September 28, 2016

Pre-travel habits

We're slowly packing for our trip to New York. Piri can't decide which shirt to bring. I said choose two but he thinks we need to bring all of them. He's like Yangkyu. Yangkyu packs like there is going to be a zombie apocalypse even for short overnight trips. It drives me nuts. 

For the past two days I've been cleaning the house, washing everything, dusting and wiping down the floors (thank you Dyson and Bona! You guys are a life saver!). And for the past week we've been cooking with what's been left over in our refrigerator so that it'll be all cleared (or almost all cleared). 

These are our pre-travel habits - cleaning the house because I hate coming home to a dirty one (and also it makes sense now because of Piri's Place and we clean the house regularly so that we can all, including guest dogs, enjoy a clean house) and clearing out our fridge so that we don't waste any food. Sometimes it feels like we're stuck eating things we are not in the mood for, but since we'll be going away and eating everything we'll be in the mood for, it sort of makes up for it. We also make sure to unplug electricities (TV, computers, lamps, etc.) while we are away and give Piri a bath too so that he is nice and clean (courtesy to hotels and rentals we'll be staying at -- previously when we used to board him at cage free facilities we also gave him a bath so that he would be clean for his caretakers. He gets a bath after traveling as well). 

Do you have any pre-travel habits or routines? 

It's supposed to rain the entire time we're up in New York. We're trying not to let it dampen our moods too much, but man.. do I wish it would rain another time. 

September 26, 2016

Expecto Patronum!

Did you take the Patronus test on Pottermore

I did and my patronus is a ... St. Bernard!

Ha. Of course it's a dog, right? Too bad it wasn't a cocker spaniel (although I don't think that is an actual patronus). I also got sorted into Hufflepuff and my wand is made of Acacia wood, unicorn hair center, 11" in length and slightly yielding flexibility {an explanation of your house and what your wand is also available once you create your Pottermore profile}. 

I recently finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a few days ago (literally finished the book in 2 days) and I cried throughout the book. Am I the only one to have bawled reading the script?

I have actually never cried before while reading the other books and also during movies but this time around there were just so many scenes that made my heart hurt. I am also in a different period in my life and I think looking at relationships between parent and child, friends and the one you love takes on new meaning for me. I know - I get like this! Have overly deep emotions and thought processes, which makes my analyzing story lines and characters so different from others, but that's maybe just a quirky part of my personality *wink wink*. I was a little wary about starting the Cursed Child because I read so many articles about how fans didn't like it, but I absolutely loved it. 

I read the first Harry Potter book pretty late -- it was the senior year of college, May 2001, during finals. Probably the most important period of my college experience, because if you fail course during your last semester in college, you don't graduate. But of course, during a study session at Barnes & Noble I decided to picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was actually going to get all the books that were already out but a friend advised me not to, in case I don't actually end up liking it. Well... I ended up staying up the entire night finishing the book and went back the next day to pick up the rest. I just could not study without finding out how the story kept unfolding. Needless to say, there were many sleepless nights of reading and studying but thankfully, I got to finish all the books and ace my exams as well {ok - maybe except Economics, which I barely passed.. seriously.. but Econ was always my achilles heel during college}. 

As for the movies, I only watched up to The Goblet of Fire and so recently I finished watching The Order of the Phoenix and plan on watching The Half Blooded Prince and the Deathly Hallows as well. And then maybe a marathon. Heh.

So tell me! What is your patronus? And your house and wand?

 // People's not so happy reactions to their patronus test {hehe}

September 23, 2016

The last of our summer harvest + a little Piri update

These were our favorites, next to our cucumbers and green onions. Stone crops -- basically weeds you can eat {just like dandelion}. We spiced these up with hot pepper flakes mixed with some honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and garlic {sometimes I added a little bit of canary sauce, too} and they were a staple on our dinner table whenever we had Korean food. I can't wait for these to crop up again next year. 

We're cleaning up our summer vegetable garden, but still tending to the broccoli, radish, beets and purple carrots which we'll harvest a couple more months down the line. There is always a bitter sweet feeling whenever I have to do away with something that was once thriving - so green and colorful was our garden over the summer, and now they are all withered and dying.

Mornings are crisp here, although during the afternoon it still feels like summer. I don't always do so well with the summer to fall transition and so I always tend to guard my heart a bit more during this time of year - it always seems to be a bit more vulnerable than usual.

The last of our September DogVacay guests leave today - in just a few hours. We plan on getting out during the weekend, maybe an arts and crafts fair and then the farmers market on Sunday. We are off until the beginning of October. We have a trip to New York coming up in a few days. We'll be going with Piri.

