Thursday, April 28, 2011

Different Personalities

We currently have two dogs living at our house.  Occasionally my uncle's dog comes to visit, she visits my blog from time to time as well, but she doesn't live with us.  And I don't think I want her to.  My dogs are perfect without another doggie friend to distract me.

These two dogs have two distinct personalities.  We adopted both from the local animal shelter, Paws and Claws, and we're not totally sure what kind of dogs they are.  I don't care.  

Penny is a wonderfully huge dog with lots of slobber and droop.  She probably has some St. Bernard in her.  Seriously, her paws are as big as my palm.  She's devoted, needy, and lazy.  She has her "spot" at the house.  

That's her spot.  She lays there all day long, watching us inside or watching Sniper run around the yard.  She's usually aloof, and she's camera shy.  The only way I can get her to look at my camera is with a telephoto lens.  She refuses to look at me otherwise.

Sniper, on the other hand, is part Pit-Bull, part whirlwind.  When she's not asleep, she is exploring outside or running around in circles.  Or chewing on things like shoes, slippers, remote controls or Legos.  Clearly things that should not be on the ground when she's in the room.  

That football isn't going to last long.  It's already flat.  The other dog is my uncle's.  She's a good punching bag for Sniper.  Penny won't put up with Sniper's antics for long.

Sometimes Penny moves somewhere else to lay down.

She moved into the yard because the sun was shining and her people were playing frisbee.  She likes to be close to her people.  Spencer likes to spoil her by rubbing her belly.  She's slightly chubby.  

Sniper was actually laying down for a couple minutes, too.

She needed to chew on something, and she can't do that while she's standing up.  She'll be back up when someone throws something else into the yard for her to chase. 


There she goes.  Trixie actually got the ball, but Sniper took it away from her.  She's good like that.  

Penny doesn't even move if you stop petting her.  If she's sitting by you, she'll nudge your hand to remind you she's still there, but she won't do much else.

Yes, Spencer, she's a good dog.

So is Sniper.  We can actually pick her up.  Kinda.  She's a licker.

In spite of their clear differences, Sniper and Penny are perfect.  I don't know what I would do if these two weren't so entertaining.  I'll be happy when the rain stops and they're no longer muddy, though.

I'm off to spoil some canines.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Madness

So, Easter was on Sunday.  We had an Easter egg hunt, and I did the honors of hiding the eggs while everyone else was at church.  One great thing about where we live is that we frequently have piles of brush in the yard.  Piles of brush are really easy to hide things like eggs in.  It was pleasantly hilarious watching children (They're not really children, as the youngest is 13, but I don't care.  It's an Easter egg hunt.) scrambling around in the woods and brush trying to get eggs filled with jellybeans. 

We also have rose bushes and other prickly things in our garden, and I'm not very nice in the morning.

I would apologize, but my uncle was not the only one laughing at the egg hunters.

Spencer found a shovel and used that in his hunt.  I guess tools are acceptable.  Monkeys use them, too.

We also have lots of places to hide eggs that could possibly be out of reach for a 13 year old.

Not so.  My cousin did indeed get that egg, even with Spencer trying to tackle her.  We're slightly competitive.  

Another fun place to hide Easter eggs is where no one would normally look.

Yep.  I did.  Also, from this angle, you can't tell how banged-up my car is.  It's win-win.

With all these children running around, someone needs to supervise them.  Right?

Enter Grandpa Austin.  He's just doing his job.

Penny needed to supervise, too.  She was busy watching the other dogs to make sure they didn't eat any eggs before the kids found them.  She failed in this job, though.  I found three broken-open plastic eggs with dog slobber all over them.  Clearly she couldn't be bothered to get up.  

After our eggs hunt, we decided the dogs needed some Easter flair.

Yep.  She was as mad as she looks.  She got her bandanna off within seconds.  She hates having anything on her.

Sniper, on the other hand, didn't even notice.  She was a little confused when we tied her bandanna on her, but she went right back to jumping all over us to get a jellybean.  

She slept with it on that night, too.

Hope your Easter was as fun as mine was!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adventures with Brioche

Alright, I fully meant to post pictures of the Easter Egg Hunt we had on Sunday, but I forgot to grab my memory card out of my camera this morning.  Whoops.  I'll show you the hilarity that was Sunday tomorrow, but I thought you should see the wonder that is my (in)ability to bake bread with cheese in it.

Brioche stuffed with brie.  Brioche is buttery, eggy, fluffy goodness of bread.  Seriously, it's heavenly.  I attempted to bake brie into it, but it didn't quite turn out.  It was still delicious.  I ate it, because, let's face it, I'm all about carbs and cheese.  My mom and my friend Katie had some too, and they liked it.  I'm not the only crazy I know.  

