down like a rat tail.  According to our trainer, that's sign of self-confidence.

I'm enjoying watching Ari's little world expand.  He is embracing it all with enthusiasm!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birthday Celebration

It's my other baby's birthday.  Ari sends his greetings!