The Laughing Otter- because life’s just too short

Archive for October 2008


Home now, from Spokane. Here’s my catchup!

10/12 Abby in a Box!
10/12 Abby in a Box!

10/23 Cutie puppy

10/23 Cutie puppy

10/24 Abby with a big stick

10/24 Abby with a big stick

10/24 Mirax and Abby

10/24 Mirax and Abby

10/27 Abby in the car. What a wierd pose!

10/27 Abby in the car. What a wierd pose!

10/25 Portrait of a stick. And a puppy.

10/25 Portrait of a stick. And a puppy.

10/25 Abby. There's a lot of these- Orion used them to keep me from getting homesick while I was away!

10/25 Abby. There's a lot of these, Orion uses them to keep me from getting homesick while I'm away!

10/26 In the truck

10/26 In the truck

10/26 Big Yawn

10/26 Big Yawn

Okay. Enough puppies. On to… bento!

10/25 Snack Bento. Goldfish; Lucky Charms; Raisins. Pistachios; KitKat Bar Divider; Turkey and Bagel sandwich.

10/25 Snack Bento. Goldfish; Lucky Charms; Raisins. Pistachios; KitKat Bar Divider; Turkey and Bagel sandwich.

10/28 Beef and Broccoli Stirfy with Sesame Seeds; White Rice. Crispy Chicken Flavored Noodles; Leftover airline snack pretzel stuff. Fruit salad (with homemade whipped cream!)

10/28 Beef and Broccoli Stirfy with Sesame Seeds; White Rice. Crispy Chicken Flavored Noodles; Leftover airline snack pretzel stuff. Fruit salad (with homemade whipped cream!)

Okay. Out of bento… so more random pictures!

10/19 An antique chair that's for sale. My family's selling almost a dozen of them.

10/19 An antique chair that my family is selling. We have a dozen of them... want one?

10/22 Froggie hat from the Rainforest Cafe in Seattle

10/22 Froggie hat from the Rainforest Cafe in Seattle

10/24 Racing Cement Truck Overalls for my son!

10/24 Racing Cement Truck Overalls for my son!

10/25 Dead Flamingos- in my yard! Happy Halloween!

10/25 Dead Flamingos- in my yard! Happy Halloween!

10/25 A gift from my mom- a kangaroo mommy and baby!

10/25 A gift from my mom- a kangaroo mommy and baby!

10/26 Koda. Doesn't he look so pathetically sad?

10/26 Koda. Doesn't he look so sad? He's not. It's all lies.

10/27 Sushi from dinner the other night. Orion insisted on a picture. He loves his sushi!

10/27 Sushi from dinner the other night. Orion insisted on a picture. He loves his sushi!

I don’t think anything’s really happened in the last few days. I hit the pool today, for the first time in a week, and then we went shopping and snagged lunch. Otherwise, I’ve been home cooking and herding the dogs, and now I’m just relaxing with the baby wiggling like mad in my tummy (making me have to pee!) and the dogs finally not getting into anything!

Tomorrow, I have an appointment, but for tonight, I can just rest. MMm…. rest.

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Vacation

Posted on: October 23, 2008

Gotta love a good, spur of the moment vacation.

I finally got my schedule worked around to give me almost a week of free time with no appointments to keep or things to do, and so flew over to Spokane to visit my family. It’s so nice to have time here with them, especially my mom!

Of course, it’s not strictly a pleasure trip. I’m also hoping to check on houses (especially this one place that just sounds like a dream!) and on jobs, in hopes of getting a little bit ahead when we move out here.

In the meantime, not a whole lot has been going on. A lot of doctor’s visits, including one that was probably the most unprofessional appointment of all time, but I don’t want to go into it. It’s not happy and it’s certainly not anything that needs posting out here. I’m just glad I’m done with all that and can relax for a bit.

