Saturday, March 27, 2010

I knead you to knead me

Note:  No Border Collies were intoxicated during the making of this pizza.

You didn't think I'd give up that easily did you?  Truth of the matter is I had all the ingredients for the pizza except yeast and flour and didn't know what else to do with them so I figured I may as well give it another bash before they go bad.

I manage to proceed through the dough rising stage with no incident.  This time I put the rising dough on top of the fridge  when I go for my run and when I return I find everybody sober and a nice huge lump of dough.

I knead it a little and spread it out into the pizza pan thus.

Lots of little fork marks.  I forget why.

The rest of the process is easy.  I cry a bit when I cut the onions but that's the worst of the kitchen disasters.  In the end it looks like this, Chicago Deep Dish Pan Pizza right here in Boulder, Colorado.

Which brings up a point that I overlooked-elevation.  Turns out dough rises more quickly and cooks more quickly at elevation and I didn't adjust for this so the crust ended up a little burned on the bottom and a bit too doughy.  Jonny liked it because he likes his crust hard and burny but it's not exactly the way I like it.  Still it was good, way better than any pizza you can buy here, burnt crust and all.  I think if I make a few altitude adjustments I can get it very close to perfect.

Strum was licking his chops while I was preparing the dough, you'd think he would have learned his lesson.  He and the other dogs had to settle for some dropped bits of cheese and pieces of burnt crust, not as exciting as last weekend but not a bad haul either.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tried to make me go to rehab

And  I say 'No No No'.

You know what happens when you assume...  Turns out Strummer did get into the raw dough.  Turns out he can't hold his liquor either.  For those unaware, the yeast from the dough ferments in their warm, moist tummies and turns to alcohol.  Having a drunk dog is not as fun as it sounds.  Maybe he was the life of the party earlier in the evening but at 2 a.m. there is nothing but lots of the worst smelling puke to clean up and watching to make sure he doesn't do himself an injury while he's staggering around like an idiot babbling nonsense.  Kind of like that roommate you had in college.  Exactly like that roommate I had in college anyway.  At least he didn't bring home a drunk 6'-6" tall guitar player from the rockabilly band he'd seen that night and let him pass out on my bed at 2 a.m. after I'd spent the night in studying for an exam the next day.  But I suppose that's a story for another day.  Or maybe not.

I'm not sure if this is a vet sort of emergency or the sort of thing you gut out but there is so much puke and he looks so terrible staggering around, at one point he's falling completely over, and he won't settle down so I consult the Internetz which I know is not always the best plan but at 2:30 a.m. I don't have any better ideas.  Of course the Internetz is all 'Get that dog to a vet immediately, the quicker he's treated the better his chances of recovery'  and '...kidney damage...' and '...outcome not so great if you wait too long...'.  I hem and haw and keep my eye on him for another 1/2 hour and he looks a little better but not much and finally I reluctantly decide to take him in.  I've never had good experiences with 24 hour vets and I avoid them if possible but I'll feel terrible if he ends up with kidney damage and I could have done something.  The Internet is not too specific about treatment options-charcoal solution to absorb the alcohol and IV fluids is all they say-but I'm hoping the real vet will know what to do.

Well, the 'real' vet looks like he ought to be out playing bad Nirvana covers in some hipster indie band rather than doling out doggy medical advice.  His first thought is that why don't I just go home, there isn't any danger here, they give alcohol to dogs all the time as treatment for anti-freeze poisoning.  I explain about how insistent the Internet is that this is a serious medical emergency and he says, 'Well, o.k., I'll look into it to see what's a dangerous dose.'  Strummer is staggering around the exam room on the smooth floor.  'Dude, you're harshing my buzz, can we please go home now and please tell that giant squirrel in the corner over there to quit staring at me.'  I'm thinking to myself, 'I bet he's just consulting the Internet' and sure enough he comes back in the room and tells me he's consulted his internet vet service and they say his prognosis is good, all we have to do is admit him to the hospital for 24 hours and hook him up to IV fluids and monitor his blood acid (or something, it was 4 am and I was a bit foggy).  So now we go from 'Go on home Missy' to a $750 stint in doggy rehab. 

