Sunday, December 27, 2009

Can you tell how old I am?

Things I remember from my childhood. How about you?

And well this one is not the original Sesame Street version but from an episode of Family Guy. You can ask me why Seth MaFarlane's production company is called Fuzzy Door. I think Seth is probably the most famous (and wealthy) man from my RISD class of '95.....


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry New Decade

This is a photo my friend and artist Julian Gatto sent me with a note "Merry New Decade". I thought it was pretty and wanted to share.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My hero


Friday, December 18, 2009

Pedigree Dogs Exposed - BBC

Documentary - BBC - Pedigree Dogs Exposed

bordercollie19 | MySpace Video

I don't know if you guys have seen this BBC documentary yet but it's here in its entirety.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The new cat diet revealed

As you know I'm vegan but I do not feed my animals a vegan diet. I want them to have appropriate diets that are not based on my beliefs but that are based on what they need and what is good for them individually.
Cats are carnivores. I know that there are a few vegan cat food products that have Taurine and vitamin D that come from vegan sources but until I can find someone that can really show me that cats can thrive on a plant based diet, it seems way too risky to me. Plus as anyone with cats knows.... how picky they can be to the point of enormous aggravation on the part of their humans. How the hell do you get a cat to eat a plant based diet anyway? Since my last post on trying to figure out a raw meat based diet for the cats, I read a book called "Your Cat" by Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM which is a really good book if you are interested in cat nutrition. She suggests a product called Platinum Performance to be mixed with meat and bone to round out all the vitamins and minerals that they need and we have been trying this for the past few months and I believe it has been going very well. The cats don't mind the mix and they all seem to be doing well on it so far and it is economical, especially now that we bought the big bucket. Our main cat meal consists of the Platinum Performance added to Oma's Pride ground chicken necks with some Oma's Pride ground beef organ mix mixed in. It is the most economical and well liked meal for all the cats. (Some are more picky than the others) We also give them whole chicken necks cut in half or thirds about once a week to chew on for their teeth and gums. It's pretty gross that I have all these animal parts in the fridge, probably even more than meat eating humans with no pets to feed, but I do believe it is best for them. The fact that everything is basically bi-product from animals slaughtered for their more desirable parts like chicken breasts is a small consolation. (for me, not for the animals slaughtered of course....) We also go all the way in to Massachusetts about once a month to buy Hare-Today products that have little packages of ground meats and organs all mixed into one. Their products contain more variety of organs in their mixes (brains, kidney, and tripe anyone?) and since it's all mixed with the meat and bone, much easier for me. Plus the grounds are very fine so the cats ingest all the bone they are supposed to eat without eating around the small bone shards in the Oma's. The cats that had a little bit of "chub" have thinned out and they are not as "addicted" to the food as they were when were were giving them a larger portion of canned food. We still use canned food to put medication in and as a back up for when we forget to defrost a pack of meat but we use it sparingly.
What do you feed your cat?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grandpa's medals

On the left "Zuihoushou" - Order of the Sacred Treasure medal. On the right "Kunshou" medal of honor.

Star of Pakistan medal

I was at my grandmother's house in Tokyo a few weeks ago and she had these on the table in front of my grandfather's shrine so I took pictures of them. The Star of Pakistan medal is the one I wrote about in an earlier post. The others were given to my grandfather by the Emperor of Japan. The smaller one I think was given to him in the 50's and the larger one in the late 80's or early 90's.

I don't know if you can see in the photo but there are offerings in front of my grandfather's picture of a persimmon, a Japanese pear, and a small "omanju-" Japanese sweet. He had a sweet tooth and loved to eat. I remember one day when I was in elementary school, I was visiting their house and we heard the "yaki imo" charcoal roasted sweet potato truck out on the street, the recorded singing coming out of the megaphone on top of the truck sort of like the annoying songs that replay over and over again on ice cream trucks. My grandpa shot up and grabbed his wallet and ran out the door in his slippers to try to catch it, then came back with a smoking hot sweet potato wrapped in aluminum foil. I always thought it was funny because to the general public he was always a very high class kind of guy but things like this made him normal and real and just a funny grandpa.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's a doggie Christmas here

I have been wanting to buy one of these Nina Ottoson dog puzzles for a while now but never could justify spending the money on one as they are not cheap. But the planets have aligned and we've bought our first puzzle! My mother gave me some money to specifically buy something fun for myself so this is what I spent it on.
We bought our "Dog Trubble" at Hooked on Dogs today and have already tried it out. Coleman has to move the hollow wooden pegs to one end of the puzzle for the pegs to be able to be overturned and the treats to be revealed. Coleman got the hang of it quickly, pawing at the pegs and pushing them with his nose but doesn't really understand yet that they will ONLY come loose at one end. Right now it's sort of more like by accident that they end up in the right place. Our only problem right now is that he plays so enthusiastically that sometimes the pegs go flying across the room when he gets them to the right spot and then the treats go flying too and then we have to try to find them. (another level to the game?) Also the puzzle wants to slide all over the place on our hard wood floors so I have to figure something out. I put them on his blanket but that moves around too.
So yeah, it's sort of like Christmas over here with such a nice present that I've wanted for so long!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yes, I like Star Trek

