Category Archives: Pets

The Valen-Times

It’s a gorgeous weekend here in Oregon!

My Valentine’s weekend started out a little womp womp, with a citation for riding the train to work without a ticket. It’s completely my fault, of course, for trying to outsmart their electronic ticket system. But still, not a great thing to have happen first thing on Friday morning.

The rest of the day, however, was great. A group of us walked from the office to Verde Cocina for lunch, where I forgot to take a picture of my huevos rancheros because they were so devious looking that I immediately started wolfing them down. Verde Cocina serves Mexican food with an emphasis on farm fresh veggies. Nothing is deep fried, and there’s a lot of non-traditional ingredients used, like squash, bok choy, and quinoa. I first tried it a few years ago at Portland Farmers Market so I’m thrilled that they opened up a cafe not far from my office. Also I can’t wait to try their margaritas because I bet they are phenomenally fresh.

Friday night was the start of a much needed restful weekend. We didn’t have much in the fridge or pantry for dinner, so we ran to Whole Foods and picked up some “gourmet organic” frozen items: tater tots and samosas. I had a bag of “lite ultimate Caesar” salad in the fridge, and some asparagus. I mixed up the salad, drizzled the asparagus with EVOO and salt and garlic pepper, and roasted it at 425 until it started to brown, while our gourmet frozens were cooking up. I also found this deliciously odd beer which I sipped while I waited for dinner.



This dinner really hit the spot. Every once in a while, we really like some frozen meal supplements. They are quick and easy, and always feel like a treat. We enjoyed our plates while we we cuddled up on the couch under blankets. Our house has been super drafty lately.

When it breaks 60 degrees in February in Oregon, you don’t question it, you just get your rear outside, so hubby and I decided that a hike with the pup sounded like the perfect Valentine’s Day activity. We headed out to the Tillamook Forest to the Wilson River Wagon Trail to get in a few morning miles (since I was being bad and skipping running group).







The trail was beautiful! We hiked four miles or so out and back, passing waterfalls, glades, and winding in and out of some gorgeous forestland. There wasn’t another soul on the trail. The only downside is that this trail, while being closed to motorized vehicles, is surrounded by ATV trails, so that noise started to get old after a while. Also the rural gun range shots started to get a little tiresome, but neither of these things put a damper on the beauty of our surroundings. Ramsay had a blast. He loves to be a wilderness hipster dog.

On our way home, we were hungry and it was lunch time. So we pulled over at Coleman’s Shady Rest, a roadside diner. I love all the roadside stops in the Tillamook Forest, on the way to the coast. I used to beg my parents for day trips to the beach so we could stop at my favorite diner for pancakes and hot chocolate on the way. Coleman’s wasn’t serving breakfast anymore, but they still had huevos rancheros on the lunch menu (I’m on a huevos kick lately). YUM. I think a more accurate description of this would have been “eggs and chili verde,” but I didn’t care because it was so darn good.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

For dinner, we stayed in, cooked up one of our favorite meals, chicken teriyaki, and watched Dateline, because my husband is the best and agreed to watch disturbing crime shows instead of a romantic movie or something. I also broke in my Moscow mule mugs.

Today, we worked on finishing touches with the paint in our room, took the dog for a walk, and enjoyed opening up the windows and airing out the house. I’m not ready for Monday!

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Hot Mess o’Life

I got my Erin Condren life planner and wrote out a whole two week editorial calendar and had all manner of high hopes and aspirations for these last few weeks. And then work got busy and our house got messy and our cat got sick and we had to put her to sleep and I became an emotional hot mess. So, in a nutshell:

I love my Erin Condren planner, though I’m still working on using it to its full potential. I managed to jam it into my purse so I pull it out whenever I have a moment to organize my life through the day.

I joining the Runner Chick training group based out of my local Roadrunner Sports store (with friends, obviously, because I am codependent when it comes to exercise). It’s been fun to get with a big group of people and run on Saturday mornings and I’m looking forward to continuing with the half-marathon group and HOPEFULLY register for the local Rock & Roll, because the medals are legit and pay tribute to the famed Portland Airport carpet (RIP #pdxcarpet). Plus running with pacers and trying to keep up with friends is very helpful for my split times. Stay tuned for more…I have to pay money for this group to ensure I stay dedicated.

