Sunday, January 31, 2010

clean floors

As I was doing a bit of cleaning today, I decided to write my first "clean floors" post. I don't know about you, but my eyes can focus on the most minuscule dust particle and not one second later I am completely obsessed with cleaning it. I have been known to get up in the middle of a conversation to adjust a crooked picture frame or pick up a single string from the carpet.

Last night I got home at 11:45pm and noticed some crumbs on the kitchen floor. I wish I could say that I ignored them and went to bed but I did not. I busted out the broom and dustpan (would have gotten out the dust-buster, but Ryan was sleeping) and swept the whole kitchen/laundry room. Ah, much better now I can get ready for bed...after I clean the water spots off the bathroom faucet and wipe the food particles from flossing off of the mirror. Just a small note, they are not MY food particles, but I digress.

Where was I going with this post? Ah yes, clean floors. I don't know about you, but I cannot wear socks unless I also have shoes on which means that I am barefoot about 99% of the time. This leads to me finding every single little crumb with my feet, I DETEST finding crumbs with my feet. They get stuck to the skin and you have to stop what you are doing and bend over and brush them off and gross! Needless to say, I do a lot of vacuuming and sweeping. I also used to do quite a bit of mopping. Not the new age swiffer wet jet kind of mopping that not only doesn't work for shit but is toxic to pets and children who walk/crawl on the floor. I mean hands and knees, bucket of warm soapy water, Cinderella style mopping. It really is the only way to actually clean floors, or so I thought.

Internet, let me introduce you to my best friend, the steam mop.

Not only does it clean up all kinds of funk, it also dries floors almost immediately and sanitizes surfaces with nothing but water. That means no chemicals, no hands and knees scrubbing and no drying time. Amazing right? It can't get any better...it is about to. This mop in particular, and quite a few other brands, also come with a sanitizing tray. This enables you to sanitize your carpeted floors (bye bye fleas), sofas, mattresses, and husbands. Kidding...kind of.

Anyway, I typically steam hard floors once a week and carpet and furniture once a month. I think it is a pretty good schedule. I admit sometimes I skip a week here and there, but with 12 paws and 4 feet walking through this house it is bound to ALWAYS be a bit dirty and that's OK.

Daily Abner

I think this picture needs a modesty patch.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Daily Abner

I can't guarantee that I will actually post a new picture every day, but I couldn't think of a clever title so...enjoy

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"EVERYONE IS BARFING!"

I have mentioned my two dogs before, but I am not sure I have ever told you about my kitty. She is incredibly friendly, drools when you scratch her chin, chirps like a bird when she is happy, stands out in the rain and has the most beautiful green eyes you have ever seen. Her name is Gerogia and recently, she has become bulimic.


Maybe she has been reading too many fashion magazines or hanging out with really thin neighborhood cats that are wreaking havoc on her self-image. No matter the reason, I'm sick of cleaning up BARF!

It all started about two weeks ago when I woke up to a giant pile of vomit on the coffee table. I was like, COME ON PEACH! (we call her Peach more often than Georgia) UH! So annoyed. I grab a few paper towels and clean up the puke in a fancy rolling fashion I have perfected after years of cleaning up after numerous animal bodily functions. I figure it is an isolated incident and carry on with my morning coffee.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Over the past two weeks Peach has puked on the carpet, the dining room table, the living room floor, the kitchen counter, the arm of a club chair, and finally, the sofa. What the hell! I'm over it!

Me: I'm not feeding the cat anymore!

Ryan: That is animal abuse.

Me: but she isn't even eating it, she is just throwing it up, she has probably thrown up 10 dollars worth of food!

Ryan: uhhhh

Me: Well, I'm going to start feeding her outside.

Ryan: uhhhh

Me: Fine, I'll feed the cat but I'm cutting her WAY back!

I have discovered after a bit of trial and error, that the precise amount of food Peach can intake in one meal is 14 nuggets of kibble. Starting yesterday, I feed her exactly 14 nuggets of kitty kibble at a time and guess what, no puke. Yes, I counted 14 nuggets and no, I do not have too much time on my hands, I have too much BARF on my couch!

Friday, January 22, 2010

This is Jeopardy

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I make judgements about people I have never met. Tonight, Ryan and I were watching Jeopardy and one of the contestants immediately rubbed me the wrong way. I mean instantly. The second I laid eyes on her I HATED her. I hated how she spoke, her body language, the nervous way she moved her mouth, the anxious way she wiggled, waiting to push that little button to answer the question. After getting lost in my own world for a minute, I looked to Ryan.

Me: Is this chick annoying you as much as she is me?

Ryan: YES!

Me: She's probably a mouth breather too.

Ryan: Yeah, gross.

Me: I could really go for Fosters Freeze.

Ryan: Mmm, french fries.

