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Onward

4 Jan

Cosmo facejpg

Why, hello there.

I have lots of random photos and stories from the past months that I’ve been meaning to share here, but I haven’t really been in the mood. Not for any real reason, I just feel so busy all the time. GAME OF THRONES IS NOT GOING TO WATCH ITSELF! But I do have things to post. Presents to gloat about. Cakes to show off. Dog shenanigans to share.

Honestly, most of the silence is because I haven’t been taking pictures. Like, at all. We even went on vacation and I took just three photos. It’s trauma from putting together the “slideshow” of my dad to show at his memorial service. Now whenever I take a picture of someone, I think of death. Cheerful, right? Trying to get over that. Till then, enjoy some photos of non-people! And maybe one of Stephen covered in fake blood. Because that doesn’t imply death at all!

First, of course, a doggie update. Hugo has gone from this:

Hugo little (and Cosmo!)

I love when you can see wagging tails in dog pics

To this:

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

I can’t believe he was that small when we moved in. Or that he was ever small, period. He is huge. Pretty much everyone who meets him makes the same joke of “Hugo? You mean HUGE-o!”

He’s still super goofy, which is wonderful. This

tongue action

. . . became this

I don't even know what he's doing

I don’t even know what he’s doing

Cosmo is also adorable and smoochable, still, of course. SPEAKING of Cosmo:

Cosmo is fancy!

Cosmo is fancy!

I commissioned my amazingly talented friend Karen to paint Cosmo in a suit, and she only laughed in the nicest way, and she did an AWESOME job (this photo really doesn’t do it justice, the lighting in my house is terrible). I absolutely love it. Shot to the top of my “things to save in a fire” list.* And she’s working on one of Hugo! Yep, I have a commissioned portrait of Cosmo wearing a bow tie. And Hugo is going to be wearing a fedora.

The vacation I mentioned was to Portland, to see Bruce Springsteen. It was fantastic. We stayed in a hotel that had a mural of John Lennon’s face on the wall.

everytime I looked at it I thought "oh, PORTLAND"

everytime I looked at it I thought “oh, PORTLAND.” And that is the face Stephen made when I said “look like John Lennon.”

We hung out with my friend Kristi and her dog Steven. That was really fun. If I was normal I would have pictures of the amazing Ethiopian dinner we went to, and Kristi being cute choosing ice cream flavors from the amazing ice cream parlor she took us to, and then MORE pictures of Kristi being cute with Steven. But I’m not normal, so all I have is one blurry phone picture of Steven mid-prance. But he is enough cute on his own.

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

Portland rained a lot, (SHOCKING) but we had some great food and it was very chill and relaxing. Also, it’s a town that has orange dog statues, and yes, I really want to move there.

he's even smiling!

he’s even smiling!

The highlight (and the whole point) of the mini-vacay was Bruce. Or, BBRRUUUCCEEEEEE, as he’s known to his fans (that was my facebook status the day after the concert, which was the day we saw Kristi, and she said a bunch of her Portland FB friends had the exact same status. Ha!).

We were in a killer location on the floor. Which you can’t tell at all from this terrible picture I took with my terrible phone. Bruce is jjuussssttt behind where the guy in front of me’s hand is, you can kind of see Bruce’s back. Just look for the spotlight and the space where every person’s iphone is pointing. Which is way closer than it appears here.

he's RIGHT there! I promise!

he’s RIGHT there! I promise!

I can’t even explain how phenomenal this concert was. One of my all-time favorite musicians/song-writers was encouraging me to sing along with him to some of my all-time favorite songs, while he was standing close enough to make eye contact with me. Not that we DID make eye contact . . . but man, at the time it felt like he made eye contact WITH MY SOUL. It was life-changing. My feelings were probably akin to what normal people feel when their newborn grasps their finger for the first time. The three-hour concert was one of the most completely pure, fully sincere, wholly un-cynical moments of my life.  The energy and love in that room was unbelievable. Seriously. People WORSHIP this man. We stood next to some Italians who had been following him around for the past 50 shows of his tour. Italians! English isn’t even their native tongue! Springsteen: the universal language.**

Since about March(ish?), Emily and I have been having mini-movie parties. We trade turns picking a movie then hosting a theme night. We’ve had some great themes and epic foods, especially when introducing each other to movies we haven’t seen. Emily had never seen Jaws! I know! So August was Jaws movie night at my house.