Can I get a bed next to Robert Downey Jr.?  I hear he knows how to party.

I'm having one of those surreal moments where I wonder if I'm dreaming because I'm not sure how my life has come to deciding on the merits of doggy rehab for my drunk Border Collie at 4 a.m. on a Monday morning.  I notice they're going to run some blood work before admitting him so I suggest that maybe we can run the blood work now and see how bad he is before I commit to this absurd expense.  The vet agrees that maybe that makes sense and the results come back practically normal.  I decide Strummer can dry out at home and the vet gives me some symptoms to watch for that would indicate he's getting worse.  I'm not happy about the $167 vet bill but it's better than $750 and I finally have some piece of mind that he's going to be o.k.

I climb back into bed at 5 a.m. and have nightmares about the vet's creepy tattoo that covers the length of his arm.  I'm up at 7:15 and Strummer is moving a lot better.  I won't go so far as to say he looks good but I'm convinced he's through the worse of it.  The vet did warn that there are such things as doggy hangovers.

Never again.

I wonder how many Chicago style pizzas I could have had mailed to me for $167?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is why I don't cook

One of the things I miss most about Chicago is the pizza.  You can't get Chicago style pizza anywhere else, especially in Boulder.  For a while there was an Eduardo's in Westminster, about 20 minutes away.  It wasn't exactly quite right but it was as close as it  was going to get but unfortunately it shut down.  There was also a take-out place in Boulder that did something close but that was short lived.  We have a chain called 'Old Chicago' but don't even get me going.  I found a place in the suburbs of Salt Lake City of all places when I was in Utah for a trial and it was authentic and fabulous but that's about a 7 1/2 hour drive so not terribly practical.

Anyway, I picked up a cookbook of Chicago style pizzas in a used bookstore in Chicago for $5 and because it was a really good cookbook with photos and descriptions of every little step I learned to make them myself.  The trouble with this is that I got to see how much cheese goes into those things and this dampened my enthusiasm a bit both for making them and bringing them back from Chicago, frozen in an extra suitcase.  But I had the misfortune of coming across a t.v. show that was comparing New York style pizza to Chicago style pizza and trying to determine which was better and we probably shouldn't talk about this t.v. show because first of all the very notion is hilarious and second of all of course the firefighter taster panel in Chicago picked Chicago style pizza and the NY firefighters were certainly going to pick NY no matter what they were judging so where did they go for the tiebreaker?  Now I love California, it's one of my favorite places to visit but I've had the second worst pizza experience of my life in CA (worst was in England where they actually deep fry them or something).  I forget (mercifully) exactly what happened but I'm pretty sure there was pineapple involved.  Californians know nothing of pizza, I'm sorry all my wonderful CA readers and friends, but it's true so of course the people in L.A. picked the NY pizza and this whole thing was so preposterous that it didn't even warrant yelling and swearing and getting aggravated because c'mon, you've got to be kidding me.  ANYway, once the hilariousness of this show wore off I realized I had a terrible craving for some real pizza and since the trails are a slushy, snowy, mudfest I decided I'd give one a shot today.

I walked to the grocery store, got my ingredients and ran into my friend Amelia who I haven't talked to in ages and ended up yakking away and my quick trip turned into over an hour and the stuff I bought was way heavier than I thought it would be even with the small bag of flour instead of the big one so that was not a fun walk home.

The only hard part about the pizza is the crust and you have to make it from scratch.  This involves yeast and hot water  but not too hot or you'll kill the yeast but not too cold or the yeast won't do its thing and that would be bad.  Like ruin the whole thing kinda bad.  And I don't have a cooking thermometer.  I do have a regular check-to-see-if-you're-sick thermometer though.  I'm not sure if it's working properly though and in the end I finally take the risk and pour the water over the yeast with much worry and angst.  I hate the thought of killing the poor yeast, it sounds so cruel.  It's supposed to sit for 5 minutes so it can 'froth'.  They even have a picture in the book of frothing yeast.  My yeast doesn't look like the stuff in the book.