Only those who know me very very well know that I like Star Trek. Not just the original series or Next Generation but Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well. The only one I didn't watch was the newest Enterprise series mostly because I couldn't believe they would cast Scott Bakula as the Captain. Too sacrilegious for me. How can I believe in his new character when in my mind he is Sam Beckett all the way??? (Quantum Leap) Sort of a similar reason as to why I refuse to watch Memoirs of a Geisha - main actresses are not even Japanese! What the heck, I'm not stupid.
Anyway, I was too poor to watch the newest Star Trek movie in the theater so Dave and I have been waiting to see it on DVD and we were not disappointed. Normally I can find some flaw in the the story line that makes it unbelievable but I've watched it twice so far and I am still enjoying it.
I will spare you the rest of my nerdy analysis but I will just put this out there. This is the first movie in a long time that I wish I owned the DVD of...... Maybe for Christmas someone?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And still more puppy pics

You can never have too many puppy pictures.


Monday, November 2, 2009

More puppy pics!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ah! Puppies!

We're fostering 5 week old puppies for a bit before I leave for Japan. One boy and one girl. The girl is much much bolder and the boy is a mama's boy who whines a lot. I have a new found respect for mothers who have to constantly care for newborns. They need so much of your time! At least these fuzzies are super cute. Coleman is somewhat of a control freak so he doesn't see what all the fuss is about puppy mania. He is bewildered by their chaos and likes them much better when they are sleeping.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coleman Fushihara CGC!

Here in the photo I'm just holding up our class graduation certificate but... Coleman passed his Canine Good Citizen test tonight! I am very happy and Coleman doesn't know the difference. We have had a long journey, Coleman and me. He's been my only constant companion for more than a decade and I've learned so much about forgiveness, patience, and love from him. I am positively sure that without him, I would not have the self confidence or the compassion that I know I've gained in these past ten or more years that I lacked to varying degrees before. He is my love.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Grandfather and Pakistan

My grandfather was the President of the Japan-Pakistan Association when he was alive. I think it's called something different now but the Japanese trading company that he was President and Chairman of had a lot of business in Pakistan and I remember my grandmother telling me often that he was away in Islamabad or Karachi. I honestly have no idea if the business he was conducting there was good for the people, exploitative, or a little bit of both. I have wished on many occasions while reading or watching the news that he was around to tell me about his experiences in other countries but most likely he would have brushed it off because I am a girl. He was very traditional that way. When I was growing up in the late 70's to the early 90's he was flying around the globe to Moscow while it was still the USSR, Johannesburg while it was still under apartheid, and I'm pretty sure I remember him going to Iran, Bangladesh, India, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zeland... the list could go on.
Anyway, back to Pakistan. I was watching two videos up on the NY Times website today about a family in the Swat Valley. The father had been running a school for girls for fourteen years and his young daughter was a smart girl that wanted to become a doctor. They had to leave their home though because of the Taliban. The Taliban had ordered the school closed and the rights of women to even just go out shopping had disappeared. It made me so sad to watch these little girls that didn't want to leave their homes and their school and how much they just wanted to learn. Of course Three Cups of Tea is one of my favorite books and Greg Mortenson is one of my heroes. The author is an American that has been building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan for over ten years. The strange thing I learned today was that both my grandfather and Greg Mortenson had received the Sitara-i-Pakistan "Star of Pakistan" award. It is one of the highest honors given to civilians by the country for service to Pakistan.
I find it odd that I was given a first rate private education my whole life, partially paid for at some points by my grandfather whose money was partially made in Pakistan, where still today, girls are struggling to go to elementary school. To me it's bizarre and I find that I grieve for these girls there more than I do for other unfortunate people in other countries, probably because I feel some familial connection. I'm not exactly sure what I wanted to say with this post but take a look at the NY Times videos if you have the time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

From feral to affection hog - Henry

Henry is now such an attention hog that it is hard to walk without tripping over him. His default favorite place to be is between my legs as I'm walking. A far cry from when we first met. He lets us massage him all over and Dave is "practicing" picking him up for short periods of time. I am happy that he's made this turn around but it's almost too much. He is obsessed with us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gosh darn it