We made airport bento to snack on while we waited for the flight (which was incredibly short!) and that was nice. No pictures of it, though, or the last few lunches. They were mostly simple anyway- sandwich and soup, with some snacky things in there too. Our airport lunches were fairly easy. Mine was just salad and dressing, a side of raw broccoli, and some heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Dragonsama packed homemade chicken nuggets, cold peas, and her own cornbread. Very simple, very delicious.

So my mom and I spent the afternoon looking around Spokane, and found a few new things that I enjoy. There’s an Asian market that doesn’t carry my gear, like bento boxes or cooking supplies, but they have a really nice authentic selection of groceries, including fresh produce. Their frozen section made my bento-loving heart sing, because (even though I have recipes for steamed pork buns and stuff) I love the idea of being able to just throw frozen gyoza or buns into a steamer and in ten minutes have a nice, fresh lunch. They carried… well, not everything I’m used to, but a nice enough collection that we won’t be stuck without buns or noodles. A little expensive though! I don’t know how long I’ll shop there, but it’s nice to know that I have that option, at least until I find a better way.

We also found the most adorable little tea shop, and I think I accidentally impressed the woman working there. You see, I adore tea. That’s not unusual- a lot of people do. But I’m not a connoisseur, or at least I would never even consider calling myself one. I only know just a little jargon, enough to get my point across. I really enjoy drinking my tea, though, and I do prefer black teas. This place had a lovely, moderate selection of teas- large enough to suit everyone’s tastes but small enough that you know the teas are monitored and regularly changed, so they’re not stale. I was looking for a black tea in orange pekoe, with no flavorings- just plain tea. That means that I’m not looking for “Earl Grey Cream Breakfast Tea with Lavender and Jasmine”. I’m looking for a tea that’s of the highest quality leaf, (orange pekoe tea isn’t a flavor, it’s the grade of tea, meaning that the leaves are still mostly full, unbroken and high grade), made of nothing but properly oxidized tea. No other flavors, added bits- no caramel, no other floral hints. Evidently, the fact that I was very specific in what I wanted, what it should smell like, what the mixture should contain and how strong it should brew to impressed her.

I just like knowing what I want.

I think I might put in my resume there when we’ve moved, and I have a balance with the baby. She wasn’t actively hiring, but it never hurts to try and I would love to work there. They don’t just sell tea, they also make tea. The sort where you sit down and have tiny sandwiches and little cookies and cakes. They have a tea room with nice tableclothes and lovely chairs, with flowers… it’s just very nice. I would love to get into something like that!

Otherwise, it’s mostly been just resting. It feels really nice to get out of the house, although I miss the dogs so much- especially Abby. I wake up at night and I can’t feel her and it’s just heartbreaking.

I think my only pressing needs over here are to collect newspaper help wanted ads, and to talk to the lady about the house that we want to get. So tomorrow, I’ll probably spend a part of the day sorting through baby clothes that keep turning up, maybe make something for a snack that everyone can share or maybe just for me, and maybe take a walk or go out with Mom for something. I know there are some really lovely parks in this city. Maybe I can find a bookstore to visit that carries guides to Spokane or something- so I can really look around properly. Mom hasn’t really explored the city either, so maybe with some decent directions we can really get a feel for the beautiful things that I know must be here, because they’re everywhere if you just know where to look.

Anyway, this post has gotten really long, and it’s getting late. Have a good night, everyone, and be safe and have fun!


Nesting?

Posted on: October 18, 2008

So, I’m cleaning today. Or, I will be. I woke up this morning and the little things that usually don’t bother me are driving me insane! (The handle on the oven has some grey grime at the very edges. There’s a few drips down the side where someone’s pasta boiled over on the stove. The bathroom baseboards are dusty.)

So instead of obsessing, I enlisted the help of my ever-loving and VERY good at cleaning mate. Go Orion! It’s like… hurricane reversal. He’ll whirl through and make with the organized, which lets me make with the toothbrush and Q-tips to get into the corner cracks.

In other news: Abby went to Puppy-Playtime today, but didn’t play with anyone. She just hung out by the edge of the pen, as close to us as she could get, and looked at everyone like they were insane. We’ll try again next week.

