Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

This Lent season has gone incredibly fast and here we are: Good Friday. This has probably not been one of the more peaceful times for me, but even focusing on a charity once a week can be a good reminder of the larger world out there and often times, much larger problems.

One of the things I talked about "giving up" for Lent was obsessive job searching and in the end I have actually be successful. As it turns out, it wasn't so much about "physically" limited my job search time on the computer as it was making peace with the situation I am in right now and redirecting energy a bit. This sounds considerably more zen then the actual process was.

Rather than just saying I will finish this accounting certificate whenever it happens I have made it a greater priority which means more classes per quarter and a greater focus on homework and studying. Right now my goal and hope is completion by the end of summer quarter. By shifting my focus a bit more on school I have taken control over something I can actually change.

For this Good Friday I have two wonderful charities that I have featured before. Both founders would be people I would love to meet and I love their stories of recognizing a need and working towards a dignified solution.

Caterina's Club - a program make sure low income children get a hot meal. I have noticed that this organization is branching out to try and get these families into apartments and help create some physical stability in these children's lives.

Early Childhood Development Center - this organization provides support for the children in Nepal when their mothers are in jail. The kids often go to jail with their mom rather than living on the street.

Enjoy this Good Friday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break Is Too Short

This week is flying! I am not at all ready to face Spring quarter, but it starts Monday so I better get my act together.

I have been sewing up a storm, and have finally found an annoyance with the Baby Lock Crescendo.

So here is the deal: I don't mind a bobbin low light or fact I like having one. What I do mind is the warning repeatedly popping up. And every single time it does, it slows the sewing machine down while you are sewing and dings.

I would say I experienced about 15 of these until the bobbin finally ran out. 

There is no way I am the only person that always runs the bobbin completely out. I don't know what went on in the usability testing of this feature, but I don't approve. :)

Thankfully the bobbins are larger than normal, even if they do load backwards to Pfaff which is so far the main thing I have had to retrain my brain on. Tomorrow is another sewing machine class!

We have mostly be blessed with some really nice weather. Every day Nim is patrolling his yard...

...and every day I am making a dent in salvaging my apple trees. You may not be able to tell, but I have done a ton of clearing.

Have you ever noticed how suddenly spring is just there and literally overnight you are behind in weeding? That is the current yard situation for me.

Tomorrow is Good Friday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sunshine and Sewing

This morning the cats woke me up around 3am because the pellet stove wasn't working and they wanted to know what I was going to do about it.

I kicked it a few times and when nothing happened I tried to go back to bed. The cats were not cooperating, so I gave up, and did an early AM hike so that I would be fortified to deal with the pellet stove today.

Yesterday I got some sewing time and the sun came out! My first order of business was to spend 15 minutes looking for this special screw driver that was right in front of me the entire time. Once I found it I figured it was a good time to take a photo of my henna with it.

Next I changed out the plates. The one on the right is called the straight stitch sewing plate (or something like that) what I like most about it is the tiny hole near the bottom as opposed to the elongated opening on the left plate. The tiny hole can't suck the corners of my triangles in.

Next I went to my new favorite Baby Lock Crescendo screen which tells how many stitches I have put on the machine.

I briefly dealt with this fraying fabric. Misha is right, it needs Fray Check, and a lot of it. I have decided to pull the fabric and use a different central fabric. That was enough to make me decide to start yet another quilt.

I am going to be working on a scrappy version of Snail's Trail. There is a really cool version out there with stars as well, but it must be a purchase pattern and I can't quite figure it all out.



Emile needed to take a nap after roughing up the fabric while I tried to plan color. So he sent Leela in for reinforcements as I started cutting. Yes. I wash all my quilts.

These are the center blocks. There are going to be some issues with the darks and lights not being distant enough, I can already tell. We will see how this works.

Lastly, on Sunday night I was in bed knitting and Nim was asleep against my leg. I finally looked down at him and he was sleeping with his toy in his mouth! (His eye is open in the photo because I totally busted him and was laughing at him).

So apparently the green thing is the current cherished toy. Nim likes to switch them up. It was a rope-giraffe just prior to this, and had been for about a month.