I think this bread-baking endeavor was the most fun I've had in the kitchen in a while.  I'm going to try it again soon.  This is going to be a tasty adventure for me.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Or is it April showers may bring flowers?  Our garden is rather depressing still.  Even the flowers look sad.

Yes, daffodils are sad.  They really didn't like the snow this week.

Seriously, they look really sad.  I don't really like daffodils, but I still felt sorry for them.

The hyacinths were a little better looking, but they were still angry with the weather.  It has been raining for the past week, with the exception of the one day of snow we got.  I'm so glad I live in the upper Midwest.  Hopefully the weather will warm up after Easter.

Speaking of Easter, tomorrow is also my little brother's birthday.

This kid is going to be 19 tomorrow.  I can't handle it.  He's only 8.  I swear.  He's not old enough to be 19.  I'm not old enough to have a 19 year old brother.  What am I going to do with him?  I'm terribly ill-prepared for this.  I still haven't gotten him a birthday present.  Sorry, Spencer.  I'll make it up to you on Monday or something.

Happy Easter, and Happy Birthday Spencer!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Preparations

For everyone that didn't already know, Easter is this Sunday.  I'm not religious, spiritual, or whatever, so Easter is more about getting together with family for me.  This means I get to make the house pretty and smelling delicious while everyone else is at church in the morning.  Yay!  We've already started putting decorations around the house.  

This bunny is somewhat terrifying and hilarious at the same time.  He (it has a bow-tie, so it is male) squeaks when you squeeze him, and he's three feet tall.  I think this is a little excessive, but we've had him for years.  The dogs think he's a new friend to play with.  I like hitting people with him.  It's win-win for everyone.

For Easter dinner (dinner? brunch? I dunno.) we're not having ham or lamb.  My brother wants steak, so we're eating a lot of beef this weekend.  It's his birthday, so I'll let it pass.  My job for this feast is to bake bread.  I tried out a recipe for Irish soda bread to see if I could actually make something passing for bread.

The final product actually turned out!  It's delicious and perfectly dense.  One tiny loaf is like 2 pounds of bread.  I'm excited.

Penny's job is to look pretty.  She's doing a pretty good job practicing so far, dontcha think?

I wish I had her job.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soggy Socks

It's no longer snowing, but I'm still soggy.  In other news, I went to lunch with my old roommate, Melinda, on Friday.  Yes, I'm just now getting around to writing about it, but I had to get over the snow thing first.  

Melinda and I are on a mission to find a Mexican restaurant to rival our favorite from college.  A restaurant of this caliber is proving elusive in Minnesota.  I think it is because there are zero restaurants in gas stations here. I dunno.  We ended up at an Ol' Mexico in the Twin Cities area.  I won't go back, as I had a couple issues with it.  First, the margaritas were less than mediocre.  I make better margaritas and I don't have a blender.  Second, a very nice young man offered to make us balloon flowers.  Kinda hokey, but I didn't mind that part. It's a family restaurant.  I minded the balloons.  I'm terrified of them, because they make loud noises when they pop.  They will always pop.  

Needless to say, I refused the balloon flower.  Melinda did not.  

The object of my phobia sat in my car for twenty minutes, and I had to deal with seeing Melinda carry it up to her dorm room.  With KEYS in her hand.  Whatever.  I'm over it now, and I will avoid anything with balloons for a very long time.  

On a happier (for me) note, my dog is evil.  She stole my mom's boyfriend's shoe.  Normally she will just chew anything she finds into little shreds of its previous existence.  This time, she just carried it to the other end of the yard, leaving Fabian to hobble across the damp grass in his sock to get it.

I laughed.  And took pictures.

I could have helped, but I didn't want to walk across the yard.  And this was kinda funny.

Seriously, the dogs just looked at him like they had no idea why he wasn't wearing both shoes.  Or why he was telling off Sniper for taking the shoe.  Obviously she was chuckling in her head.

Clearly, she is a devious one.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back to Winter

It's snowing today.  This is not good.  The weekend was beautiful.  It was sunny, somewhat warm, and it didn't rain.  My mom and I terrorized our dogs, too.  They did not enjoy it at all.  

Sniper didn't know what was going on or how to walk while wearing a shirt.  She needs some shoulders if she ever wants to wear a polo again.

Penny was somewhat distraught.  She kept trying to bite me as I was putting the shirt on her.  It's kind of adorable that she fits into an extra-large men's polo.  She looks good in blue.

After we dressed up the dogs, we went to the new house to move stuff around and make dinner.  

This little robin was not afraid of the dogs.  At all.  I was amazed there were even birds in the yard once the dogs jumped out of the car.