I have two bento for you today, although I can’t really call them ‘bento’ I guess. They’re just box lunches. What’s the difference, anyway? Is a bento something different than a lunch packed in Tupperware? Well, either way, here’s the lunches from the 16th and the 17th:

Orion's Lunch
Orion’s Lunch

From the top: That’s four slices of bread, some provolone cheese, and two containers of ‘sauce’- Miracle Whip and Dijon Mustard. Next box down has ham and turkey, enough for two thick sandwiches, and some leaf lettuce broken into sandwich size. The bottom is a … hm… I think it was a Grilled Steak and Vegetable chunky soup. Two sandwiches and a can of soup was a hearty, thick meal for Orion that was hot and easy to eat. The verdict: Filling, but not overfilling. I didn’t have anything else to put on the sandwiches or I would have- maybe next time, sprouts or something. The hot soup was nice, since he works early in the mornings.

Ennosuke's Bento
Ennosuke’s Bento

This one qualifies as a ‘bento’ I think. Sort of. Anyway, from the top:
Iceburg salad mixed with Romaine, and a container of Thousand Island dressing. In the bento itself is a bed of rice in the top, and beef curry in the bottom. (Beef, onions, carrots and curry mix. I don’t make mine from scratch.) The verdict: Delicious. He ate all of it at work, it reheated very well, and the giant salad was excellent as a filler. (He’s watching what he eats, so I try to pack more veggies and salad than heavy food.)

All in all, they were fairly good lunches. I need to look into gyoza wrappers, though, because Lunch in a Box has great instructions for turning leftover curry into curry gyoza. I know I’ll have to drain off a lot of the liquid so that they don’t get soggy, but if I make the filling from the solids I can bottle the sauce into a little container to use as a dipping or flavoring sauce in the lunch. I also think I can ‘deep-fry’ my gyoza or other things in my wok. (Neither of the guys are particularly fond of steamed stuff, unless it’s certain vegetables. They say it ‘doesn’t taste cooked’ unless it’s crispy.)

In the meantime, I got some new equipment for packing lunches. We have a ‘cheap store’ that’s… insanely cheap. They get old, broken, damaged, or stale product from normal stores and sell it at tremendous markdown- which is good, but you have to check expiration dates on EVERYTHING, just in case. In any event, they had ketchup and mustard bottles, the sort you see at picnics, on sale for 39¢ each. They make excellent sauce bottles- not for in lunches, but for holding dressings, sauces, oils, or seasonings in the fridge. Most of the prepackaged stuff I use comes in wide-mouthed bottles that make controlling how much goes into my cup or pan a real terror- I always wind up oversaucing because I’m in too much of a hurry or I get distracted.

Don't pick them up by the lid-loops...
Don’t pick them up by the lid-loops…

With these, I can just squirt the right amount of sauce into my pan, and the long nozzle on them makes filling sauce containers a breeze. I wish I could afford the nice, clear-plastic ones that they sell for chocolate-making or whatnot, but for 39¢ you can’t beat these. They fill easily, and they dispense wonderfully.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say today- oh! No! I got a membership at the YMCA, which is perfect because I can now swim every day if I want. Not today. Probably not tomorrow. But Monday through Friday, I can get in on the lap swimming and that will be spectactular. I’ve already gone Thursday and Friday (I got the membership on Thursday), and I’ll probably hit the lap swimming if it’s open on the weekends. I’ve noticed it’s mostly family and open swims on Saturdays and Sundays, though. Not really my thing.

Anyway, have a great afternoon!

GEAR!!!!

Posted on: October 18, 2008

Okay, that’s more exclaimation points than I ever use, so I must be excited.

NEW GEAR!

A happy moment of new gear!
A happy moment of new gear!

We have sauce containers, including two new monkeys; food jars with twist on lids; and a Fit and Fresh Lunch on the Go thing. In purple!

The jars hold rice seasonings; the monkeys hold mayo or mustard or wasabi; the little bottles hold sauces.
The jars hold rice seasonings; the monkeys hold mayo or mustard or wasabi; the little bottles hold sauces.