Just waiting for the sun to come out! But more sewing ahead.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Good Boy Nim

I don't blog about Nim's volunteer work out of both respect for the people we serve and to maintain some balance in my own life, but today was a blog-worthy occasion in our search and rescue world.

Nim passed his search and rescue trailing certification test today! The above photo is his proud celebration at the end. He did an amazing job considering his highly stressed handler (me).

The toy was made for him for special by my sister. It is all knitted, with squeakies at each "bulb." I was saving it since Christmas just for this occasion. :)

There is no way I can get through a milestone like this without a nod to Odin, my first SAR dog, who was totally on my mind when Nim and I certified today.

(Odin 2007)

Nim and Odin have different personalities and I am not doing the same primary discipline with Nim that I did with Odin, but without Odin I wouldn't be a SAR K9 handler at all. Odin was right there with Nim and I today. :)

(Odin 2005)

Good Boy Nim!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sun on a Saturday and Dog Treats

Today was still cold, but the sun came out.

Ah, to be a cat or a dog and your only worry is sharing the sunspot.

Or "negotiating" the sunspot.

Or claiming your own sunspot.

In addition to some cookie baking and housecleaning I tried out a dog treat recipe from Kathy Sdao's site. She is hands down one of my most favorite trainers/behaviorists.

This recipe is very basic to follow. I did the oatmeal version.After slicing up the logs I went ahead and chopped everything down into treat size and microwaved them on a paper towel. I am not sure about this step, but I wanted to bring them to share with other dogs tomorrow so I needed them to not crumble.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Snowy Spring, Sarahenna, Puppy Rescue Mission, and Diamond Collar Awards

Good morning! The snow/rain mix that they talked about turned out to be more real snow out here.

I am glad I got home earlier than planned last night. It is still snowing lightly this morning, but planning to "warm up" during the day.

Yesterday I got my hands done by Sarahenna. Sarah does beautiful work. 

I needed a quarter-end celebration art + something pretty on these darker weather days. Thankfully I wasn't able to meet her until Thursday because on of my unexpected odd jobs this week involved caring for chickens which is sort of dirty work. I got to hold one which is surprisingly fulfilling.

We got a small walk in before the rain just started dumping. Then Nim sat in the car bored and hardly dented energy-wise while I had my henna appointment. Too bad I can't henna him.

There have been some great stories in the news this week to counter the not-so-great ones.

The Puppy Rescue Mission is the natural answer in my opinion to the relationships that form under the stress of war in places where animals are not given much consideration at all - unfortunately including by some of our soldiers?! This organization helps with the connections and support necessary to get the integrated companions out of the war zone.

Oregon Human Society Diamond Collar Award is a program for recognizing heros in the life of animals. Please enjoy the video of Koshka and Staff Sergeant Jesse Knott. While it looks like Koshka's trip to the US was privately and family funded, this is very much a similar story of mutual need and companionship, like the ones on The Puppy Rescue Mission site.

(Anyone else finding that Blogger is fickle this morning? Did they do a template change or something?)

Have a great Friday!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Knitting Help and Mushroom Stout Pie with Potato Biscuits

What a cold Sunday! The snow line came way down out here, but at least we still got a touch of sun.

In honor of my break it was time to make one of the recipes I have been holding off on. This is Mushroom Stout Pie with Potato Biscuit by Post Punk Kitchen.

My main modification was sweet potato for the biscuits which came out wonderful. This recipe came out quite well! I am glad she reduced to three cups liquid, I think 4 would have been too soupy. One could argue I went too heavy on the pepper, but at least I am the only one eating it. I also subbed 1 tablespoon miso for the beer. I don't drink often enough to justify buying the beer, miso however I consume in large quantities. I totally recommend the recipe!

Emile and I have a very fragile truce surrounding the knitting project. He can have his paw there...but no biting. In exchange for his cooperation I will keep the electric blanket on high.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Spring Break Can Start Now

Don't let this angelic photo of Leela fool you. This happened after my exam.

For those who have actually witnessed Leela pouncing and chasing her tail you know that she is pretty vocal about it. Apparently her tail was extra ornery today.

