Walking In A Winter Park
Another really good day for Fezzik. John started the morning off with some incredibly light waffles. I happily ate through a stack of 'em with the last of the maple sausages from last week and half a grapefruit. Juice and hot chocolate and calcium tablets helped as well. Fezzik watched me very closely while I was eating my Tums, so I gave him one, too. He seemed to like it well enough. Then again, he seems to be eating anything that I hand him, including his Glucosamine and vitamins. John says that he does that 'cause he likes me better, for some reason he won't eat the tablets straight from John's hand.
After breakfast John did a bunch of sorting of our recycling. In the midst of the sorting I heard an "Oh shit!!" I blinked and asked John what was the matter, and he said that there had been a mouse in the newspaper bin. The mouse had leaped out and run under the refrigerator while John was emptying the newspapers. We stuck a mouse trap by the fridge and went on with what we were doing.
John then decided he had to have a hair cut, so he called around to see what was open Sunday morning, and found a few place he thought he'd try. I stayed home with Fezzik and tried to vacuum the house. Fezzik, of course, immediately headed outside, and I found out that the vacuum cleaner had gotten stuck with fur and hair and the beater bar was no longer working. Oops. It did an okay job on the wood floor, though, so I did that. I then watered and fed all the plants, morning some of them which had died in the time that they were downstairs from the floor stuff. A few had picked up bugs and an odd fungus that grew on the surface of the dirt. It didn't seem possible that there might be too much moisture, but so it seemed. The African violets were swimming, but seemed happy nonetheless. I actually emptied those out.
I petted Fezzik a lot and let him in and out a lot. He'd go out, wade into four inches of powder snow and then lie in the snow and start eating everything he could reach. Great big bites of snow, entire mouthfuls just swallowed and then followed by another. It was pretty much his ice cream eating technique now applied to a snow bank. I was very impressed and he showed no more signs of getting an ice cream headache than ever.
The sun actually broke out and started to melt things. I sat in the livingroom for a bit, debating what I really wanted to do and I picked up a book. I have an entire shelf of paperbacks I haven't read, yet, but bought for some reason or another. Once they're read I bring them upstairs to sit on the many shelves and shelves of at least once read paperbacks. I wandered over to the shelf and picked up Tanith Lee's Vivia. It's something I found at Powell's possibly a few years ago. I've always enjoyed the lush language of Lee's books, and I'd found this at Powell's and it's a British publication of the book. I don't even know if it is to be found in an American edition. So I read it. It was very vivid, very medeval and every violent and it was something like the latter parts of the Lords of Darkness series, where an innocent is put through very uninnocent circumstances, and things happen all around them, and while their presense often triggers events they don't drive them at all. Things happen to them. Often there things that are obvious outcomes of what has already come, but the protagonist doesn't have any direct control.
I didn't like that this time around. I read it all the way through and put it down and was mildly depressed. John, in the meantime, had come home, ridden the exercise bike, showered, and made me lunch. Ham and cheese sandwiches with Black Forest ham, the British cheddar, and a gentle smear of mustard on the whole grain bread we had. Tomato soup was steaming hot and perfect against the snowy day, and it balanced very well with the richness of the sandwich.
Afterwards, since Fezzik was doing so well, we took Fezzik in Borax down to Erie's public park. We parked by the baseball diamond and walked through the snowy fields over to the playground and the high banked stream. Fezzik got treats, the walk, and chances to explore the few bushes, trees, and normal park items in the park. He seemed to be enjoying himself a great deal and stuck close by us, as much for the treats as anything. But he got a chance to wander some ground that wasn't his own and sniff things and explore a little. We only went to the park and back and by the time we were almost all the way back to the truck, he had to stop and rest for a little while. So it was good that we didn't go any further, but I thought it would be good for him to get a little exercise in while he could.
The park was just blanketed in white, and Fezzik was dragging both his front and back feet a bit so his tracks looked like those of a dog on skiis. He seemed to not mind slogging through the stuff, and both John and I had boots. It was so light and fluffy and brilliantly white with the sunshine shining off the surface. The air wasn't really that cold and it was just fun to break trails through the shallow snow.
When we got him back home, Fezzik lay down on the driveway while I went back to close the gate, but when I got back to him, he was up and went right for the house. He stopped at the stairs, so I got a treat out to lure him up, but he couldn't seem to get the last few stairs. I finally picked up his back end and got him to move his front end and up he went.