Work has been crazy busy (end of our fiscal year, what what to my fellow accounting types!) but we make time weekly to order crazy noodles from the Vietnamese place down the street and my tummy loves it. Picture pad thai without the fish sauce plus the bok choy and some bigger noodles stir fried to ultimate deliciousness. Seriously I think I’ve had these once a week since I started my new job. Worth the splurge. Plus the bok choy makes it feel slightly healthier than it is.

Our baby girl, who’s been with my husband for something like 13-14 years, recently was diagnosed with Feline Cushing’s Disease (on top of diabetes, arthritis, and a benign tumor in one eye) and we made the excruciating decision that it was time to put her down last week. She wasn’t getting better with her medication, and her quality of life had decreased, but it was definitely the most difficult decision we’ve had to make as a family. I was in tears at my desk all day Friday, especially when I got this text message:

All the tears in the world every time I look at this.

Now we are loving on our furry baby boy who clearly misses his sissy and keeps running to her room looking for her. Time heals all wounds but this one is deep for us. We definitely lost a member of our family and it was a tough weekend for us. Aka I skipped my run (which, in hindsight, was a terrible decision) and we drank beer and ordered Chinese food and barely left our house.

These looks.

Now, it’s a fresh week, we have a clean house, and we are well rested after being forced to sleep on our couch for a week while we painted our bedroom. Clawing my way back onto track for 2015…still feeling the promise and still happy with all we’ve accomplished so far!

Now, your turn:
-How do you cope with the loss of a pet? How do you help your pets cope with the loss of a pet sibling?
-Are you in a running group?
-What do you think about the #pdxcarpet hysteria? (See examples here: As a lifelong Oregonian, this carpet has always signified coming home, and I have ALWAYS loved it, but I think the new pattern pays tribute in a fresh way that is not infested with 30 years of bacteria.

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RIP Ziggy

Yesterday was a rough Friday, as I had to take the afternoon off to take my mom to the vet, where we had to put down Ziggy, the cat I picked out while I was in high school who has grumped around my parents’ house ever since. Ziggy was some sort of a Maine Coon mix (aka he looked like he stuck a paw in an electrical socket), and was nice to people only when he felt like it. When I was still living with my parents, he liked to barge into the bathroom and climb up on my shoulders while I tried to pee (very uncomfortable), he liked to stick his tongue in my ear, and he LOVED when my dad wrestled him and shoved him around the floor like a mop (my dad is a real animal lover, can you tell?). He also loved to shove his puffy body into baskets and boxes of all sizes:

Basket Case


We no longer allow my mom to drive herself to these hard vet visits (I believe the tech yesterday referred to it as “a quality of life conversation”), so I took the afternoon off, picked up my aunt, and all three of us (plus Ziggy backseat in one of his favorite baskets) drove off to the vet, where they confirmed that he was indeed in pain, and unless we wanted an expensive surgery that may or may not work, it was probably best to put him down. My mom and I stayed with him until the sedative kicked in, scratching his ears until he was no longer coherent, then let the vet do her thing. It was the first time I’d ever gone to the vet under these circumstances, and trust me when I say that being on multiple antidepressants really helps. When we loaded up the box we will bury in the backyard, I treated everyone to fro-yo and a drive past my new house (we’re in escrow, and that’s a happier post for later), then we stumbled across a vintage sale at a country grange, so it ended up being kind of a nice girl’s afternoon, given the circumstances. Then we got home, unloaded the box, and let the wine flow.

Ziggy was a misunderstood fuzzball, and even though he got progressively grumpy (especially in the throes of renal blockage and failure), I loved forcing snuggles on him. I’ll miss him. My parents are now a one-cat household, so hopefully the remaining kitty, Chester, learns to be a little less annoying.

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AWOL for a While

So lately I’ve been MIA from the online universe (with the exception of Facebook, which I’m constantly connected to against my better judgement), due to some terrifying happenings in our home. The brief version:

I came home one Monday at lunch to walk the dog. Our normal lunchtime route takes about 10-15 minutes, and is the same every day. This particular day, however, my poor, 23 lb pup and I were attacked by two full grown, off leash pit bulls as we turned towards home.

