Had a breakthrough tonight with Charlie and Moe! (Charlie is the old dog and Moe is the new puppy). Charlie is very territorial and jealous: great watchdog, not so good when it comes to new people and puppies, so we haven't been able to leave the two in the same room together.
We've been trying to introduce the two of them in low-stress ways -- walks together (with two different people), sniff-meetings through a baby gate, that kind of thing, but just the sight of Moe was enough to set Charlie off, so that hadn't been going as well as we'd hoped.
But then! Today Charlie and Moe were sniffing at each other through the baby gate and for once Charlie seemed reasonably calm, so I unlatched the gate between them, trying my best to act and sound slow and calm and normal-sounding and unstressed. And instead of trying to take Moe to the ground with his jaws, Charlie sniffed at Moe warily \o/
There was some growling and some chasing, and some posturing, with none of the aggression of before; I hung out in the area reading a book, again trying to exude calm and this-is-all-normal-carry-on-darlings, and I am quite happy with how it's turned out.
Charlie is bullying Moe quite a bit (poor puppy), but in a way that as far as I can tell is perfectly normal: that is, sniffing at, looming over, some barking. Moe meanwhile is alternating between lying down and yelping back. But it's all... I mean it's mostly mock-fighting rather than real fighting, and with some actual play in it. So. They're sorting things out, and as long as no one gets hurt I won't step in.
We're still not allowing them together without any humans in the area close by though! Not after what's happened in all their previous encounters.
(I'm so happy \o/ I love Charlie, and I love how loyal he is, but I was worried his protectiveness meant he would never accept Moe and now I have hope \o/ \o/ \o/)
I've also been having breakthroughs with cooking:
We put out a bowl of lettuce on the table with every meal, in addition to the "normal" cooked vegetables. Now when I say bowl of lettuce, I really do mean bowl of lettuce. No dressing, no salad fixings: just you know, a bowl of plain lettuce.
And I'm sick and tired of it -- in fact I'm sick and tired of a lot of things about food in this house. I mean to post about it at some point (that one I'll put under a cut). But while I was watching MasterChef, it struck me that we have ingredients in this house, hey? And I can use those ingredients to turn that bowl of lettuce into salad \o/
At first I insisted on calling what I did experiments, but now I'm forcing myself to acknowledge that vegetables tossed together with (sometimes) a dressing can too be properly called a salad, even if it's something I thought up myself.
I've been playing around with combinations of grated carrots, sliced almonds, and longgans (I don't know what these are in English, but if you translate literally from Chinese, then these are "dragon's eyes" :D)
For dressing I usually try one that pauamma
taught me. The original recipe called for half an orange, two limes, and some raw garlic. There's no way to get limes here but I've recently found out that dayap tastes pretty similar! Calamansi kind of works, but I think I'll need to rethink the proportions since it's not as light tasting as lime.
I've also learned that you can make vinaigrette at home o_o I thought you needed a fancy machine but no, a vinaigrette is just acid + oil, basically. So far I've tried one with balsamic vinegar / olive oil / honey vinaigrette. I will poke around a bit to see what else I can do :D
OH oh and grilled tomatoes sprinkled with thyme and cheese works perfectly fine with lettuce. I consider that one a success as well.
Tonight I decided to go a bit fancy and aim for a kani mango salad.
Kani doesn't taste anything like crab, but as long as I think of it as fake crab rather than expecting anything crablike from it, it and I get along perfectly fine.
Mango we have a lot of \o/ because it's still mango season \o/ The best thing about mango is that after you slice off both cheeks to use in the salad, you can save the flesh clinging to the seed for dessert. There's nothing quite like cleaning all the flesh off a mango seed completely for sheer enjoyment of food *_*
And yeah, tossed it all together -- restaurants usually add Japanese mayonnaise, but though I prefer the sweetness of Japanese mayo over regular mayo, I don't really like mayo in general. The only thing I like mayo on are tuna salad sandwiches. Well maybe chicken salad sandwiches but that's a big maybe >_>
So anyway, yes, food. And yes watching shows that talk about food in a passionate and loving way :D
I need to see whether the Junior Masterchef Philippines edition is any good >_> I want to get ideas from somewhere local, so I can use local ingredients like oooh calamansi, stuff that would never end up on a foreign cooking show.
SO. ANYWAY. FOOD.