A few very nice readers have asked if putting a ramp up the stairs would help. It's a cool thought, but the first problem is that for it to actually be mild enough for him to get up, it would likely be too long for at least the stairs by the kitchen. Secondly, if it were long enough, it's very hard to make it stable under his 110 pounds of weight. Thirdly, he's unstable even on level ground, and has a tendency to step several steps to either side when catching his balance and on a narrowish ramp without rails that could be disasterous. And finally, with the weather as it's been the ramp would be covered in snow, anyway, and I don't know how that would work out. If we covered it in carpet for Fezzik to have traction, it would get messed up a bit by the snow. It's easier for John or I to just help him up. John can just lift Fezzik himself, he doesn't actually need me.
Besides, then we won't be left to deal with a twenty foot ramp made from 2x4s with carpetting and block anchors on either end when Fezzik does die. It would basically have to be a wheelchair access ramp, I think, for Fezzik to actually be able to use it all the time, and we'd have to have at least two of them. One for the kitchen porch and one for the main porch.
Fezzik and John napped while I read some more. I should probably have napped, when they woke up it was 5:30 and I was depressed some more. Maybe it was the dark, maybe I was tired, maybe I was even hungry, though I didn't feel hungry. I also had no idea what I wanted to do. At all. So I picked up some work and did that. I read a proposal, made notes on it, and then I connected up to work and sent folks email as to my recommendations and knowledge of the thing. Then John and I went over all our benefits for next year and got through all that. Then I read some financial stuff.
By then it was 7, which surprised me as I was thinking it was still 5-something as I was still depressed, but I'd done things. Two cooking goals combined well. One of them was making my own potstickers, rather than the Ling Ling ones or the ones from the restaurants around here. The other was taking the lo mein and adding vegetables. I defrosted pork and shrimp and used my little food processor to chop them up, added blanched, chopped Napa cabbage, a large amount of garlic chives from my house pots of the things, and mixed it all with wine, soy sauce, and finely chopped dried ginger. The filling then went into the fridge while I made the dough for the shells. Since I wanted to fry them, I did the hot water dough (three parts boiling water to one of cold) and started shaping the things. I ended up with a couple dozen and started them cooking when I ran out of dough.
While they cooked, I chopped more Napa and some green onions and then stir fried them with the cold lo mien until it was all cooked and hot and combined. That was turned out into a bowl, and I used the same pan to cook the last of the filling. John and I ate as much as we wanted of the pot stickers and of the lo mein and as we were eating, Fezzik went out when we started, came in in the middle and then he started barking. Startled the heck out of me, even with his softer, hoarser bark. He still doesn't bark indoors very often, and the moment I saw him, I saw why. He was barking at the mouse! It had moved from behind the fridge to the stove, and Fezzik had not only seen the movement, but tracked it and was now barking at the stove! So John set the trap up near the stove. In reward for being such a good guard dog, Fezzik got all the stir fried filling in his bowl. He licked his bowl clean. The trap went off when we were done with dinner. John was a great guy and cleaned things up while I finished the last of my food.
Fezzik went out for a bit, lay in the snow, ate a bunch of it, wandered out onto the lawn for a bit and then came back and lay down on his bed and went to sleep. I wrote for a bit while John read, and it surprised me when 11 rolled around. I hadn't thought we'd been at it for that long. A hot chocolate and then I went to join Fezzik. Then again, when I turned off the lights and went to the bedroom, Fezzik woke up, got up and asked to be let outside, in singleton temperature. It was supposed to be 8 degrees outside tonight.
John let him out and he went off and I slept and must have worried at some level because around 3 I struggled against sleep and woke up. Fezzik was sleeping soundly on his bed outside, but it was so cold I nearly couldn't go to the bathroom. I actually put on a flannel shirt just to go and lay awake worried, so John actually went out into the frigid cold and lured Fezzik back into the house. He seemed pretty stiff, and stumbled about a bit coming in but that may well just have been because he was still half asleep. I heard him settle down on his bed inside just as John settled back into his and they both went back to sleep. I soon followed. I woke again soon after when I heard the house's central heating actually kick on. We don't actually have it off at night, it's set for 60 degrees in the center of the house; but our bathroom has a bunch of windows and is on the corner of the house. It has a space heater that I probably just should use at night, but I try to be so quick it doesn't really have much of a chance.