Monthly Archives: March 2010

A Weekend of Cooking, Partying, and…Training?

On Saturday, aureth and jenwolf were hosting a party over at their place. I thought I’d try to make a couple of new dishes to bring: Spicy Baked Plantain Chips and Salsa Verde. The plantain chips did not turn out well – a bit leathery, unfortunately. They were close to burning, but could have used a bit more time in the oven to crisp up. The salsa verde was… well, it wasn’t up to my standards. Way too salty, and the four Serrano chiles in the recipe made it mighty damn hot! This was a good reminder that I really need to only make tried-and-true recipes for these sorts of things.

mirkowuff arrived Saturday afternoon with his malamute, Chase. Buddy seems to be feeling better (though his appetite still isn’t up to snuff – possibly due to the continued antibiotics) and so greeted Chase with a wagging tail…and then spent the next hour trying to mount him. Oy. At this point I have to assume it’s a dominance thing. Chase let him know it wasn’t appreciated, and eventually they got things sorted out, but it was certainly comical to watch. We were a little late to the party because Mirko wanted to watch some basketball thing or something with his alma mater. He spent the rest of the evening squee-ing about the game 🙂

The party was a lot of fun. Jim’s brown ale was excellent, and the company was wonderful. I wish that we could have stayed later, but we had to get up stupidly-early the next day, so we grabbed hartree and Mirko and headed back to our place.

On Sunday morning, Hartree and Mirko and I left before 8 AM (well, left the first time – we had to double back because I forgot my ticket. Doh!) for the Illinois Rail Museum Snowflake Special CTA Tour. This was a 9-hour tour of the Chicago elevated train system. We were joined by dexcat, rustitobuck, and linnaeus. The tour went from Rosemont (right next to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare!) to downtown, out to UIC, down the South Side to 61st Street, then north to Evanston, with numerous stops and detours along the way. I have to say I was very much impressed by the IRM’s organization, and the quality of the tour was very good as well, with near-continuous narration provided by a pair of very knowledgeable fellows. I took over 180 pictures, and I’ll post some of those soon.

We had lunch in The Loop, stopping at the Qdoba on Randolph. We were unexpectedly joined by a rather loquacious train fan who was maybe 10 years old. He talked a blue streak, and while he knew his stuff, it was amusing to listen to him rattle on about the wisdom of the Circle Line while his parent nodded wearily beside him with that look of, “Oh thank God, he’s talking to someone else for a change.” After lunch we had time for a quick stop at Intelligentsia Coffee, then it was back on the train. All in all, I have to say that it was about seven hours of an interesting tour – the last two hours really dragged and it was a bit of a relief when we pulled back into Rosemont. takaza, roho, and genet met us there (with Chase, who went home with Mirko from there). The rest of us went down for dinner at Smoque, which was excellent, as usual.

And here we are at a new week. I have some errands to run after work, then I’ll grill up dinner while Dan works on the FCN con book. It sounds like we’re going to go see “How To Train Your Dragon” tomorrow night at one of my favorite local theaters, so we’re off to a great start to the week!

One Sick Doggy

(Yes, this is more of me being an obsessive new parent over our dog. If that’s not your thing move on to the next post on your Friends Page 🙂

It’s been something of a roller coaster these last two days. You see, Buddy got sick.

I took Buddy to the vet on Wednesday for his distemper booster shot. No problems, and the vet also gave me a follow-up round of Panocur for the whipworm problem, just to make sure everything is taken care of, as well as a 6-month supply of flea/tick/mosquito medicine. $186, yowch. When we got home, I made the mistake of letting Buddy out of the car without a leash, thinking he’d head straight over to the door into the house. No, instead he led me on a chase across half of the neighborhood, never letting me get closer than 10-15 feet. I finally tackled him and brought him home. The unfortunate result of this is that unless we can get him more training, Buddy cannot go anywhere off the leash, not even the dog park (after all, if he doesn’t come when called, we’ll wind up chasing him around when it’s time to leave).

That night because my back was still messed up from putting together our new grill I took a muscle relaxer and went to bed early. Dan woke me up – sometime, no idea when since I was in a bit of a haze – to tell me that Buddy had thrown up twice and wasn’t doing well. I acknowledged him and quickly fell back asleep.

On Thursday morning when the alarm went off, Buddy was right there by my side, poking me with his nose and shivering like all get-out. I filled his water bowl, and he promptly drank the entire contents – with predictable results. At least I got him outside before he vomited. I tried giving him a little water at a time and had similar results (again, getting him outside just in time!). That was it – time to go to the vet. My back was still pretty lousy anyway, so between the two problems I felt OK about calling off for the day.

