Monday, October 28, 2013

Zeezy's Half-Birthday

A few weeks ago, I read this piece on NPR, which is a response to the popular "Dogs Are People, Too"  New York Times article. Basically, what the author says in the NPR piece is, "Duh." Anyone who has known and loved a dog in their life knows, without empirical research to back it up, that they have feelings and emotions and plenty of brain activity. And even though all this talk is about dogs specifically, I can't help but relate it to our cat, Assisi, who turns two and a half today.

Look at that handsome cat!
 (Sidenote: Eric recently read that the reason there is so little research about cat brain activity and behavior is because cats are notoriously not very cooperative - it once took a researcher four years to prove that cats can count to four. This is what I love about cats: they don't let anyone else tell them what to do.)

Yes, today is our little adult kitty's half-birthday, kind of. We don't know when his actual birthday is, so we decided that we would celebrate it on April 28th, the day we brought him home. So today we are also celebrating six months with this little fuzzball.

We both feel so grateful to have Zeezy in our lives, especially because we were close to getting another cat. One of the first things we did after I got to Santa Fe (literally, I hadn't even been here for 24 hours) was go to the Santa Fe Humane Society. I had waited years to adopt a cat and I didn't want to wait even a few days longer. But the universe had other plans. After we had looked at the cats and picked out a few that we wanted to meet, the woman at the front desk told us that all the cats were being sent to a shelter in Colorado later that week and none of them were available for adoption. To put it lightly, I was bummed. I didn't have my heart set on any one cat in particular, but I was so in love with the idea of having a cat that not having one for another week seemed terrible.

Now I am so grateful that we didn't get a cat that day because if we had, we never would have met Zeezy only six days later. Of course, we probably would have adopted a perfectly great cat, but it is hard to imagine having a cat as awesome, lovable, smart, cute, etc. as Zeez. We both feel like we have found our cat soulmate.

 Here are some of our favorite things about Zeezy:
  • He is super playful. When you give him a catnip toy, or a string to chase, he gets the cutest look of excitement on his face. He does somersaults, jumps around, climbs up his scratching post - all of which keep Eric & I very entertained.
  • But he is also a cuddlebug! He plays hard and he sleeps harder. He has a lot of favorite sleeping spots in our house, like the armchair, his cat tower, our bed, and on the nicest rug in the house (which is permanently covered in cat hair). But he also loves to be close to Eric & I, and he will often plop down next to us on the couch OR he'll sit right on our laps. While he's napping on our laps, he likes to have his chin and neck scratched and he also liked getting his paws massaged. We are usually pretty willing to spoil him.
  • He loves potato chips. And tortilla chips, and pretzels, and cheese puffs... pretty much any crunchy snack that we have, he wants. Every once in awhile, we indulge him with a small piece, and it is so cute to see him crunching on a tiny tortilla chip. If you have never seen a cat eating a chip, you are missing out. 
  •  He is super cute. Not that we're shallow cat owners or anything... but it doesn't hurt.
  • He loves us. Whenever he hears Eric's truck pull into the parking lot when he gets home from work, he jumps into the windowsill so he can be the first to greet him. He pays attention to us even when he doesn't want food. He sleeps on our bed with us every night, and has even learned to curl up right at our feet once all the lights are turned off. And we can just tell that he feels the same way about us that we feel about him. There's a real deep connection here.
So thanks, Zeezy, for making us so happy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We have had a very pumpkin-filled October, and rightly so - pumpkins are delicious, nutritious, and all-around useful. Plus, it doesn't really feel like fall for me until I go to a pumpkin patch. So a couple of weekends ago, I convinced Eric that we should drive down to Corrales (just north of Albuquerque) so that we could pick out some pumpkins, instead of buying them from a store.

After we picked out four pretty sizable pumpkins, we bought some chocolate chip pumpkin bread and lemonade and had a little picnic with a great view of the Sandia Mountains. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon. PLUS, as we were driving back to Santa Fe, our friend Liz sent us a text and invited us to carve pumpkins at her house that very evening! We were so prepared.

Pumpkin carving pros.
The results - you can see my cat face and can kind of make out Eric's Zia sun sunset in the center.
After that, we still had two pumpkins to turn into various foodstuffs. In the past, I've mostly relied on store-bought pumpkin puree or pumpkin baking mixes to get my fix, but this fall we've been especially ambitious in the kitchen. First order of business: Chopping the pumpkins.

After peeling, de-seeding, and chopping a whole pumpkin.
Pumpkin #2 got a little messy.
It was definitely time-consuming and kind of a pain to prepare the large pumpkins, but it felt pretty satisfying - plus, now we have a ton of pumpkin chopped up, just waiting to be used in a bunch of delicious recipes.

