Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coming Soon...

This is Cadbury. He'll be coming to live with us on Saturday!

We're very excited, but a little sad, too. It makes it so final that Tid is really gone and not coming back. Stupid, I know.

He's a really fun guy who loves to play.

Cadbury sounds like a love and I know we're going to be great friends. Check this space for more info on Saturday!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stay Tuned!

We may be getting a new bunny in the next few days! We're very excited and hope this turns out to be a good arrangement for everyone. I'll post more details once I'm sure if this will be happening. The bunny in question might not be ready for fame, so it's important to set expectations.

AND! The second print draft of my book arrived today! I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm a weirdo who actually likes the editing process. Hopefully I won't find many errors and then I can make it available for purchase, simultaneous with a web serialization.

Lots of cool stuff happening around here!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Catching Up

It was another busy week around here and I have a little catch-up to do.

For starters, I still don't have any pics from the Seventies party. I'm going to ask again on Monday and each following Monday until someone at the office ponies up. We've got a lot of things going on right now though, and the primary custodian of the photos is busy putting together our annual Benefits Fair, so I figured it wasn't a good time to be too persistent.

I've got my second print draft of Steal Tomorrow en route from Lulu with my fancy new front and back covers, so I'm looking forward to getting it this week and seeing how it looks. I'd like to begin posting the story before the end of August, but in the meantime I'm posting extra content on the blog, so check it out and feel free to subscribe to the email updates. The email is through Feedburner, not me, so don't be shy-- I only know how many subscribers I have, not who they are. I hit a dry patch with my writing after Tid went to the Bridge, but I'm doing better now and new content should be pretty consistent.

I didn't do too well with exercise this past week. Weather was a big part of the problem, since for two mornings in a row we had a rain band move in off Hurricane Dolly at the exact time I needed to get out the door. I have to start my workout by 6:00 am in order to be ready for work by 8:00, so things like wind-whipped horizontal rain at 6:00 really screw things up. On Thursday, though, I took an extra half hour at lunch and got in a short run, so I made up for one of those lost mornings, at least.

Dan and I reversed our usual order of things this weekend. We had a wedding to go to on Saturday, so I made it my cooking day and did my run this morning instead, followed up with Indian food and a nap.

I have no new recipes for this week-- sorry. Maybe next week.

I also still have not found my new bunny, although I'm starting to feel like I'm ready for a new long-eared pal. One can't force these things, though.

And finally, Tidbit's old pals at Furry Butts gave us this nice award:

The rules are as follows:

1) Put the logo on your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on yours.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Since this award seems to have gone through all the bunny blogs, I'm going to hit up a few of my writing and fitness friends.

1. Tennessee Text Wrestling
2. West of Mars
3. Ingenious Title to Appear Here Later
4. Chumplet Writes
5. Cranky Fitness
6. MizFit
7. Running into the Sun

Here's where to pick up your Award. Play or not, as you choose.

Here's to a great week, everyone!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Recipe Wrap-up

Okay, I know I said I probably wouldn’t be trying any new recipes this weekend, but plans change and I gave this recipe for Quinoa-Spinach Bake a try.

It was quite easy and the results were delicious. I recommend washing the quinoa well and even soaking it in salt water for a few minutes to help remove the bitterness. Since ricotta tends to be a bit bland, don’t hesitate to spice this recipe up a bit with whatever suits your fancy. I just used salt and red pepper, but white pepper, extra garlic, or Indian spices would make a nice option, too.

The other new thing I tried this weekend was feta and ricotta in the rice balls recipe. I forgot that I was out of mozzarella when I was at the store, so I dumped in what cheese I had and all was well.

So here’s the day’s culinary count:

  • Quinoa-Spinach Bake
  • Rice Balls (with feta and ricotta)
  • Steamed broccoli with lemon pepper
  • Zucchini baked with cheddar and bread crumbs
  • Granola bars. Again. They keep disappearing.

I’ll probably do some cookies or quick bread (carrot or banana) later in the week. Until then, happy eating!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Run Too Far

As I always do, I carefully mapped a running route for today. I needed to take a couple of checks to the bank, so it had to be a route that would put me at the bank at or near 9:00. No problem, since I do this fairly regularly.

The run went okay at first. I did a loop around campus then headed out along the bayou, where I saw a flock of brown ducks—the first ducks I’ve ever seen on this bayou. Later, as I neared the end of the bayou portion of the run, I saw another duck, much larger, and with black and gray coloring. This duck was alone, but the egrets and cormorants didn’t seem bothered by its presence.

I finished the bayou section of my route and headed toward Rice University. From there, I went to my bank and got there a little too early. With ten minutes to kill, I refilled my water bottle at Whole Foods and went for a stroll around the block. Then I deposited my checks and headed toward River Oaks.

No sooner was I in River Oaks when I realized I needed a restroom. There wouldn’t be another one on my planned route for at least five miles, so I detoured to a church that I knew would be open. It took me off my route, so I figured I would make up the difference near the end of my run, cutting straight across Hermann Park instead of going around. By my mental calculations (made under the influence of heat and humidity) it would all work out about the same.

