Jul 212014


On Friday Michael and I biked into work together from the park and ride. I was a little wary because my right knee had bugged me the night before (I have no idea why because I’d taken it easy that week after my race). It didn’t end up being too bad, though, and I made good time getting into work. Here is a break down of the morning commute:

I burned 327 calories in the morning. The ride home was really warm but comfortable, the sun was out and it was really pretty outside. My knee was doing ok. Michael left work earlier than I did and rode all the way home, I rode to the park and ride and then drove home from there. I know now that I most likely will not reach the goal of being able to bike the entire way this summer. Hopefully next year… :(

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Here are the afternoon stats:

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I burned 296 calories on the way home. When I got home Michael and I got ready for our new mattress to be delivered (more on that later) and then jumped on the bed with excitement!


Saturday morning Michael and I went over to Dove Lewis Hospital for a two hour Pet First Aid class. I had been looking forward to this class for months! We tried signing up back in March but it was full. Bella is such an active (crazy) dog and she hurts herself a lot (and we’ve hurt her accidentally), so I knew it would be beneficial to take a class like this.


The class was really thorough and the instructor was funny and made the two hours fly by. She had anecdotal stories and used some “dummy” dogs as examples. We learned how to perform CPR on dogs and cats and even got to practice on the fake dogs. It was a lot harder than you think it is. The heimlich maneuver is the same principle as with humans, except with cats you turn them upside down. Doing CPR on a dog is very similar to humans. Put them on their side, though, and the compression rate is the same as humans. She suggested to do it to the beat of Staying Alive by the BeeGees.

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I wanted to share some of the tips and information we learned in the class. One of the big tips was to use KY Lubricant on open wounds. For example, if Bella is out and about and gets a gash or open wound, clean it with water to get the dirt and stuff out of the wound, then put KY on it and wrap it with a bandage. This is for a few reasons–first, using something Neosporin traps germs and dirt in the wound. Second, the tissues¬†needs to stay moist in order for the vets to sew it back together. Good tip!

We learned how to take the pulse on a dog and cat and even got to practice on a real live dog. This is Phoebe:

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Phoebe was super cute and a really good dog. And she was clearly used to being man-handled in classes! So if you put your hand underneath the dog’s leg, kind of like the “armpit” or elbow, you can feel a pulse. A normal heart rate for dogs is 80-140 beats per minute, for cats it’s 140-200 beats per minute. If the pulse is really slow in cats, that’s a bad thing. When they are in distress their heart rates and temperatures tend to decrease instead of increase.

If the dog has been injured badly and needs to be picked up, or has injured their head/face in any way, you want to muzzle them to prevent further injury–especially to yourself. The vet said that even if it’s YOUR DOG, that doesn’t mean it won’t bite you if it’s freaked out. She showed us how to create a muzzle with a scarf (or belt or leash). You wrap it around their snouts (not too tight, they still need to breathe and swallow) then wrap it around the back of their ears and tie it off.

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Giving mouth to mouth is the same as humans, too. You cover their nose and mouth, letting the tongue hang out a little bit and then breathe. If the dog is still breathing but they seem weird, check their gum color. If it’s grey/blue/white/purple, get to a vet hospital right away. If it’s pink they are doing ok and the heart is working properly. If the gums are bright red they might be suffering from heat stroke.

Heat Stroke! Something I have worried about with Bella. She said that some tips for heat stroke is to cool the dog down with room temperature water–just get them all wet. Put them in front of a fan to cool off. If they are panting really hard, check for saliva. If they are drooling and it’s a normal amount/color/consistency, they are probably ok. If there is no saliva or it’s a weird color or thickness, they are dehydrated and need to go to the vet hospital right away. She said don’t use ice water to cool down the dog because it causes the blood vessels to constrict and is counter-intuitive to how dogs cool down.


The class was definitely more dog focused, but it did cover some good cat stuff and there was some hands-on experience as well as discussion. The vet answered a lot of questions that people had and everyone had some good questions. I asked her about some of the stuff we’ve wondered about Bella and she reassured us about things. I asked about the mushrooms that sometimes pop up in our yard. I do my best to check the yard a few times a week and pull out any that I see but you just never know. She said the ones that grow in our yards here in Portland SHOULDN’T be poisonous, that Bella might just get diarrhea for a day or so. But there ARE some super poisonous mushrooms, especially out in the wilderness, and she suggested you don’t let the dog off leash in the springtime while hiking just in case she finds something. Some signs of poison–diarrhea, vomiting, neurological issues (like stumbling, not being able to walk, her dog had been poisoned once and was licking the walls–so just look for abnormal behavior) and seizures. Those are obviously medical emergencies and the pet should go to the hospital.

It was a great class!! I am so glad we went and I would recommend it to anyone here in Portland. It was by donation (and donations are great because the hospital is open 24/7). If you live elsewhere, definitely find a pet first aid class near you. It was so helpful and I think it taught us a few tricks that we didn’t know before and gave us some insight on what to look for.

After the class Michael and I went downtown and grabbed lunch on our way home. We stopped at a sushi cart, The Rolling Gourmet. I know, I know, sushi from a food cart? It sounds terrifying but it was really good. Michael has been raving about this food cart for awhile now. The rolls are really big, so you only need to order one specialty roll. They come with two sides–I got a california roll and a cucumber salad. The specialty rolls rotate every day so it’s something different each time.

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I got the LOL roll, which was spicy and had tuna, tempura, cream cheese, mango and avocado in it. Michael got the Ruby Red roll. It was even spicier! It had fish eggs on top and jalapenos. We sat in the park across from the food carts and enjoyed our lunches in the sunshine while the musicians played their banjos and kazoos and sang. :)

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I hit the gym in the afternoon (which was actually kind of nice because the gym was completely empty!). I did some weights and then the elliptical for about 15 minutes. I went hard on the weight lifting and kettle bell work but half-assed the elliptical. I just wasn’t feeling it. I don’t know why going in the afternoon makes me less motivated to go hard…

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My Sunday started with a warm-up on the elliptical and then yoga class. I really needed that yoga class. I’d been feeling tight in all the wrong places.