It's not the best picture, but these are the  food jars with the screwtop lids.
It’s not the best picture, but these are the food jars with screw-top lids.
Fit and Fresh box- big bottom container, ice pack, and two lidded small containers. Perfect!
Fit and Fresh box- big bottom container, ice pack, and two lidded small containers. Perfect!

So I have new toys to boot, including a new (much smaller and more manageable) wok to work with, one that I can use by myself without help. I got some of the Press and Seal stuff, too- it was really cheap at the Walmart… which I’d say sucks, but honestly as much as I know that Walmart is bad…. I shop there a lot.

So tonight’s cooking adventure (or tomorrow’s!) will be the curry gyoza… or curry wontons, since I have wonton wrappers and not gyoza. Mm, potstickers! Adventures in cooking! Also, there will be beef-broccoli stir-fry eventually too.


It’s so nice to sit down after a really busy day and just relax. Yesterday, all those appointments just caught up with me and by seven thirty I was just exhausted. But, my last appointment of the day was with the TV, so I got to put my feet up and relax to the new show on Discovery Channel called Time Warp. So awesome! It’s pretty much a show where they videotape stuff with a slow-motion camera, usually at insanely high (low?) speeds. A guy breaking bricks, the Will It Blend? blender blending things, the bottom blowing out of a beer bottle, and the EepyBird guys doing their thing, just to name a few. It’s pretty cool. Scientifically, it’s accurate but not particularly educational, but AWESOME nonetheless and I plan to continue my watching of water balloons exploding in slow-mo over and over and over…

In other news, I irritated my midwife. Well, one of them. I’m going to Spokane in a week or so, because we found a house over there and I need to be there in person to reassure the landlady that we’re not crazy, we are serious, and we need this house. My options are limited:

A) I go. I run the possible risk of going into labor on the wrong side of the state, and potentially risk having to have a C-section done by a doctor I don’t know. We also secure the house, thus securing our place to live in the new year.

B) Orion goes to Spokane to talk to the lady. We reassure her and secure the house. We also lose a weeks worth of pay, fail to make this month’s rent, and are kicked out of our current house.

C) We don’t go at all. We lose the house we’re trying to get, and wind up homeless in the new year.

Option A seems like my best bet, considering that it’s a POSSIBILITY that I MAY go into labor in the week I’m gone. That consideration takes a back burner to the “Please don’t let us be homeless with a brand new baby in the middle of winter” plea that keeps running in the back of my mind. Therefore, I chose option A. (It’s also less scary when you consider that I have an OB over there lined up who takes my insurance and stuff, just in case something bad does happen.)

My goodness, you’d have thought I was going to Africa, the way my midwife looked at me. *laughs* But I don’t have an option and it needs done. So I’m doing it.


Meanwhile, I took some time last night to prep a bunch of stuff in the Ingredients Drawer for use, making it a lot faster and easier to make lunches (and dinners!) Broccoli got pared down into bite sized pieces, onions got (sort of) chopped (Ennosuke’s still learning how to chop onions into the right size bits), and so on. It’s nice to have ingredients on hand that are pre-prepped.

Dinner was stir-fry with chicken- as was bento the next morning. *laughs*

Chicken and Veg stir-fry over a bed of white rice and noodles. Which you can't see. Container is stir-fry sauce.
Chicken and Veg stir-fry over a bed of white rice and noodles. Which you can’t see… stir-fry sauce in the container.
Chef Salad in the snack bento, with cheese, ham and turkey, an egg, and Catalina dressing.
Chef Salad in the snack bento, with cheese, ham and turkey, an egg, and Catalina dressing.

I didn’t bother mixing the noodles into the stir-fry for the bento- instead I just fried them seperately, put them in the bottom with a bed of white rice as well to take up more space, and spread the veggie-chicken mixture on top of it all. That way he gets the best of both worlds! The chef salad was to give him something not heavy and carb-loaded to get him through his day, too.