I'm very proud of my vegan shark cake

I’m very proud of my vegan shark cake

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remains of Jaws’ kill. Why is the hand larger than the torso? Why did Jaws eat all the toes off the foot? These are the mysteries of the deep, my friends. The ocean tells no tales.

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn't mean the shark is . . .

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn’t mean the shark is . . .

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

Emily's contribution! a fruitful man-eater

Emily’s contribution! a fruitful man-eater

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everyone got into the sharky spirit!

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and I mean everyone

and I mean everyone.

yeah, the whole point was to show off my cake decorating in those first photos, which don’t really do it justice. I was so proud, because I am SO bad at that, but it actually looked good! We’ve done some other great ones . . . here’s the spread from Halloween (when the move was Trick R Treat):

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

I need suggestions for January, if anyone knows a good wintery movie. I’m thinking maybe Winter’s Bone, but other than a lot of bone-shaped treats I’m not sure what the food theme would be. Also it seems lazy to choose a move that has “winter” right in the title.

Speaking of shark attacks . . .

IMGP1438

messy!

Stephen and I went to see the musical Evil Dead for the second year in a row. We went with our friends Lonnie and Marie, and we sat in the front row, and we all got drenched in fake blood. Lonnie and Marie LOVED the show. At one point I was worried Lonnie’s head might pop off, he was laughing so hard. It was really fun to share it with them, and a lot of the same actors were back this year, which is always fun to see that they must love the show too, to do it again. Anyway, the blood! THE BLOOD. Ridiculous. It was just chocolate syrup and food coloring, but it got everywhere. I had to throw out my contacts because they were dyed red when I took them out. It was great. Stephen looked especially gory, I think because the shaved head made the blood stand out. When we were walking out the show’s cast was standing in the lobby, kind of doing a meet-and-greet, and Ash (main character) saw Stephen and starting laughing and pointing at him. Which is always nice to have a stranger do, whilst you’re covered in blood (it was great).

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

And that’s it for now. I was gonna write some house updates, but I have to leave SOME suspense for the next post. There are walls that have been painted and bookcases installed and holes dug in yards by certain dogs and all kinds of craziness! Edge of your seat now, aren’t you? I’ll try not to let another million months go by before an update. What will happen to the internet if I don’t post dog pictures, after all? I don’t think we want to find out.

*More evidence of how I think in morbid, death-ish terms now: while admiring the amazingness of the painting, a voice in the back of my head was like, “after I die and all my possessions are given to a thrift store I hope some really awesome goofy teen buys this painting and hangs it in their bedroom on Mars.”

**I really wanted him to play “Terry’s Song,” which was my main contribution to my dad’s memorial service: the lyrics were printed on the bulletin and the song played during part of the photo DVD. But it is probably best that he didn’t because I would’ve collapsed in a puddle of emotion on floor, and then contracted a polio-syphilis hybrid disease and died because the floor was super gross.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . a million tubas tuba-ing!

5 Dec

toot toot!

When you go to an event called “Tuba Christmas,” this is what you get: Tubas. Christmas.

note the kid wearing shorts in 30 degree weather. CRAZY

I’ve been wanting to go to this every year, but it’s always at like, 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday in December, and damn if that wasn’t always prime homework/final timings. But this year! No more grad school, biznatches! And by “biznatches” I of course mean “tubas”! It was so cute and weird and Christmasy, seeing this group of tuba (and miscellaneous brass instrument) players in front of Boise’s equivalent of the Rockefeller Center Tree, belting out Silent Night on their tubamaphones. Christmas Carols actually translate to tuba really well. Who knew!

The conductor was adorable, he was this little old dude who’s the Tuba Professor at BSU (Tuba Professer!!!!), and he kept encouraging the crowd to sing, and he danced along with the songs, and sang solo himself for the holiday classic “Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas.” I went with my bud’ Erica, and after every song she turned to me and said TUBA CHRISTMAS in the voice most people would reserve for the phrase FREE CHOCOLATE. So that is two hardy votes for the awesomeness of it, and now you are convinced that your Christmas won’t be complete without tuba carols, right? I agree. It won’t be.