I knew I loved him

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twinkle Toes

What to do on a rainy day when your dog won't let you paint her toenails...

Paint your husbands toenails

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Petite Education: Chard

This is the first entry in the new "food" section I mentioned starting a bit ago. Let me just begin by stating that I have no experience or education in the culinary field and I by no means intend to teach anyone anything life changing. I simply would like to share some unique foods that you may have never tried, fun new ways to cook the foods you already like, and perhaps share a few food related lessons I have learned over the years.
Today, let’s talk chard. Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla), also known as Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Crab Beet, Seakale Beet and Mangold is a leafy vegetable with shiny green ribbed leaves and stems that range from white to yellow and red. It has a slightly bitter taste and is much more palatable if it is cooked or sautéed; the bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a much sweeter, refined flavor.

You can purchase chard leaves at your local farmers market or in the fresh produce section of your grocery store for about $1.75 a bunch. Once you get the chard home, rinse the leaves in cool water, trim off the bottom couple inches of stem and store leaves in either a lettuce bag or a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Chard is quite perishable so try to use it as soon as possible after purchase.
So now that you have the chard what the hell are you supposed to do with it, and what is it going to do for you? First, what is chard going to do for you? Swiss chard is packed with nutrition. It is an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, carotenes, chlorophyll, and fiber. It is also an excellent source of several minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Swiss chard is also a good source of many other nutrients including vitamin B6, protein, calcium, thiamine, selenium, zinc, niacin, and folic acid. It is also one of the most powerful anti-cancer foods due to its combination of traditional nutrients; phytochemicals, chlorophyll, other plant pigments, and soluble fiber. The generous amount of vitamin K that is contained in Swiss chard is especially beneficial in the maintenance of bone health (everynutrient.com). Sounds good right… now, what to do with it.
My favorite thing to do with chard is cut it into 1 inch pieces and toss it into soups during the last 10 minutes of simmering. It adds a unique texture and flavor that other vegetables can’t. You can also add it to pasta dishes like pasta primavera or lasagna. If you are the adventurous type, you can eat it on its own by cutting the leaves into ½ inch pieces and either blanching it for about 5 minutes in salted boiling water or sautéing it with one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until wilted, about 8 minutes. Oh, the possibilities are endless! If you are neither a soup eater, pasta eater, or the adventurous type, here are a few recipes to try.
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1/2 small red onion, diced
• 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• salt to taste (optional
Method
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed. (Source: allrecepies.com)
Spicy Swiss Chard (this is my recipe)
• 1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
• 1 small clove garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 Tbsp water
• Pinch of dried crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicy)
• 1 teaspoon butter
• Salt
Method
1 Rinse Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk and discard. Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.
2 Heat saucepan to medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute, until garlic starts to smell, add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Rotate leaves after about 5 minutes and if it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Cover again. Check for doneness* after another 5 minutes.*chard is done when it is fully wilted, juicy and tender to the tooth. Add salt to taste and finish with butter. Mmmmm
Ok, so now that you know a bit about chard, go out and try it! What do you have to loose? Fine, I suppose if you hate it you would have lost about $3.00 so to offset the cost, skip Starbucks or the drive thru today, you’ll thank me later. One more tidbit, if you are lucky enough to have carrera marble countertops, beware. Like beets, red chard WILL STAIN your countertop and then you will blame me and hunt me down and not only make me reimburse you the $3.00 but also replace your countertops.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A discerning palate

I have been sitting here for the past hour trying to figure out how to write this story. It is a somewhat sensitive subject that requires a bit of a back story, but not too much boring detail. It is also a story that requires me to apologize in advance for my language but trust me, if you choose to read on you will understand that there was no substitute for shit.

You all know by now that I have two dogs that I am mildly obsessed with and think everything they do, even the destructive and disturbing things are pretty damn cute and entertaining. One thing I do not find cute or entertaining is the eating of strange, off limits and/or disgusting items. Abner is by far the biggest culprit, ingesting everything from rocks to earthworms, but it is Lilly who has the nastiest hunger of all…the hunger for CAT SHIT. She has been known to smell a pile a block away and LUNGE, mouth open consuming the entire pile in one gulp. She then cowers as though we are going to beat her with a golf club and curls her lip into a guiltless smile. She then spends the next 10 minutes of the walk looking back at you saying;” I didn’t mean it, I just can’t help myself. I am so disgusted with my actions, but it is SO FUCKING DELICIOUS!”

Abner has a different tactic called pick up object, try to get it past my enormous lips and then chew it to death with my tiny chiclet teeth. This serves him well when he is eating sticks and bugs, but when it comes the shit he has a lot to learn.