Last week, we made coconut-spiked pumpkin soup, and it was so good (especially with a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top) that we are about to put another batch in the crockpot. I have also been roasting pumpkin seeds like crazy and they are now my favorite snack to have at work. But perhaps our most impressive use of pumpkin was last Sunday, when we endeavored to make pumpkin beer.

Stirring the brew cauldron filled with pumpkin goodness.
A lot of beer recipes use only pumpkin spice, but we wanted to try it with actual roasted pumpkin in the mix. It's too soon to tell whether our efforts will be rewarded with delicious beer, but it did smell amazing the whole time we were making it, so that is a good sign. In about 3 weeks we'll know the results!

We still have a ton of pumpkin left - luckily, Eric bought me a whole cookbook of pumpkin recipes a few years ago! He's off to Texas this weekend to climb some rocks, so I'm going to have a lot of time to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, etc.

And before I wrap this up, here's a picture of our favorite lil' pumpkin:

Oh yes, we bought Zeezy a Halloween costume, and yes, he looks adorable in it.

He doesn't particularly LOVE wearing it yet, but we're working on it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekend in Pictures

Happy Monday! It's always much easier for me to go back to work for the week when I've had a super fun-packed weekend, because I feel satisfied that I got the most out of my days off. That was definitely the case today - Although it is nice to be home, drinking a glass of wine and looking over some wedding invitation samples that arrived in the mail this afternoon. Anyway, here's what we did this weekend!


These are some of the first pumpkins of the season, displayed beautifully at the food co-op. We stopped there Friday night to pick up some food to bring to a friend's house, where our friend Jon grilled up some hamburgers. Between this pumpkin sighting and the chilly weather, it definitely felt like autumn. The six of us made plans to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta the next morning.


We woke up before the sun on Saturday morning to drive to Albuquerque and arrived just as the first few balloons were setting off. I took the above picture right after we parked - it wasn't even 7 am and we had been awake for multiple hours. But it was worth it because soon the skies were filled with balloons:

Some of our favorites are pictured above, like the gargoyle and the Darth Vader head. Others included bumblebees, Elvis, Smokey the Bear, and a giant fire hydrant. But most of them were just normal balloon shapes with beautiful, colorful patterns. We got back to Santa Fe before noon, making it the longest Saturday morning that I have ever experienced. But it was definitely worth it.

In the evening, after some napping and relaxing, we went to the Railyard and saw a band from Scotland (Frightened Rabbit) play. They were a pretty fun live act, although we only made it through 6 or 7 songs before we needed to go home and sleep some more.


We went with our friends up to the ski basin and rode the ski lift up to the top. We had never been up there before and we were so glad that we got to see it in the fall - the aspens were beautiful and the view was all-around spectacular:

Not pictured: buying green chiles and goat cheese at the farmer's market, making a pork and green chile stew in the crockpot (thanks to Eric's grandma Bev for the inspiration!), and clocking some good Netflix time (Parks and Recreation and Freaks and Geeks!).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Appreciation Post

I think we need to blog a little more. Not only do I love any excuse to write about my life and post great pictures of Zeezy, but I've noticed that our last few entries have been pretty long-winded. And since apparently everyone has a short attention span now that the internet exists, it's probably a good idea to keep things short-ish. (Although, I am kind of a long-winded writer anyway, so take that with a few grains of salt.)

 So, it is FALL. The best season of them all, in my humble opinion. It is cold enough to wear all of my favorite kind of clothing (hats, scarves, sweaters, etc.) but not so cold that you never want to go outside. At night it is cold enough for us to justify making a fire in our little fireplace, which makes for a very cozy evening.

Zeezy curled up next to the fire - awwwww!
Today was the coolest (temperature-wise) Santa Fe day we've experienced since moving here, with a high around 58 degrees. And it was glorious.  Suddenly there are fall colors abound, with orange and yellow leaves that are falling to the ground and that crunch when I step on them. (Is the crunching of leaves under your feet not one of the best sounds?)

Yesterday we went with our friends to an elementary school's Harvest Festival. This school in particular has an AMAZING school garden program - a lot of the food they grow gets used for their school lunches, which is so cool. They had a little event to celebrate their fall harvest with food that they prepared from garden-grown veggies. The students were selling seed packets that they put together and raffle tickets to win a pumpkin they had grown! It was adorable and inspiring to see kids so stoked about gardening - one girl ran up to us with her hands full of salad greens, so excited about what she had harvested that she had to share it with everyone she saw. It made me wish that my elementary school could've had a gardening program. This school even has a wood-fire oven in their garden. So cool. It was a great way to get even more into the fall spirit.

This weekend we're hoping to drink some pumpkin beer, go to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, and get some nature time. Sounds pretty darn good to me.