So, that was Saturday. SUNDAY I spent literally all day (except for two glorious hours of watching the Muppet Movie for the second time) making stockings for my dogs. Yep. My dogs have stockings, which are now hung by the chimney with care.

those are really more like moose antlers, but you get the gist

I was so excited to make them. As I bought the fabric I had all these dreams of making a ton of them and selling them at Cosmo’s ritzy doggie daycare, all proceeds going back to the Humane Society, and doggie stockings and I would SAVE THE WORLD. Then I realized it takes 8 hours to make two of them . . . and even though I love these two, they are very homemade looking. Homemade looking makes me love them all the more, but no one else would buy them (rightfully so). So, yeah. I will have to save the world some other way. Maybe with cookies? Somehow?

Cosmo's stocking. My mom did the "C" embroidery for me, because I don't quite have those skills. It's funny because I can totally tell it's her handwriting, just from that C (that looks ever so slightly like maybe a G, right? That's mah momz C)

Julius stocking

Notice the nails on Julius’s stocking? Want to know why Julius stocking has nails, but Cosmo stocking doesn’t? This is why:

CLAWS OF DEATH

Poor Julius. He is bald and blind and extremely lumpy, but mother nature made up for all those deficits by giving him KILLER CLAWS OF KILLING DEATH. Unlike normal dogs, who can have their nails clipped, Jules has nails that have veins full through. So if he was a human, his full nail would be the pink nail bed. No white clippable part. His feet are terrifying. So his stocking must represent that, natch.

Luckily he doesn't use his deadly weapons for anything other than prancing (much like a little reindeer prancing on each tiny foot).

 Doesn’t Cosmo do a pretty good imitation of the dog from The Grinch?

He's as cuddly as a cactus

he's got garlic in his soul

Bonus to the stockings: hanging next to each other, they are the initials for a certain Jesus Christ, who I’ve heard is a Christmas birthday boy. That’s gotta win some extra presents from Santa, right?

Antler outtake

With fire and breath, I CREATE YOU

27 Oct

I cannot knit, or really sew, or cook anything without explicit instructions beginning with where to find the ingredients in the grocery store and ending with how to correctly chew and swallow the finished project. But I made this from molten glass and the power of my own breath:

It was just a half-hour, one-on-one glass-blowing workshop. The dude who taught me (read: took my hand step by step) had awesome tattoos and assured me that my pumpkin was the greatest he’d ever seen. I was very scared that I was going to suck instead of blow. And that I was going to suck, generally. But it was really fun, and I’d forgotten how awesome it is to learn something you have no reference for whatsoever.

Like, I learn new things in the realms of things-I-already-know: new recipes, new bike routes, new vocabulary words, new dance moves (ha!). But this was a whole new-newness. Like from back when you were a kid, and had never heard of a platypus before, and then you see one and IT BLOWS YOUR MIND.

I kind of want to take more classes. They have proper classes, where you build on skills and such, and more mini-workshops where you just make stuff. The cool thing about the workshops is that they’re really affordable. Like, the glass studio sells these pumpkins wholesale, made by the professionals, for the same amount they charge for you to make one yourself for yourself. Which makes me think that I should’ve tipped my teacher? Crap. Also, I really wanted my teacher to like me. He was so cool. AND he remembered my name when I picked up my pumpkin, so obviously I’m his favorite.

Other glass-blowing things I learned:

1-Never ask a glass-blower if he has ever burned himself. This is like “asking a carpenter if he’s ever hit his thumb with a hammer.” (NOTE: I did not ask this question. I asked the glass-blower-teacher-god what were the most common questions that people asked when he told them he was a glass blower. Which is my go-to question when meeting someone who has an awesome job and I want to not ask a standard lame question like everyone else does. SIDENOTE: with this same tactic I learned that alligator wranglers often get asked about that whole jaw-too-weak-to-open-if-you-hug-it thing. So don’t ask them that, if you want to be cool.)

2-If you were to, say, suck in when you should be blowing . . . it would be bad. But it is has never happened to a student at this place, so. I would be the first!

3-there are like, five different furnaces you have to put the glass in at various stages before it is finished, all at different levels of heat. Then it has to go in this kiln type place, which requires a full body suit, hazmat-style, just to get close to. It’s nuts! How did anyone ever discover this?

4-the metal rod things are REALLY HEAVY and I am REALLY WEAK. 

5-It was so hot when I was putting the glass in the furnaces, I was really more than a little worried that my contacts would somehow get so hot that they would fuse to my eyes. This did not happen. But how gross would that be?

The rest of the night I was quoting this 30 Rock scene to myself, but substituting “glass” for “moon”:

I OWN YOU, GLASS. I MELTED YOUR FACE!

Bananas! So many uses!