So when I got home much later than I expected, I chalked it up to the time spent waiting for the bank to open and having to make a pit stop. Also, there were a couple times I got a side stitch and had to walk. (I have no idea what that was about, since I don’t usually get stitches or cramps any more.) Anyway, everything added up in my mind, so I went on about the business of getting ready to have lunch with Dan.

Then tonight I got online to check my route and confirm my numbers. Twenty-two miles. Damn. That explains a few things.

I may start cutting back my Saturday mileage a little now that we’re in the worst of summer. It can be pretty hot by the time I finish, and the last two miles are in direct sunlight. There’s no safe alternative route home, either. But there’s another part of me that wants to just keep after this thing, since I’m pretty well acclimated and I hate building mileage. Maintaining is just so much easier.

I think this is the sort of thing only a runner can understand, but I try to keep my distance mileage high because I'm lazy. Too lazy to drop back and then go through the suffering of re-building.

Well, tomorrow is cooking day. I don't have anything new in my plans, but I could come up with something between now and then. Also, I made some more granola bars tonight. A certain spouse keeps eating them. I guess that's the sign of a good recipe when you can't keep the food around for long!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Seventies Party Report

Dan and I had a great time at the Seventies Party Thursday night. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since it was a work-related function for HR staff and their spouses from all of my university’s campuses. Our uber-boss had made it very clear that she wanted us there representing, and those kinds of pronouncements always make me a little twitchy, since there’s an underlying message that we don’t have anything we’d rather be doing with our time once we’ve left the office.

Anyway, I would’ve gone regardless since I’m the new kid and want to be seen as a team player. And the party was a blast. There were people already dancing when we got there, so while Dan settled in to talk to my boss’s husband (they both do tech support for the university), I hit the dance floor and stayed there most of the night. Dan surprised me by participating in the karaoke contest and I, my boss, and my boss’s boss were his backup dancers. We didn’t have time to choreograph our moves, but what the heck.

I went to a lot of parties and functions when I was in IT, but none were much fun. I thought all university staff were like that and didn’t give it much thought, but I’ve been proven wrong. I swear I’ll never look at HR people the same way after this. When I went to the Galveston conference last month, the attendees who were staying at the hotel would giggle and hint around at late-night antics, but I thought they were kidding. Nope. HR folks love a good party, and if there isn’t one they’ll make their own. Don’t let the stodgy, paper-pushing demeanor fool you!

They had some of the party photos in a slideshow during a break in today’s pan-HR workshop and I caught glimpses of some shots of Dan’s karaoke act and me in my hilariously awful wig and platforms. I suspect the photos will be available on the server by Monday or Tuesday and I’ll see if any are good enough to post.

Have a great weekend!

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 20 mile run
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical; lots of dancing
Friday: scheduled rest day

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Dan and I are going to a Seventies Party tonight. I've got my platforms and feathered wig, and what's really scary is that I still knew exactly how to style those Farrah Fawcett wings!

Here's hoping the party is as groovy as this classic TidPic:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gotcha Day Memories

In honor of what would've been Tidbit's fourth Gotcha Day, here are some photos of celebrations from other years.

This was a bun who knew how to enjoy a party!

Thanks again to everyone who has left condolences either through this blog or via private email. It's funny to think that the scrawny Cinderella of the county shelter ended up with so many friends just by being her bunny self.

It doesn't take great noble deeds to make the world a nicer place.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weekend Recipe Share

We're doing things kind of backwards this weekend. Dan had some things he needed to do today, so we switched Indian Food Day to Sunday, making Sunday my weekend long run day as well. Consequently, I have no outdoor adventures to share this evening.

I do have recipes, though!

First up is this nice granola bar recipe. My favorite non-HFCS granola bars are well over $4/box now, so I'm experimenting with making my own. I made these bars for the first time last week, but I made them too thick and although they were delicious, they were more like thick, chewy brownies. Nice, but not what I was after. So this weekend, I used a bigger pan and flattened them out nice and thin, and they turned out perfect-- firm, but not break-your-teeth hard. Chewy, but not like mutant Rice Krispies bars.

If you make these, you'll want to be sure the granola mix is a big sticky thing that you could, if you so chose, put into the baking dish in one big ball. You may need to keep adding peanut butter, syrup, or honey to accomplish this. So start out with the recipe as it is written, then add oats if it's too wet, peanut butter if it's too dry and sweet, and syrup or honey if it's too dry and not sweet enough. Pay close attention to the directions in the recipe link regarding scoring the granola bars near the end of the cooking process. Once they're cool, you'll have a dickens of a time making them break up in a pretty way, so follow the instructions!

The second recipe I want to call your attention to is for crackers. I don't know about anyone else out there, but I always thought crackers were one of those things that required a factory and elves. But I'm seeing some really ridiculous prices for them these days, often $3.50 and higher per box for good organic crackers without HFCS or hydrogenated oils. Finding a good cracker recipe online was a revelation because they're just stupidly easy to make.