Or the birds aren't afraid of the dogs because this is all they do.  They'll chew on a stick if it is already close to their mouths.  I'm not sure they're real dogs.

That was over the weekend, though, and weather in Minnesota changes without warning.  It's thirty degrees and snowing today.  Wonderful snow.

Seriously?  I moved furniture in this crap.

At least it's somewhat pretty until it melts.  If only it weren't April 19th.  This is unacceptable.

In other news, my grandmother is adorable.  My mom and I were talking about my cousin's upcoming confirmation, complaining about the 8am service, when grandma chimes in with, "Is that the one where they go in the pool?"  Nope, that's a baptism, grandma, but thanks for your insight.

My grandma, the theologian.

Refusing to shovel,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back in Minnesota

I'm back in Minnesota, and I feel like I've neglected you all.  I apologize.  I'll be more diligent about my posting from now on. 

I went over to mom's new house, and we can finally move in.  No more living in three different places for me. As soon as I got to the house I looked to see if any new flowers were blooming.  The first thing I noticed was the lack of purple lurking under the bushes.  What happened to the crocuses, you ask?  The dogs happened to the crocuses.  Usually the dogs are fine not going in the bushes.  Not so this past weekend, however.  Trixie is clearly a bad influence on my two angels.  

The remnants of the crocuses.  It's a sad fate for pretty flowers.  

We do have some daffodils blooming, though!

They're so vibrant right now with all the brown still in the garden.

Every time I see a daffodil I think of Willy Wonka when he's drinking out of one in the chocolate river room thing where everything is candy.  

Also, there's some weird purple flowers that I have no idea what they are, and no one else does either.

They're fun, but I have no idea where they came from or what they are.  Most of the plants in our gardens are unknown at this point.  We'll find out what they are as they bloom, but it could take a while to figure them all out.

Here's my little devil angel.  She was chewing on a ball she stole from Penny.  She's a funny dog.  I fed her bacon the other day and now she follows me around even more than normal.  I would follow someone around too if they fed me bacon.

Tomorrow I'll show you the finished kitchen.  Minus a kitchen table or chairs or anything like that.  Whatever.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Muddy Dog

I'm still in the Badger State.  They haven't kicked me out yet, which is a good sign.  My cousin and I took her dog to a nature reserve today.  It's named after some guy named Schmeekle (pronounced shmeeklee). 

The drive to the park was fun for the dog.  She got to stick her head out the window and smell things.  And sneeze on me.

You could at least say "excuse me."  Thanks, Xena.  Oh yeah, the dog's name is Xena.  She's a fearless warrior.  Unless she finds herself in water deeper than 4 inches.  Then she hides.

I think she was trying to get a stick out of the puddle.  Everywhere was a puddle today, because of the snow melting and the rain we had last night.  We were soggy.

Xena's chin was soggy too.  Just look at the mug on that mutt.

After we finished our walk we realized Xena probably shouldn't have come with us.

Whoops.  I'd like to note that there was no sign posted at the beginning of the trail.  This was at the end of the trail and we apparently walked it backwards.  Oh well.

Here are some nature-y pictures I took when Xena was being boring.

I almost fell over trying to take this picture.  Ice is slippery.

I like moss.  Don't know why, but I do.

More mushrooms!  They kinda look like coral this time, though.

My trip in Wisconsin is coming to a close.  I might get a chance to post again before they kick me out.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wisconsin Wildlife

This weekend I am in Wisconsin, sleeping in my aunt's and uncle's spare room, being attacked by their cat, and annoying their youngest daughter.  I made her go for a walk with me yesterday morning and I took a bunch of pictures.  I'm seriously looking forward to grass and leaves.  All this grey and brown is getting disgusting.

Before I left, though, I went to my mom's house to check out the final touches on the kitchen.  I noticed she had some crocuses that were blooming.  I think there were 5 total, but, hey, it's a splash of color in the middle of all the dead leaves. 

I love stripes on flowers.  They speak to me, or something.

I spotted some more crocuses yesterday morning, too.  They look a lot better when they aren't covered by leaves and dead plants.

Also, don't tell aunt's and uncle's neighbors that I sneaked into their yard to take this picture.

We walked through a park, and I found a tree with mushrooms on it.

Again, I like the stripes.

I found some wildlife in the park.  I'm not sure if it's native to Wisconsin, but I'm fairly certain it is.

My cousin is so camera shy.

Yep, definitely camera shy.

I think her eyes were starting to hurt at this point.

I'm related to her?  Really?  I think something got screwed up somewhere along the line.  But really, I'm surprised they're going to put up with me at all this weekend.  

Lots of love from America's Dairyland,