When we were finally seen by the vet, he wasn’t quite sure what the problem was. Buddy was running a 103.4 degree F fever (normal is around 101), which explains the shivering. The vet didn’t think it was due to the distemper booster since Buddy hadn’t shown any reaction to the initial shot, but wouldn’t rule that out either. He took the general approach: treat the symptoms, and hit it with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. In addition to giving Buddy a shot of epinephrine and a steroid, he gave me a prescription of Flagyl (an antibiotic good against anaerobic bacteria and protozoa) and told me to dose Buddy morning and night with one teaspoon of Pepto Bismol (administered via syringe) and 25 mg of Benadryl. (And that was another $85, though at least he didn’t charge for an office visit.)

I took Buddy home, and the poor guy was obviously miserable. I gave him the pills and the Pepto (he’s OK about the pills, but clearly didn’t enjoy either those or the Pepto) and waited for those to take effect. He was reluctant to lie down, probably because of breathing issues or just not feeling well, but as the Benadryl kicked in this caused a problem. He would stand with his head down, staring at nothing, and start to sway. Eventually one of his legs would give out and he would stagger a bit, then begin again. After about 20 minutes of this, and when he almost staggered into the TV stand and nearly whacked his head, I led him over to his bed and slowly pulled his feet out from under him until he was laying down. I could see his thought processes were something like “But I don’t want to lie down, I…OK I guess I’ll just lie here for a whilezzzzzzzz”.

By evening his fever was gone, but he was obviously still dopey from the antihistamine. He generally dozed the night away, though he ate the half-can of food we put down for him during the night. This morning, after an epically-long pee (which is good – much better than throwing the water back up!) he slowly started to show a little more appetite. The vet wants us to keep the pills going through tonight, but I think that by tomorrow he’ll be back to normal (though he’s very sleepy now!).

While I would never draw a direct parallel between owning a dog and having a child, I can say that I have a deeper appreciation for those with kids, and what they go through when their child is ill. It’s nerve-wracking, exasperating, and stressful. I have to say it was very much worth it for me when I came downstairs this morning to see Buddy looking at me hopefully and hear his wagging tail thumping on the sofa.

Company, Meetings, and Dog Stuff

Well, that was a fun-but-busy weekend!

On Friday takaza and I finished up the last bit of housecleaning from the week in preparation for guests. I went ahead and bought a gas grill and propane tank, too. We’re not getting rid of the charcoal grill, I assure you! I love that smoker too much. No, this is for weeknight cooking, when we don’t want to fool with getting a proper charcoal fire going but would like something grilled and quick. I still believe that the flavor and cooking qualities of charcoal are superior, but when we had a gas grill in North Carolina we used it at least 3 nights per week. Now…I just need to put the fool thing together 🙂

fordshepherd and baja_hyena drove in on Friday night (arriving late enough that I had already gone to bed!), and r_bear flew in on Saturday. We decided on a late lunch at one of my favorite places that we hadn’t been to in ages, The Firkin. Their beer selection has always been top-notch, but we had found their food so-so. The beer was still excellent, but the big surprise was that the food was fantastic as well! We had a really enjoyable meal. We finished off the rest of the evening hanging out at our place and chatting (and, um, imbibing just a bit).

Sunday brought the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. It was quick and relatively painless, and after the meeting I was able to give some tours to folks who needed to see what was where. We had an early dinner at Red Bar in the Hyatt, and while the food wasn’t bad the prices were, um, hotel-like. In spite of that, I suspect I’ll be eating more than one meal there during the convention. Ford and Baja hit the road after the meeting, but RB and graywolf769 came back to our place and we hung out and chatted for a while. After Gray left for the ride back to Indiana, we watched a bit of TV and went to bed.

Dog-wise, we hit a great milestone this weekend. We tried giving Buddy the run of the house when we went to lunch on Saturday and again when we were at the staff meeting on Sunday. In both cases he behaved himself perfectly! As far as I’m concerned the crate is a thing of the past for him (thanks for the loan, roho and genet!). He seemed so much happier when I went home to walk him at lunch today, so I think we’re making the right decision. Health-wise, his digestive system seems to be working much better and he’s slowly gaining weight back into a more healthy range. We’re going to need to buy him a new harness because the medium-sized one is quickly becoming too tight! He was also a perfect gentleman all weekend with our guests, snuggling right up to them 🙂

So, now the new work week has started. There’s nothing crazy going on at work, thank heavens. I’ve got an appointment with my optician this afternoon, then I’ll probably go to work putting Boxee on an old server we have (not sure if I’ll put Windows or Ubuntu on there for the OS – we’ll see what happens). The new gas grill needs to be put together too – Dan may do that today or I’ll do it tomorrow. Generally speaking, though, it should be a pretty low-stress week.

(Oh, and if you’re waiting to reserve a suite for Midwest FurFest, watch this space! And , and Twitter, and our website, and our forums…)