There is a free Pete Seeger concert on Saturday at Vassar. I can't go because Dave's parents are coming up for the Farm festival at Hawthorne Valley the same day. Would have loved to have gone. I grew up going to super liberal elementary schools in NYC where all the songs we sang were basically.... Pete Seeger songs, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez etc. I still remember all the words.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Julius is released

I wasn't able to get a picture of Julius being released because he was just too fast but we were able to release him back to the wild on Friday. He was totally weaned and ate a lot before he was ready. He got big and fat, just in time for the cooler weather. It was a small victory for me in a week of what seems like defeat on other fronts in my life. GO JULIUS! Don't get eaten!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hawthorne Valley Farm Store

I can't remember if I already posted about Dave's new part time job at Hawthorne Valley Farm Store. He is working in the produce department 3 days a week. He said that it's really fun to see the local farmers come in with their vegetables and fruits and getting to know who grows what and he makes sure that all the produce looks beautiful and abundant in the store. Next year I hope to be able to sell just one or two vegetables to them as they take small batches as long as it is good quality product grown with no chemicals. The great part for me is that Dave gets to take home day old bread and soup, damaged produce, and odds and ends. Right now we are drinking Vermont Soy soy milk that we got for free and it is SOOOO good. Much better than any of the regular brands. Tastes fresh and light just like the kind you can get in chinatown although I think this kind is organic. We also got South River miso but it's not up to my own personal standards. Maybe it's good if you are not Japanese but I think it needs to ferment more and also be a little sweeter. I had to add mirin and some konbu dashi soy sauce to make it taste better....just my humble opinion. And we always have bread made at Hawthorne Valley, right now we have a nice sour dough. We also get 20% off in the store. Even though he has to drive 35 minutes to work, I think we end up saving money because of the discount and free goodies.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Orange Julius the baby vole

This is Orange Julius. Dave found him in Tink's mouth yesterday but Tink let him go so Dave put him in a box in his studio till I got home from the city. We bought some baby formula and have been trying to feed him from the tip of a paint brush but sometimes I can't tell if he's eating or not. He's under a heat lamp to keep him warm and he has lots of cozy blankets and a cardboard tunnel to hide if he wants. I spoke to a rehabber this morning and this is about the best I can do for now. His chances of survival aren't very good but that has never stopped me from trying. Even before Ichigo there was Manuel, a young pigeon that had a broken back that I tried to save. The rehabbers said 10% chance he'll make it and we tried but ultimately he never fully recovered. I loved him soooo much.
Anyway, this little guy is still alive so far so we're gonna keep trying to do what we can. He is super cute and really teany tiny.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coleman goes to class

I don't have a picture to post with this but Coleman and I started going to group classes last week. We're taking the Canine Good Citizen class at Animal Farm Foundation where I volunteer. I've dreamed of getting him his CGC (it's sort of a title you earn after you pass the Canine Good Citizen test) ever since he was young but we never found the right place to go for training in the city that I could afford and he needs to brush up on some of his behaviors. He has had trouble with being reactive to dogs when he is on leash so that has always been the main hurdle. In our first class though, he had no outbursts and stayed focused the whole time even with dogs on both sides of us that really wanted to come check him out. I am grateful that Bernice and Ashley made sure to set him up for success, even asking me at the door if he would do better entering the classroom last or before the room filled up. We might not pass our first time around (or maybe we will) but we'll be working hard for the next 6 weeks so we'll be as ready as we can.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Boredoms in Troy

(photos by Bryan Thomas - you can check out better resolution pics and lots more from the show click here)

Dave and I drove up to Troy Friday night with our friend Kelly to see this year's Boadrum. Dave was able to play in the last two 77 and 88 Boadrums and had the time of his life so we couldn't miss this year's incarnation. Even though there were fewer drummers (only 9 this time), there was more precision because of it so that was an interesting change. Since I didn't fly out to LA with Dave for last year's 88 I can only compare it to the first one, 77 in Brooklyn. As much as I loved how crisp the sound was at the EMPAC center which is SO amazingly beautiful, I admit that I missed the insane energy that can only be created and looped back and forth by a very large audience of sweaty people and a very large group of sweaty musicians. But, it's sort of like comparing apples to oranges I guess.
Kelly, who came with us, wrote his senior thesis on the evolution of Japanese noise music and most specifically the Boredoms so it was nice to introduce him to his idols Eye and Yoshimi. I was happy to see Hisham since we hardly get to see him anymore and Dave Nuss who, for those of you who were at our wedding, married us.
I never go out anymore so it was a nice treat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Fall Clothes