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Then I spent some time in the garden. All that work I did getting rid of the blackberry bushes…they are all back! So frustrating. I did a ton of weeding and trimming and trying to dig out the blackberry bushes. A few months ago when Michael and I planted our veggie garden, we got something like 18 jalapeno plants. Well this weekend I noticed that one of the plants was growing weird looking jalapenos…

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Um, what are they?? Pictures posted to Facebook. Some people said anaheim peppers, I thought banana peppers, someone else said poblano, someone else said Hungarian yellow waxing peppers. Still no idea. The plant looks EXACTLY like the other jalapeno plants. Just with neon yellow peppers on them.

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I ended up slicing up some of the larger mysterious peppers and put them in a jar with salt and vinegar. This is something Michael does every year with our jalapenos and we have delicious pickled jalapenos all winter long. I decided to do the same with these peppers and time will tell what they taste like…Oh and that tip they say to use latex gloves when chopping peppers? Yeah. Ooops. Didn’t know about that until after I cut these babies…lesson learned!

Jun 232014

When Michael’s dad was in town we took him to the few places we were considering for the rehearsal dinner. The first one, Firehouse, was one Michael and I had discovered recently. I wrote about it and share pictures of their amazing rental space here. I met Michael and his dad on a recent Friday night after my yoga class was over with.

We started with an appetizer and shared it: the potato croquettes. It came with a really spicy vinegar dipping sauce that was pretty overpowering. So much so that my mouth was still “stinging” a few minutes after eating it. I did not like the sauce at all. The croquettes themselves were okay though.

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Next up, Michael and I both got salads. I got the salad with Humboldt Fog goat cheese, currants, hazelnuts and a red wine vinaigrette dressing. LOVED it! Just like the first time, their salads are amazing. Michael got the Caesar salad, same as last time as well.

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For the main courses Michael ordered the pizza with sopressatta and fresh mozzarella cheese. The first time we ate at Firehouse we both loved the flavor of the pizza–the smokiness and richness–but once again it was kind of soggy in the middle. That was disappointing. Michael’s dad got the steak salad and raved about it. He said it was fantastic and I’m glad he enjoyed it! My entree was the handmade cavatelli pasta with baby carrots, fresh basil and pesto and topped with ricotta cheese.

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I loved my pasta! Handmade pasta is fabulous and I don’t usually order a pasta dish in restaurants (the carbs, the calories, etc) but this was something special. The real show stopper, like before, was the dessert. The owner kindly comped us our dessert, which was very nice. We ordered the pot de creme. It was really thick chocolate mousse with caramel swirled inside it, topped with a light dusting of salt, toasted hazelnuts and whipped cream on top. It was heavenly!! The salt really balanced out the rich sweetness of the dessert.

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The three of us shared the dessert. It was so amazing but too rich for one person to eat.

What was wrong with our meal? Nothing really but once again the food was pretty salty. We felt that way about the food the first time we were there but I thought maybe it was a fluke. Going back again and really tasting how heavy handed they were with the salt was disappointing. Despite that, we all left the restaurant feeling pretty good about it all and Michael’s dad also loved the rental space upstairs. He said it seemed very “us.” I was about 90% sure we were going to book it for the rehearsal but had one other place for Michael’s dad to check out first.

The next evening we went to Casa del Matador on East Burnside. I would describe it as an upscale, yuppy Mexican restaurant but don’t let that keep you from checking it out. The prices are actually pretty reasonable.

They have a big room in the back for party space. While it wasn’t as secluded and charming as the rental space at Firehouse, it was still a cool spot. It was fairly private, there were big, heavy red curtains than can close off the room from the rest of the restaurant. There was also a “Garage Door” style wall that was open, which was nice because it was so warm and sunny outside, but there were a bunch of tables outside so if we did have those doors open during the event I wouldn’t really want strangers sitting at the few tables right next to us outside… :P


The manager sat us in that room so we could get a feel for the place. I liked it a lot. The boys ordered beer (that wasn’t the kind I like) and I ordered a Ninkasi Total Domination. I love that beer but was disappointed they didn’t have my favorite (Boneyard) on tap like they did the last time I was there. Oh well! Ninkasi is still good. :) After I ordered my beer I remembered that I had wanted to try their Bloody Mary’s–they are supposed to be outstanding. Damn! Next time.


We shared an appetizer while we enjoyed our beers: the jalapeno poppers! I remember years ago when Michael and I were first dating we went to the Casa del Matador over in NW Portland and got the jalapeno poppers. I remember them being SO spicy my face was burning long after the meal was over. I was a little reticent due to that memory but was pleasantly surprised. Yes, these babies were still spicy, but they weren’t overly spicy.


The jalapeno poppers were stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon. It came with a cabbage slaw and a little ranch dressing, topped with green onion. Everything about it was fantastic! Loved it. Michael and his dad both ordered the fajitas. I got the tacos–one carnitas and one carne asada. Came with rice and beans.


We ended up booking Casa del Matador for the rehearsal dinner right on the spot! We all agreed that the food was amazing. Since Michael and I have both been here at least a dozen times and it’s been consistently good every time, we loved the space and it would be a lot easier to get to from the wedding venue after the rehearsal (Firehouse was in NE Portland would have been a longer drive for people). In the end it came down to the food. Firehouse is good but the over salting of it was just too much in the end. I think Matador is a good choice and they even have options for vegetarians. We are working with them now to plan our menu. I cannot wait!!