When we originally booked the trip it was before all the new developments with Piri's cancer - he was doing so well and so we thought now is the time to go since we missed out on so many chances to go with him. Since then though the trip has taken on a whole new meaning. It feels like almost coming to full circle -- going back to the place where we started out as a family, in that little shoebox studio apartment in Rego Park, Queens. We are going back to our roots, hopefully walk that all too familiar walking route for Piri, possibly for the last time, and grab our favorite tacos as well.

Despite everything, Piri is doing well. The visit to the holistic vet was good and he's been doing good on all his supplements, including his new ones. The results of the fine needle aspirate didn't give definite results as I think the sample was compromised during transport to the lab, but most likely the new lump in his throat area is a cancer of the salivary gland - an uncommon cancer, but more prone with older dogs. The report said it is less likely to be lymphoma. Still, nothing is for certain. It is a fortunate and unfortunate news all in one.

We don't plan on putting Piri through another surgery and having the lump removed and sent in for a biopsy for a more definitive result. I don't think I can put him through another sedation, medication and recovery cycle. The holistic vet told us to monitor the lump, keep him on his supplements and if the lump grows fast then we'll know it is aggressive and we'll need to gather together again and see what we can do for Piri.

This morning, Yangkyu told me that this is the right path for Piri. We tried chemotherapy, multiple surgeries -- no regrets. There won't be a "what if" because we feel we exhausted all possible options to fight Piri's cancer. Right now, we need to focus on keeping him comfortable.

I know.

I know, but it still hurts. I don't want Piri to misunderstand and think that we've given up on him.

While crying, I saw Piri sprawled out on in his bed, sleeping like he didn't have a care in the world. I mentioned that to Yangkyu and he went to go hug him and kiss him and said, "Piri is like me. He doesn't worry about a lot of things. He just goes with the flow."

I think he's right.

September 21, 2016

New Wall Hangings

I plan on making a butt load of God's Eyes for a wall in our living room. I had been meaning to collect branches and sticks of different sizes but realized that I can use pussy willow branches that I picked up at Trader Joe's several weeks ago. 

Making God's Eyes is one of my favorite things to do -- it's so simple but you can do so much with different colors and sizes. 

It's officially fall tomorrow for us. Sigh. New wall hangings and making small additions and changes to our nesting area seems appropriate. 

September 19, 2016

Pickled Cucumbers at home

All summer long, our vegetable garden was a gift that kept giving. In the form of cucumbers, mostly. It did so well that we had so many cucumbers and I thought that I would have jars and jars of pickled cucumbers to last me all winter. 

Well.. it didn't turn out quite so -- we ended up eating most of the cucumbers as snacks or made pickled cucumber kimchi and even did facials with them. 

It actually took me a while to make picked cucumbers because I was just too lazy to go buy jars and peppercorn and mustard seed, which we didn't have in our spice rack. 

But once I had all the ingredients, these pickled cucumbers were super easy and quick to make. I mean, you really can't mess this one up. Promise.

There are a few more cucumbers forming right now in our garden and I plan to make more pickled jars before we say bye to our summer garden. 

Here is how I made our pickled cucumbers if you're interested in seeing. 

What you'll need: 

 // 1 quart jars with lids -- I picked mine up at our local grocery store. I bought the 10 jar pack but I only needed 3 for this pickling session. 

 // Cucumbers -- I used 4 medium sized ones, which fit into 3 jars

 // 5 springs of fresh dill (per jar)

 // 2-3 clovers of garlic, crushed and minced (per jar)

 // 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar (per jar)

 // 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (per jar) -- I might have actually used even less. You can eyeball depending on how much salt you want to use. I didn't want to use a lot for our consumption but did enough to make sure the taste was there. 

 // Filtered water (enough to top your jar/s)

 // 20 black peppercorns (per jar)

 // 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds (per jar)

Directions -- 

01 // Wash your cucumbers and cut them into discs or spears and add them to your jar.

02 // Add all your other ingredients except the water. For me I added it in this order -- vinegar, garlic, salt, peppercorn, mustard seeds and then fresh dill.

03 // After you have incorporated all your ingredients, pour your filtered water to the top of the jar. Screw the lid on and give it a shake.

04 // Let your jar sit out on your countertop for about 24 hours and then refrigerate. Give it a taste after it's chilled for a bit. It tastes gooood!

We had some with pizza the other night and Yangkyu was the first to taste. We both weren't expecting much {I'm not the brightest in the kitchen} but his eyes lit up and said, "They taste like pickles, Jane! How did you do it?!" Then I stuffed one in my mouth and said, "Oh my golly they do taste like pickles!"

We have finished one jar and will make more once we have a few more cucumbers on hand. We also have a bowl full of tomatoes from the garden and I think I'll go ahead and find a way pickle them too. 

What would you do with a basket full of cucumbers?

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