19 Oct

To take a break from the Halloweening, let’s talk ice cream!

I am probably slow on the internet bandwagon, because I feel like I’ve seen it everywhere (at least everywhere on pinterest), but have you guys tried one-ingredient banana ice cream? I am obsessed.

  1. You cut up bananas.
  2. You freeze them. (my best results were with freezing them overnight, but I did some that were frozen for like, two hours. Still tasty, just more kind of melty)
  3. You put them in a food processor.
  4. You hit the button.
  5. You come out with something that’s the consistency of soft-serve, and (if you’re me) you add a little peanut butter, and you LOVE IT.

Seriously. Here’s more detailed steps. It’s so good. Sometimes, I just want the consistency of something, more than the flavor. Like, I might not know what I want to eat, but I know it must be in a bowl that I can take big mouthfuls of, or I know that I need to eat it with my hands. I don’t know, it’s just a thing. Which is why this is so great! When I want ice creamy goodness, it totally tricks my brain into thinking it’s ice cream, but it’s fruit! Take THAT, dumb brain! HA!

If I had kids, I would totally give this to them and claim it was real ice cream, and the ONLY ice cream. Then when they got to college and found out there was more than just banana flavor of ice cream, oh-ho! Would they be surprised!

I hate my food processor. It’s so hard to clean. I avoid using it at all costs. I used it to make “ice cream” three times last week. Which means I dirtied and cleaned my processor three times. Which means I really like this shit.

Also,  it’s kinda crazy how it goes from sandy grainy to silky smooth in two seconds. Magic! Or, science. (to me they are basically interchangeable). 

Happy Anniversary!

1 Aug

When I first moved back to Boise, “two years” was the big blinking deadline circled in red and highlighted bright orange in my brain’s calendar. Deadline for what? Dunno. Life, I guess? Two years was the bare minimum it would take me to get my masters. Two years was the time I had left in my 20s. Two years seemed long enough for my future self to figure future stuff out; two years was short enough to not seem overwhelming to my then-present (now past) self who was taking a scary, non-figured out leap. (follow all that?)

And here we are. Today marks two years, bitches! While Boise and I still have our differences (WHY must you close EVERY good sushi restaurant on Sundays, Boise? And WHY do you not offer Indian food delivery? Huh? Don’t even get me started on Ethiopian food and the lack thereof. Boise, we have some things to work on, food-in-my-mouth-wise), I have to say that if 28-year-old-leaving-NYC-me knew that two years later I would be living with a cute goofy guy who makes great brownies, in a house with two doggies who play in the yard, and that I get to spend time with a four year old who loves to feed giraffes as much as I do, and that I know the best caves and waterfalls and hiking spots in all the SW of the state, and that I’ve made some really great friends and found some really great buffets and actually graduated within my desired timeframe and have a job that pays me enough that I can send my not-so-nearby friends the occasional care package . . . I would be pretty stoked.

Here’s to us, Boise!

I am so one with the Potato Spirit of Idaho that my feet have melded with its very potato essence, so that I am actually floating in this photo with the Potato God.

Reader, I adopted him

28 Jul

Remember when I said that a puppy would solve all my problems? Well, I decided to test that theory.

sitting loyally at my feet on our first meeting (he has read his Doggie Handbook)

I’ve long had my heart set on a Newfoundland or Bernese Mountaint or Great Pyrenees doggie. For those of you who don’t know dog breeds, these are all fluffy and huge and hugely fluffy doggies. It’s not so much that I wanted a specific breed, I just wanted something big and fluffy. But Stephen would only consider a dog who would be medium sized, so that he wouldn’t overwhelm our old grumpus dog with super-sized puppyness. I still had big and fluffy dreams, but was ready to settle for medium and cute and cuddly (fluffy isn’t a great idea in Idaho summers anyway, and our living areas are pretty cramped spaces for 100 lbs of energy to be running through). My landlords, however, were leaning towards only allowing us to adopt a 12 year old Chihuahua with no legs (ie, a small dog who has none of the puppy zooms that lead to destruction of property). 

he learned from watching Julius (sigh . . .)

About two weeks ago I decided to test my landlords’ resolve by asking them about adopting a little pug from the Ada County Shelter. They were open to the idea, and even though the pug didn’t work out, their openness allowed me to go into Full On Delta Force Death Con Alpha Puppy Search mode, now that I knew the puppy would not end up living on the streets with us in a cardboard box (after we were evicted for getting the puppy, you see).