The only other time I have had that much noise during an exam is when the pellet stove stopped working. As the house got colder and colder the cats got more vocal and because the exam was timed I couldn't stop to deal with it at that moment.

The flood-producing rain they predicted all week actually happened today not to mention some pretty high winds which is still persisting. It was impressive. I hope everyone has a great weekend. 

Slacking, Pigs Peace Sanctuary, and Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park

Here it is, Saturday morning, and I will I could say my final was done! It is not. It opened while I was out for walking and obedience around 4:30pm. By the time I got home and in front of my computer it was after 8pm and Nim looked like this:

He made me so sleepy that I just couldn't open the 3 hour final. It isn't due until Monday, but until it is done, my break hasn't started. Hopefully later today.

Yesterday before obedience we went to Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond and attempted some obedience around the farm life.

This is hard stuff and wasn't pretty at first...the goats scattered and moved to higher ground:

Eventually we worked on a "loaded" down stay (at best). You know when you dog can hardly take a treat that they are WAY over threshold. Note the farm cat in the background which I also had to keep an eye on.

There was actually a lot of farm workers out that day which created a second distraction. The moment one talked to him, Nim took it as permission to break. To that man's credit, once he realized what happened he told Nim he was "good" with each subsequent pass as Nim held his down.

Nim struggled so. The goats of course were very interested in him as long as he was in a down and not yelling.

The cats were interested in him as well. And farm cats tend to not be shy. Around the time this guy showed up, so did the chickens. Note, no photo of chickens. Sigh.

The pig was the least stimulating for some reason, or Nim had just complete wore himself out by the time we got to the pig. After the pig we left the barn and went for a long walk with Nim's GSD friend Jack.

Pigs Peace Sanctuary

The pig yesterday reminded me of one of my favorite local non-profits and I always like to feature them during Lent time.

Pigs Peace does a lot in the pig rescue world and trust me, there is a need. Thankfully the Pot-Bellied Pig trend is considerably slowed, but they even get some of those as rescues. When their visiting hours start up again later in the year I hope I can make it out there. I love what they do.

Have a great Saturday and be thinking good finals thoughts for me! I need to kick my own rear and just do it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Days Without Sun


I think the main reason I am happy this week is about over is that soon my final will open and then this quarter can be done and tomorrow I have a sewing lesson on my new machine. :)

Weather-wise we didn't get quite the flood producing rain they were predicting, but there has still been heavy rain spells and absolutely no sun.

The above kiosk is the latest addition at the Tokul Rd end of the Snoqualmie Railroad Grade. Apparently it is also a favorite dog pooping spot. Seriously, some of you are making the rest of us dog owners look bad.

I have such a list of things I want to do on the break between quarters! Nim is tired just thinking about it.

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beautiful Weekend

It is sunny today which means I got a lot of housecleaning done.:)

Now I can think more clearly with my house in order. We are getting really cold at night, but the past two days have been beautiful!

Once again, I missed my Friday charity. Fridays are little devils right now! But this week I couldn't decided between two, so two it is:

Dogs on Deployment - dogs in need of a home is heavy on my mind right now. There is a doberman in need of hospice care right now that it is absolutely killing me not to be able to take in for his end of life. Then this week there was an article calling out for temporary homes for dogs during their human deployments.That is how I learned about Dogs on Deployment. Take some time to check out their site, maybe you even have room for temporary boarding.

Save the Nautilus - this one I just couldn't pass up. I am totally sucker for young people taking up a passionate cause. These two young men even got a chance to accompany Dr. Peter Ward on his latest Nautilus study. Check out the artwork and get educated on the devastation to the nautilus population from jewelry. I have to admit I didn't even know how prevalent the usage was.

Before I leave you on this nice Saturday, now about some cat toy antics...

The cats have more or less divided the toys, the fish from Cindy is Emile's, and the pink kong fluffy thing is mostly Leela's.

Thursday I came home and found Leela's on the kitchen window sill.

Leela looked disgruntled.

This may be the closest I have ever seen Emile come to laughing.

Have a great weekend.