Once it's sufficiently frothy you're supposed to make a well in your flour mixture and pour it in.  When I do this it finally gets a bit upset and starts frothing.  Yay!  Looks like I didn't kill the yeastie beasties after all.  Cooking is fun, it's like science class.

Then you have to knead the dough until it's soft & smooth.  That part's a pain, especially since I sliced a middle finger open yesterday and can't bend it, but I manage in the end and now we have this:

Looks pretty good, yes?  It's a huge accomplishment for me anyway, so many places where this could have headed south.  Now I have to leave it for 1 1/2 hours while the science part takes over and it doubles in size.  I carefully cover it in plastic and then with a dish towel per the instructions.  With 42 minutes to go I peek at it and it looks great, getting bigger for sure.  Hurray, the hard part is done and on my first try!  I can practically taste the pizza now.

And here's where we get to the tragedy part of the story.  I go out for a quick 4 mile run and leave Jonny and all the dogs alone with the dough.  Jonny leaves the dough on the kitchen counter and takes Cody for a walk.  I come home to this:

I don't need to enlist the Scooby Doo crew to solve this mystery, I'm pretty sure I know who the culprit is.

I bust out the hydrogen peroxide and perform my own forensics investigation.  Sure enough in a few minutes the yeast is once again frothing away in a pile in the backyard looking not too unlike the way it looks in the photo above.  I don't have to test Strummer, I know there's no way Miss Lola would share with him.  Thankfully there's no blood anywhere so no one was hurt by the broken glass.  There were no glass pieces in the pile of puke so hopefully she didn't swallow any.  It was a risk making her puke because glass coming back up could have done some damage but I figured it was unlikely she'd swallowed any and if she had the pieces would probably be quite small and buried in the dough.  Sadly we've been through this sort of drama before with broken glass and thankfully she was o.k.

By now it's 4:15 and I would have to go back to the store for more flour and maybe run into someone else I know and another 1 1/2 hours just for the dough to rise and this project seemed a whole lot more fun when I started it at 10:30 a.m. and was not tired from running and making dogs puke.  So Jonny offered to cook dinner and no pizza tonight.  Maybe I'll try again next weekend.  Or maybe I'll see if that place in Utah delivers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What was that I was saying about spring again?

I think maybe I was hallucinating.

Was I really complaining about the 70 degree weather?  Really?

Cody sez let me the hell inside woman, this is madness out here.  And get me some hot cocoa.  Now.

I'm pretty sure if the snow comes up to your stomach it's o.k. to skip the weave pole practice for today.  We did manage a single practice yesterday with the poles at normal distance and it went well.

Somebody was an awesome boy at his agility lesson last night.

Somebody turned 5 this month and received the gift of a brain.  Maybe.  I hope.  We haven't had a lesson with Joy since I think last November or December but the little crazy man did some wonderful stuff out there.  Nice collection on his call to heels and even sent a good long distance to a tunnel with the entrance perpendicular to his line of sight which has always been challenging for him.  Lots of nice focus and control and not so much running amok.  I'm still rushing things at times when I need to hold back or hold my ground but I felt a lot calmer than I normally do.  I think that Mary Ellen Barry/Jenn Crank seminar helped so much as did that Stacy Peardot workshop.

Best of all though he was relatively calm while the other dogs ran and while I walked the courses and talked to Joy.  He even kept his sit-stay while another dog chased his ball right next to him.  He thought about breaking, I could tell, but he didn't and he got lotsa treats for that.  The guy I split my lesson with noticed a change in him too.  Or maybe he was just having a good day.  Today he was inside the house barking his fool head off while I was shoveling snow completely out of sight.  Such a noisy little dork.