I’m not sure what I’ll do for supper tonight, or bento. Ennosuke and Orion both work, so that’s two bento that I need to pack up.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to relax for a bit, go upstairs and rest away from everyone, and …. oh, foo. *has been munching on candy during this post* And wait for tomorrow, evidently, to pop off and get my blood drawn, since it was supposed to be fasting. Oops.

Also, even though this has nothing to do with my day… you have to see the changes:


8/3/08 At Six Weeks


10/16/08 Today
10/16/08 Today

Her first vet visit she was seven pounds. Yesterday she was twenty three! She’s 17 weeks, 18 weeks on the 19th of this month. That’s just over four months! She’s lived with us for more than half her life- we got her at six weeks.

Such a huge change!

Good evening…

Finally! I relax! *stretches out to post* It’s so nice to have finished early a little bit early tonight. Dinner is finished- a goulash, made with leftover spaghetti sauce, a pound of hamburger, and some … rigatoni noodles? I think. It turned out nicely, actually. Very filling, and very easy. I even had leftovers!

So into the morning bento for Orion went some of the goulash (which I don’t think is actually a goulash by technical definition, but it’s what I was taught to make), a salad topped with smoked turkey lunch meat and bell pepper strips and a container of Catalina dressing, and a hard-boiled egg and mozzarella cheese sticks, and some carrot chunks.

Here’s a pic!

See Above for contents
See Above for contents

The other day we went to the pet store, hoping for a shampoo and some dog food. My poor Cocoa has a nasty flea allergy and the house is full of fleas… so we had to buy a special shampoo to help with the itching. Poor baby. At the pet store, we saw… a chinchilla!

Chinchilla on a water bottle!
Chinchilla on a water bottle!

So cute!

Today, though, I have to admit I had a moment of rar… Cocoa got ahold of Abby’s teething Nylabone. It’s not for heavy chewers, and Cocoa wasn’t supposed to get it- she knows better, too! She took it into a corner and chewed it into pieces… all because it was Abby’s special toy and she wasn’t allowed to play with it.

I was so very frustrated! Such a bad dog. I need to buy a new one, now. Abby can chew the little one, but it’s just not good for her to chew on the tattered end.

In other news, Ennosuke found me a picture that I really love! It’s from the LOLdogs pictures.

It was just so cute I couldn’t resist it!

In the meantime, here’s those bento I missed making. Ennosuke made them for Orion while I was exhausted.

10/6 Chunky Soup and Spam Fried Rice
10/6 Chunky Soup and Spam Fried Rice
10/8 Fruit Cocktail, Spam Fried Rice, and Chunky Soup
10/8 Fruit Cocktail, Spam Fried Rice, and Chunky Soup

So nice of him to make these for Orion for me!

So other than that, we’re just resting up. Tomorrow’s going to be so busy! I have a vet appointment for Abby at 10:30, a class on breastfeeding at 1pm, a midwives appointment at 3:30 and more errands in the evening. But it’ll be nice- everything all done in one day!

Have a great night!

You know, the best part about my mate? It’s not that he’s incredibly good looking (Though he is), or that he’s clever and creative (which he also is).

It’s that when the weekend gets here, he’s so very, incredibly kind. All week, he works early shifts, and I do my best to make sure he has food, clean clothes, a (somewhat) organized home. I take care of the dogs, I try to keep things in order…

And when the weekend comes, I don’t even have to ask. He takes the puppy out before she wakes me up, letting me sleep in for the first time all week. He makes supper, anything I ask for. He brings me drinks, he takes me out to the mall, he does all the moving, lifting, and cleaning that I am just too tired to get to… and he does it all with a smile and a sincerely good heart! He doesn’t expect anything back.

I can sit here, online, typing away at my blog- and he’s already made me ravioli for dinner, he’s currently cleaning up some pans in the kitchen to make Rice-a-Roni (my favorite flavor, too!) for a snack afterwords, and he remembered to bring me a glass of milk. He took out the trash and the compost, walked the dogs, and washed the kitchen up a bit.

It’s the best part.

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