For my first attempt, I used whole wheat flour and added five-pepper pesto and parmesan for my flavoring. They came out great, but I did have a problem with the center not getting crunchy before the edges started burning. I recommend either baking these crackers in strips, or taking them out when they're done enough to hold together well, breaking them up, and putting them back in the oven for a few more minutes. I suppose one could also put the finished product in a food dehydrator. Here in the Land of Humidity, one is often tempted to do that with things. My next batch of crackers will probably be simpler, maybe just parmesan and black pepper. One other thing that isn't mentioned in the recipe but would be nice, is a sprinkling of sea salt over the tops.

And that's it for new recipes! Have a tasty weekend!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Monday Bunday: Memories

Thanks to everyone for their condolences and Tid tributes. She did indeed live the life of royalty around here.

She was my resident optimist. Always perky, always certain that something really good was right around the corner.

She loved to make new friends...

and considered Pixel her true pal.

She was more adventurous than her feline friend and was quick to explore her new home, confused as to why he wouldn’t join her. She slept right outside his carrier until he decided to make his appearance, lending her support and encouragement to what she must’ve thought was a big scaredy-cat.

Tidbit was always a sport about my travels...

and a supporter of my accomplishments.

She shared my interests...

and sometimes followed me around like a little dog.

She even went to the office with me, where she worked hard...

and made quite an impression.

Tidbit couldn't resist a good party...

and we had a great four years together, celebrating...

and sharing a lot of love.

I want to thank Tidbit’s friends at Animal Avian Hospital for caring for her and for staying open late for us on Saturday so we could be with her. Dr. Jordan and his techs were incredibly kind and it wasn’t until we were on our way home that we realized they stayed nearly three hours beyond their Saturday closing time to monitor her situation, call us, and let us do what had to be done.

If anyone would like to make a charitable donation in Tidbit’s memory, this was one of her favorites: Best Friends. You can also donate to her doctor's veterinary school, or to the local charity of your choice. If you’re not into charity or are currently going through hard times, just do something nice for someone. It’s important to add to the balance of good in the world so the negative won’t overwhelm us.

Dan, Pix, and I are doing fine. We would’ve preferred a different outcome, but we’re glad Tid isn’t suffering or having to keep going to the vet, which was stressful for her. I'll continue with this blog, even though I originally set it up for her as much as for me. I'll also continue to post "Classic Tid Pics" from time to time. Keep us on your blog reader, and hug a bunny, if you've got one (and if it will let you)!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

In Memoriam

July 15 2004 - July 5 2008

I’m sad to report that Tidbit went to the Bridge today.

After her illness in May, she had a good month with us here at home, always happy, following us around, playing with her toys and eating like a horse. Then on Tuesday she was of her feed again, so I took her to the vet on Wednesday. Dan took her again on Thursday, since she resisted our efforts to medicate her.

She was doing a little better Thursday, even playing with her toys, so we decided to not leave her at the vet and to try to medicate her at home on Friday. As (bad) luck would have it, she started showing new symptoms that required a trip to the emergency pet hospital. They saw nothing so wrong that she couldn’t go home, and I had already left a message for her regular vet to expect us on Saturday morning. She spent most of last night in her favorite spot by my computer chair, but it was clear things weren't right with her.

Dan took her in this morning and they still had her under observation for her cluster of seemingly unrelated symptoms when things started to go very wrong. It seems she suffered a stroke or other type of deep rupture inside her brain.

Luckily we were only a few blocks away when we got the call and as soon as I saw her, I knew what the only right decision must be. I could’ve spent thousands of dollars and put her through hell to put off my own pain for a few weeks or months, but that’s not what love is about. She died in my arms while I petted her and told her it was okay to quit fighting.

If you never read the story of how I got her, it’s here. She cheated death four years ago when the shelter workers forgot to euthanize her on schedule, but you can’t cheat death forever. I still can’t believe it was less than a week ago that she was doing little binky dances for us in the living room and stomping her foot when I wasn’t quick enough with her breakfast. Nature gives prey animals a pretty unpleasant part in the food chain, they are also blessed with a quick exit when things go too badly wrong.

For now, I have her corner under the watchful care of a friend, until I’m ready to welcome a new bunny into my home. I always seem to end up with the strays and sad cases, so I’ll know when it’s the right time and the right bunny.

As for all her pals on the 7-bunny-7, Tidbit regrets that she won’t be flying home with them. She’s found her happy hay place where no one is ever late with breakfast. She will be missed.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth!

Tidbit isn't up for a photo shoot this morning, so I offer this Classic Tid Pic for your enjoyment. I also have a holiday-themed flash fiction piece on my writing blog if you're looking for something to read before the potato salad is ready and the fireworks start going off.

Have a great day, friends, and whether you're American or not, take a moment to be grateful for the freedoms we so often take for granted.