Will I ever see my contact trainer again?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More signs of spring

And in my neighborhood too.  I pass those townhouses all the time, how come I never see topless gardening lady with yellow thong and pink gardening gloves?  Gotta love Boulder.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Signs of spring

Today I saw not one but three drunk homeless guys with no shirt.  All in different locations.  O.k., maybe one of them wasn't homeless or maybe even drunk but he could have passed for both and he was wearing a pair of ill-fitting red, white and blue/stars and stripes shorts.  Or maybe more like some kind of stars & stripes material fashioned like a too loose diaper.  Which should count for something though I'm not exactly sure what.  But if all of that isn't a sure sign of spring then I don't know what is.

I sneaked out for short bike ride on the trails today in the 70 degrees sunny day.  Sort of too hot but also sort of felt good to feel too hot.  I've still got an ice floe in my backyard that somehow won't melt even in 70 degree heat.  All those poor polar bears that are missing their sea ice, maybe someone can send them to my backyard, there's plenty to go around.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sweet sweet singletrack

What a beautific sight that dry as a bone trail.  Finally went out on my mountain bike for the first time since maybe November.  Felt so good to hit the trails, I could hardly contain myself.  Took Strum for an off leash run on this same trail yesterday but it was hardly the same as flying down it on my bike.  I can't believe how lucky I am to have these trails right out my back door.  I went out for an 'easy' 2 hour ride and was trashed by the time I got home.  I'm in really good shape in the pool but not so much on the bike and let's say we forget about the running right here right now.  Not sure what I'm going to do about racing triathlons this summer.  Don't want to spend the money on it mostly.

Further up the hill

Looking back downhill at some last remaining snow bits.

It was 35 degrees and cloudy this morning, perfect agility weather, so I took Strum to the field first thing in the morning and had the place to myself.  Weave pole training went great, dogwalk not so much for the reps without the treat gizmo, good (1 miss I think) for the reps with the gizmo.  Sigh.  I hate using props, such a pain to fade them.  Without the gizmo to focus on Strum comes flying at me from about 1/2 way down the board.  Doesn't even leap forward, leaps straight for me with much glee and enthusiasm.  I'm going to go back to using a jump then the gizmo.  Worked on a little lateral send into a serpentine excercise from the Jenn Crank seminar.  We see a lot of serps in DOCNA so it's good to work on those.  I have a habit of turning into the dog on the middle jump of the serp and I'm focusing on running straight and having him come into my hand so I don't have to slow down and get behind.  We're getting better with it.

Splurged on a 23" widescreen monitor and a proper desk chair.  My back finally gave in today, I can't do any more computer work at the dining room table on my laptop.  I'll be getting a new computer too.  My laptop is from 2002 and starting to sputter.  It doesn't have a high enough resolution to support the new monitor despite what the guy in the store said and I need the big monitor for drafting work.  It's amazing what you can get for not a whole lot of money compared to what I have right now.  My laptop has 30 GB of memory and the new ones have a terabyte (1000 GB for those of you who are as out of it as I am) which I'd never even heard of.  I thought my 179 GB external hard drive had an insane amount of memory.  Crazy.  I won't have to keep deleting my photos off the computer once I get them on the external hard drive and I don't have to hook up the hard drive every time I want to process videos.  It's all an unwelcome expense at the moment but I'll be getting some contract work and I need a decent office set up to be productive and not destroy my back and neck.  Guess I'm finally entering the modern age.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yeah, I know it's a tacky ad and yeah, I know, you have to click on the link.  But I didn't want to embed the player in the blog since I think the sounds starts playing as soon as you open the blog, rather than when you click on the player and I hate that.  It's so jarring to open a blog and be greeted with loud music or some kind of noise.

If I had more time I'd make up my own dialog but I'm actually busy with some important type stuff for the next few weeks.  Still, this was kind of funny:  Cody Baloney has words for you.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Haiku Wednesday

Snowflakes on my dogs
My weave poles disappearing
Crap Crap Crap Crap Crap

March can just go ahead and bite me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Quick weave pole tip for the day

If you come back in the house after your 2x2 weave pole training session and there is smoke coming from the kitchen your session was too long.  Also maybe don't try to combine cooking and dog training.