I dragged Stephen to several local shelters in the surrounding counties. This was a big deal for him, since he was attacked by a pit bull a few years ago, and half the dogs in any shelter around here are pit bulls. He’s not a fan of walking down halls with big pit bulls barking at him from both sides and throwing themselves at the kennel doors. But he is just another example of how searching out the perfect puppy can compel one to great lengths of courage.

We found this guy in the Canyon County Shelter.

love at first strangle--er, neck rub

He’s 9 months old, a german shepherd mix who had been turned in as a stray. He met Stephen’s requirements of being only-medium sized,  and met my requirements of having an exemplary butt wiggle and overwhelming cuteness. He was just the tops. When we walked past his cage the first time, he wagged his tail so hard that his body went into what scientists call “kidney bean butt.” In layman’s terms, this means that his whole back half wiggled to the point that his tail was basically touching his nose in an extreme kidney bean shape. And when we kept walking past him he jumped up on the fence door of his kennel and watched us go, puppy eyes set to maximum guilt-power.

We couldn’t adopt him that day because we were there just 20 minutes before close, and there was paperwork and such to fill out. Plus, there was an ad for pug-rottweiler mix puppies that we were planning on investigating. Mostly because HOLY WHAT THE HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN. It is a love that dares to cross the boundaries of logic and physics.

WHAT

HOW

Also, those are two breeds that we both really like, and the combination seemed too good to pass up. But that was before we had gone to the CC Shelter. Stephen was still into meeting the puppies (who were really young, like 6 weeks, which was a point in the negative column), but he saw that I had already made the shelter pup’s picture the background on my phone, and he knew it was a lost cause (and was very sweet about it. Also, the pugweilers were four hours away round trip, so that was kind of daunting).

he's also mastered the puppy head-tilt

And thus, we adopted Cosmo Adama. The name choice is a whole other saga. We had a few days before getting him, because he had to be fixed, and it was torture trying to namestorm without gazing into his little puppaduppa face for inspiration. We agreed on Cosmo with the caveat that Stephen can only make a Seinfeld reference (as in, Cosmo Kramer) once a month (because I kind of hate Seinfeld). But Cosmo really suits him. He’s smart and goofy and very cuddly, and I’m worried he’s going to break his back before he’s a year old, from his kidney bean love for all the world (except men in baseball hats. No loves for them).

sleepy puppy

And yes, that little face pretty much solves all my problems.

Idadventuring

12 Jul

I’ve been trying to spend at least one weekend day Idadventuring around the good ol’ gem state. Even though I grew up here, my parents were more of the read-and-play-board-games variety, instead of the ski-camp-hike variety that is more native to Idaho. Which was FINE with me, but it meant we never explored much outside of a ten mile radius. Which is maybe part of why I still get lost in Boise, despite having lived here 10+ years (also, I have the directional memory of a goldfish, but whatever).

So despite insane gas prices and insane heat, Idadventuring has been fantastic. I am still enjoying the fruits of last weekend’s adventure: cherry picking! Ok, not exactly evil kenieval style adventure, that, but we braved birds and bees and got berries! [sidenote: I went cherry picking with Stephen, Raluca and Raluca’s husband Rob. As Raluca and I were chatting in front of the cherry weighing station, we see Rob start violently whacking the owner of the orchard with the top of a cardboard box (which were there to help transport cherries). Raluca was like, WHAT THE FUCK ROB (it looked like the guy had seriously insulted Rob’s mom, from the beating he was taking), but it turned out the guy had a huge bee on his back. He had given Rob permission to de-bee his back, since the orchard owner is deathly allergic (he showed us the epi-pen on his belt even). A former NYC firefighter, Rob is not one to do anything half-ass, hence the whacks. It just looked extra violent, because it was on the guy’s back, so the scene looked like the orchard owner was cowering in fear, as Rob snucked up and got medieval on him. But how much does it suck to own a family orchard and be allergic to bees?]

with a white hand and a cherry tree

stop crying for food, dumbly birdies. NATURE'S CANDY IS ALL AROUND YOU

Walking through the trees, hearing other pickers talk, it seemed we were the only native English speakers there. A lot of Eastern European sounding languages, and a lot of big families just picnicking under trees, lazily picking cherries and drinking wine. It reminded me of the strawberry picking scene in Emma (holla Jane Austen nerds!). So, you go Emmett, Idaho! Get down with your multicultural farm-counrty badass self!