The dogs’ owners were not home at the time, but some random girls came running out of the pit bull house to try and get control of their dogs. This led to a lot of pushing, shoving, and swearing, as I was thrown to the ground in a string of obscenities related to me needing to grab my dog (which is a challenge when he has a pit bull on each ear). Finally, someone else was able to wrestle one of the dogs, one of the girls was able to pull another away, and someone shoved a shaking, bloody Ramsay into my arms. I ran with him back to the house, in hysterics.

Thankfully, my husband was able to come home right away and rush him to the emergency vet. When he burst through the front door, he found both of us bloody and scared on the kitchen floor. My dad came and took me to urgent care, where they treated a few puncture wounds and gave me a tetanus shot. Poor Ramsay spent 8 hours at the vet, having a long surgery to insert drainage tubes at the worst injury sites.

The gist of the story is that we are both still alive, Thank God. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. We spent the rest of the week at home, forcing painkillers and antibiotics at the dog while he shivered on the couch in a cone and a tee shirt to cover his oozing wounds. Now we are involved in a long, drawn out county procedure in hopes of getting our $750 of vet bills paid.

I don’t believe that any breed of dog is inherently bad, and though many of our friends have hoped the attacking dogs would be put down, Shayne and I don’t want that at all. It’s just so unfortunate that there’s so many bad dog owners out there that give certain breeds a bad reputation. This experience totally made me feel maternal, and I’m so so thankful that the dog wasn’t more badly injured. Now I’m trying to emotionally recover. I’ve never been afraid of dogs before, but all of a sudden I’m jumpy and nervous around big dogs.

And that’s why there’s been no blog posts for weeks and weeks. More to come soon, as I reclaim my life from the recent chaos.



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This is Ramsay, who joined our family last week! He’s a 10 month old field spaniel-something mix, and he’s probably the calmest dog I’ve ever met in my life. He was rescued from a shelter in Riverside, CA, and we don’t know much about his history, but from what we’ve observed, he was housebroken at some point, and crate trained too.

He’s definitely still adjusting to life outside the shelter. He’s slowly starting to eat, and develop his bathroom routine, but for now he’s content to sleep allllllllllllll night, most of the day, and occasionally be dragged on walks. I feel like such a mama, because I am so excited each time he makes a small bit of progress…like tonight, he started eating without being prompted/having food shoved at him, and I about cried I was so happy. Probably because I’m a worrywart.

Sidenote – right now, he is playing with some rawhide bacon. I’m so proud.


He LOVED his bath the other day – he was a good sport after the first couple of minutes. After we managed to get him mostly dry and brushed, he was really energetic and ran up and down the stairs, itching his nose on the carpet, and then decided that maybe fetch would be really fun with the squeaky toys at 11:30 PM. That’s actually the most energetic we’ve seen him.


We think he’s pretty happy with us, judging by this picture. It will still take a while for him to get adjusted, and I won’t stop worrying until he does, but he’s a great member of our little family.

Plus I’ve wanted a dog LITERALLY my entire life, so now I feel like a part of me that’s been missing for 23 years has been found. When I was a kid, I begged and begged my parents for a dog, and when they told me no, I wrote a letter to the Humane Society about how my parents were so mean, and I was really responsible and deserved a dog. They responded with a nice letter and a packet of information about how much goes into taking care of a dog. Then, I proceeded to drag around a scrub brush on a leash for a few weeks (its’ name was Abby), hoping that someone would tell my parents “just get her a dog already, that’s so sad!”

And now, here he is. Currently sitting on the floor chewing on a dental bone.

I’m very happy 🙂

In other news, today’s WOD was an ass-kicker. Started off with a 400 m weighted run (40 lbs), then a 15 minute AMRAP with 30 DUs and 10 pull-ups, followed by another weighted 400 m. I was a crab after it was all said and done. But I did do an entire workout with banded pull-ups this time, which is an accomplishment. Though they weren’t pretty. I managed to squeeze in 4 rounds and my 5th set of double unders.

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