My friends Tom & Barbara drove in from Michigan this week and brought me clothes and knits they made for my store. I don't have pictures of Tom's crazy knitted headbands, scarves, and hoods, but Barbara took some pictures of her clothes before she gave them to me so here are a few looks. I especially like the jumper dress that has the beetles on them. I wish I could afford to buy it! (It always is strange to me that I cannot afford most of what I buy for the store.) BUT I am very lucky because some of my friends/designers take pity on me and give me pieces for free every once in a while and Barbara gave me a different version of the hot pink bag featured above. I LOVE it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The dilema with feeding the carnivores in the house

So over the last few years, I've been trying to find the cats a good raw diet that is easy for me to prepare, isn't overly gross to me, and is easy to find and buy. Most of the easy to find ones have a little too much vegetable matter in them than I think they should be eating or have something else "wrong" with them so that I haven't kept using any variety for very long. Recently I noticed that the cats were getting overly addicted to their canned food so I looked online to see if I could find any new products or something I haven't seen before. I stumbled upon the Feline Future website and decided to give it a try. Their ingredient list is pretty simple (total of ten) and all you do is mix it with any kind of raw meat. It arrived today and the cats gave it a try. They all ate it up. So far thumbs up. Now the next thing will be to find a place to buy relatively inexpensive ground meat that is hormone free. I used to be able to go to Whole Foods in the city for that kind of thing but not sure where to go now. I don't trust the supermarket very much.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ichigo update & harvest

I haven't written about Ichigo in a while. She's doing well but in the last few weeks she has realized that she can make short mad dashes and try to give me the slip while we are outside. She can only really run for short 5 to 6 ft increments so it's still hard to lose her but one day a few weeks ago I lost track of her and she ended up in the brush and I only found her because she makes noise when she walks, stomping around on twigs and leaves and things. I feel pretty guilty that we didn't have the time or money this year to figure out her outdoor summer enclosure..... Anyway I have been keeping a closer eye on her when we are outside and giving her extra time to walk around in the "turtle room". It's been interesting though getting to know reptile intelligence. I wouldn't have thought that turtles could try to deceive but I'm quite sure that is exactly what she is doing when she tries to run away. She acts normal until she thinks I'm not looking and then rushes into some tall grass to try to lose me. She will also walk back to me in the "turtle room" if I pick up her turtle pellet bag even though I only ever feed her in her tank. She obviously knows what the bag looks like or sounds like.

Our summer harvest is coming to a close. Today I picked collards, kale, peppers, cabbage, lots of basil, some tomatoes, and a few beets. The celeriac looks like it's almost done and I should have waaaay too many very shortly. I'm not going to bother doing a fall planting except for some garlic because the garden is just so darn weedy, it's going to be a chore just to try to clear it up and put the garden to rest before it gets too cold. We didn't do a very good job of keeping the weeds at bay this year. Next year next year........

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Onion harvest

Well, we had a crappy tomato harvest but the onions were easy and a no-brainer. Look at all the onions! I probably should have pulled them late last week but hopefully they will dry alright. There are two varieties in these flats, Alisa Craig and Yellow of Parma. They are from seeds started in February!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer Camp Ends

Today is the last full day that both Pinot and Princess are with us so I tried taking a group photo but none of them came out that great by themselves so I put them together and I think it's kinda cute.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Arent't the Jacob's Cattle Beans pretty?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Porch Crew & Harvest

Henry no longer lurks under the porch all day. He now hangs out in the sun with the other cats and also follows me around when the dogs aren't with me. The coolest part is that he lets me pet him now. I never thought that would happen. He purrs and nuzzles my hand and will let me pet him once or twice on the head. No full body massages yet but maybe one day.
The weather is now hot and dry which is great but a little too late to save my poor tomatoes. I did get enough to can some sauce and eat some sliced up in sandwiches.

This morning I tried to harvest some things and got a crookneck squash, some overgrown turnips, hot and sweet peppers, and some Jacob's Cattle beans that I'll break open later. I think I probably only got a handful but they're pretty and fun. I also got a nice big cabbage but I already used that to make some dumplings. It's pretty easy to make. Just cabbage, tvp, ginger, garlic, and scallions all mixed up inside some pre-made wrappers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More friends & sad tomatoes

Princess is here so now we have three dogs. It took the last few days to get into a good routine with everyone but I think I figured out how to make everything go smoothly now. They are getting along very well with supervision.

I spent part of the day yesterday trying to finish pulling out my blighted tomato plants but I still have a ways to go. I have been putting fruit that is ripe and not diseased and green unblemished tomatoes in trays on the porch hoping that some of them will ripen and be okay but every day I have been checking on them and throwing any away that start showing blight. Look at all my trays!! And there is still more to go.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coleman's girlfriend is here

Coleman's girlfriend Pinot is visiting for a few weeks. We took her to get groomed today and boy does she look expensive now!