This was Strum's second session with the 4 poles.  His first session he had one miss out of maybe 10-12 reps, different positions around the clock for both him and me.  Today was less successful, I think because this time I used the treat gizmo at the very end of the poles and he got overexcited and kept running straight for the gizmo.  Once he calmed down a little he was perfect but I stayed with him and sent to the poles.  I'll try another session today with my position moving around the clock as well.  His work with the 2 poles was fabulous, I think he finally understands his entries.  Now to see if we can transfer that understanding to the full set.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

I think the 'Alice in Wonderland' people owe us some royalties.  I'm checking under my bed tonight to make sure Tim Burton isn't hiding there.

Off with their heads!

Just don't call me late to dinner.

What is the Hatter with me?


At first I thought he was a shoe-in for the Hatter but the March Hare also bears a shocking resemblance.

 I thought the movie was good, can't go too far wrong with Tim Burton and Jonny Depp.  Factor Disney in though and the movie could have been better.  The characters and effects and Lewis Carroll humor were great but the plot, um, was this 'Alice in Wonderland' or 'The Wizard of Oz'?  They even added in a dog because maybe we were missing a Toto?  I also could have done without the loud, drawn-out battle scene at the end.  That sort of thing always sends me to snoozers.  Still, I enjoyed it despite the predictable, hackneyed plot and thought it was a good Burton/Depp vehicle.  Glad I didn't opt for the 3-D, I was getting enough vertigo with the regular effects.

I was a bit disturbed by the amount of small children there (5-6 years old) and the fact that they didn't seem the slightest bit phased by the violence.  I'm not at all a fan of sheltering kids but this was a violent affair for the kindergarten set and there was nary a peep out of any of them.  Scary that so many young children are desensitized to that level of violence and brutality at such a tender age.  Funny that parents these days are so ridiculously overprotective that they barely let their kids outside to play but they don't think twice about taking them to a movie like this.  Or maybe the kids had all grown bored with the plot and fallen asleep.  I'm hoping for the latter.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Happy Dogs

This video made me smile.  I saw it on the One Bark at a Time blog but since that's a rescue blog maybe some of the agility folk reading here missed it.

It's suddenly spring outside, sunny blue skies, high 50's-shorts weather, at least for running.  Took Strum for a run on the trails and was nearly weeping with joy at the dryness of them.  Seems like I've been slipping around on the ice and mucking through the mud for months now.  I'm not sure if I will ever get the mud out of my mud room.  We did a little fartlek-joring, ie some sprinting then recovering then sprinting again.  I love fartlek runs, they were my favorite type of workout when I was on the track/cross country teams.  So much more fun than intervals on the track.

I'm making a rare foray to the actual in the flesh movie theater tonight to see 'Alice in Wonderland'.  I love Tim Burton and Jonny Depp and 'Alice in Wonderland' is one of my favorite books so I'm supposing I can't go too far wrong here.  I'm not going for the 3-D version though, somehow I think it'll creep me out.  Maybe we'll go for dinner too.  A night out on the town-shocking.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

You gotta love engineers

I had a job interview today and this super genius guy, top of his field working on all this crazy smart, innovative ground breaking type stuff who's interviewing me has a 2"-3" long hole in his pants right across his butt.  I'm dressed up in the fanciest clothes I have and pantyhose no less and I'm staring at this guy's underwear.  Too funny.  At least I didn't have dog kibble on my butt which was a problem I noticed at the last minute at one of my last interviews.  Here's a tip kids, clean off your car seat before you sit down on it in your fancy business suit. 

If they decide they like me I have to go back for a personality test, some other kind of psychological test, an IQ test and an engineering test.  Funny thing is I'm not sure which one I would do the worst on.