A few days ago my mom and I were talking both dogs off leash on the trail behind her house where they love to run and play. Everything was going great until we came upon a cluster of bushes that Abner seems abnormally interested in. I typically put him on the leash near these bushes because I am worried that he will chase a woodland creature and end up smelling like a skunk or killing a baby bunny, either way, nobody wins. On this day though, my mom brought along some chicken that we use to call the dogs back to us so they wouldn’t need to be put on their leashes. Well, that chicken worked for Lilly but Abner just stood in the bushes in all his stubborn glory staring at me like; “ what do I care, I know you will give me chicken at some point in my life, I can wait, I am a bulldog!”

I decided to try one of the training tips I learned in puppy school and run away from him like I was having a great time hoping that he would follow, but there he stood looking at me like I was the crazy one which I totally am by the way. I knew he wasn’t going to follow me; he NEVER followed me when I tried that trick. Defeated I walked back to the bushes to pick his sorry ass up and physically remove him from the situation but when I got back I couldn’t see him. Worried he was killing a bunny or fighting a coyote, I walked around behind the bush and was horrified to see him licking what appeared to be a giant pile of shit. I screamed at him and moved him away. That is when the pieces started coming together.

Near that giant pile of shit was an equally large crumpled piece of toilet paper, the area was off the trail and pretty well screened from passers by…OH.MY.GOD it was human shit…HUMAN SHIT…MY DOG JUST ATE HUMAN SHIT!
I tried to talk myself out of what I had just witnessed, tried to think any other possible thought, but every time I tried my mind went back…MY DOG JUST ATE HUMAN SHIT. I was so stunned that I was nearly speechless. I tried to find words to describe how I was feeling but all I could get out was who would shit in the bushes? Is there a person who lives there? Is there a person who goes for morning walks and knows they aren’t going to make it home so they carry toilet paper and just make little pit stops along the way? IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT, STAY CLOSE TO HOME!

I will never be able to look at my dog the same…NEVER

In poor taste

Sometimes when I am alone I like chew with my mouth open, smacking my food like an utterly classless slob. I have no idea why I do this, but it feels so good for some reason, like breaking all the rules with no consequences.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

clean floors, dirty paws

From now on I am going to have two new sections appropriately titled clean floors and dirty paws. In the clean floors section I will talk about some of my favorite cleaning tips and tricks, new and effective products and maybe some environmentally friendly ideas for cleaning everything form your home to your pets. In the dirty floors section I will talk about why my floors get so dirty and share some fun stories about the 12 paws I love and love to curse. I am also considering blogging about food and recipes. Not because I am a particularly good cook, but because I love food and I love eating. I love eating so much I'm going to go grab some cookies right now. They are 100% whole wheat flour...don't judge me!

P.S when I say "two new sections," I don't really mean new sections. I don't even think blogs have sections. Well, I guess they do if you have a fancy blog that people actually read. Until then my sections will be as planned, imaginary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Klean n' Shine


Anyone who has met me knows that little things like smashed pillows on the sofa, crumbs on the counter, water spots on the faucet fixtures, crooked picture frames and dust bunnies don’t bother me at all. So what I am about to tell you may shock you.
I few days ago ran out of crack, I mean Klean n’ Shine, a cleaning product from the 70’s that is so toxic it foams at the mouth but I can not stop using it because it cleans EVERYTHING and doesn’t streak and F you planet, I do a lot for you already, I LOVE KLEAN N’ SHINE. Anyway, I felt the can getting low and made a note to pick up a new can or 10 at the only remaining retailer brave enough to carry this cleaner, Star Market. I grab my cloth bags, see, I told you planet, and head for the market. I make my way directly to the cleaning aisle and scan the usual area only to find that there is no Klean n’ Shine. I try to remain calm but when I see that there isn’t even an empty spot where it is supposed to be, or a tag marking its old spot I begin to panic. I find an employee and he informs me that they no longer carry Klean n’ Shine and apologizes for the inconvenience. Inconvenience doesn’t even begin to describe it buddy, don’t you know I HAVE FAUCETS THAT NEED POLISHING! The worst part, I probably walked that aisle for 5 minutes after he left, searching for a can that was left behind.
Once I gained my composure, I went to the only other person I knew would have a can, my mother. You see, she is the reason for my addiction; she is the one who introduced me to the drug and used to have me run my hand across a countertop so smooth you could see yourself in it. She is also the same one who reminds me every time she sees me use Klean n’ Shine that you really shouldn’t use it on the floors. A person could fall and hurt themselves don’t you know. She knows from experience. She is also the one who, when they stopped carrying Klean n’ Shine at most retailers, ordered an entire box online to put in her bomb shelter along with clear sodas, non-prescription reading glasses and hair dryers.
I kind of danced around the question at first, knowing she does not part with a can of Klean n’ Shine easily. I have been turned down before, but I think she noticed the look of panic in my eyes. She generously offered to give me one can from her stash but pointed out that I would have to order my own 50 count box in the future. But don’t worry, she gave me the website address.