Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Relationships (Page 2 of 2)

Just Dogs: Happy Pups Roxie and Charlie

Roxie and Charlie, our goofy pups, Summer 2014

I had no idea that I was a dog person until graduate school. Growing up in cities in China, not only I had not had any pets, I hardly not even had the chance to pat a dog. A couple months into graduate school in California, a senior student in the same program, who later became my best friend, invited me and other new students to join him for a backpacking trip in the East Sierra. It was on THAT hike, I saw a family of five – a couple, two boys and a beautiful golden retriever. Everyone in the family had a backpack, even the youngest kid who looked like he was only four or five years old. Amazingly, the dog had a backpack too, carrying his own water and food. That was the first time I was close to an off-leash dog, and I was a bit nervous that he would come to me or bark at me. But he just took a look at me, and continued walking besides his humans. He looked so content and happiness was streaming out of  his eyes.

That was a game changer for me. First, it changed how I thought of animals, or at least dogs. Without much experience, I always thought dogs were just a pets – they do not have much in themselves, just did everything human want them to do and had to always obey us. But that hiking dog looked so different. He was off-leash. he COULD HAVE gone anywhere he wanted. But he CHOSE to be in his little backpacks and he CHOSE to hike with his family. It was his decision and his life and he was such an individual. Second, I can feel the connection he had with his family. He looked up to their eyes every once a while, he followed their pace even he could have gone a lot faster, he walked besides the kids and sometimes behind his humans when the path was narrow, like there was a strong bond, an invisible leash between him and the family. And I wanted that. I was surprised to realize it, but I was excited to find out too. I wanted that, the dog, the little backpack, the outdoorsy family, the beautiful mountains and blue lakes. ALL OF IT.

Right to left: Hubby, Roxie and Charlie, Christmas 2013

Hubby and Roxie, Summer 2013 (a year after adoption)

It still took me six years after the hiking trip to get my first dog. Busy school, housing situation, relationship, etc. But finally in 2012, hubby and I are out of school, rented a house with a large, beautiful yard,  and our landlord was totally open to new pets. Everything was finally lining up for us. We started to visit shelters and rescues, and the Labor day of 2012, we saw Roxie, our beautiful blue pit puppy, wagging her little tail a fast as she could behind the bars to us. She stole hubby’s heart IMMEDIATELY. That was truly love at the first sight between these two.

It was shocking how much a dog made us feel like a family. Pitbulls are bred to love humans. It is in their blood to guess what you want and try to please you. And Roxie tries especially hard because she was abused as a puppy and we are her first real family. She is also very, very expressive. Just like all the new parents, we took waaaay too many picture of her and she had her own photo diary.

Charlie, Christmas 2013 (two months after adoption)

About a year later, hubby and I got married – a perfect excuse to gift ourselves another dog. After a couple months’ searching, Charlie joined our family at the night of Halloween, 2013. He is such a goofy boy! Charlie is also a very different dog. His personality, his habits, his interaction with us, are very very different from Roxie but equally sweet. It surprised me again that how each dog is its own individual. And just like friends, you can never have too many of them!

Now when we go hiking, we have two over-excited and goofy dogs besides us – well – when they are on leashes at least. (They are not as well trained as the dog which opened my heart.) Roxie and Charlie want to explore waaaaaay ahead of us and keep running back and see why we are so slow. And you bet they will jump on anyone they see to lick their faces, including kids who are way smaller than them. So yeah, they are on leash and they are pulling. But hey, I am still living in my dream. There is nowhere I’d rather be than anywhere with my dogs!

How I Got My First (Two) Sennheiser

My hubby is a geek for tech. He loves computers, sound equipment, and small electronics. He spends a lot of time reading and drooling over them on internet, which I really appreciate. For one, it is nice to have someone who is very knowledgeable about electronics at home. From purchasing new things at the right timing, to setting up network/sound/projector systems, all the way to managing, updating and fixing our current ones, hubby must have saved us so much money. Second, he LOVES doing it. It is not a chore, but more of a hobby. He is always thinking about how to improve our existing projector/sound/network system, and constantly looking for deals or second-hand equipment online in his spare time. It is such a win-win situation for us so I highly encourage him. Most importantly, he RARELY makes a purchase. Hubby is cheap, super, cheap. So even he knows the best, he buys the best price per unit, with one exception: headphones.

Hubby got his first and only pair of headphones in the year of 2000. He was still in high school and just came to the States from his homeland. He got his first summer job working in construction, earned his first (and fat) paycheck cleaning mold off old buildings in NYC. We are talking about wearing whole body suits, respirator and gloves in NY summer without air conditioning. Most of the money went to his college funds, and the only thing he bought for himself was a Sennheiser. This headphone is still, 15 years later, rated No.2 on Head-Fi among all the over-ear headphones, with the No. 1 being a new version of it.

Therefore (with this long explanation), it is not hard to imagine how tickled he was when I told him that I needed a new headphone. I always used cheap headphones, because I rarely listen to music. They are pretty much a “I am busy do not talk to me” sign at work. When my $50 headphone broke, my hope was to get a cheap and petty pair and just roll with it. But when I told hubby my plan, his eyes popped out and his face turned red with anger, at which moment I knew I had made a biiiiig mistake.

It was too late. I begged to take the matter back into my hands, rejected. I begged to be involved in the searching process, rejected. I begged to at least suggest a color, rejected. The only thing I was allowed to do was paying for it. A week later, hubby presented to me three options, all of which were black, ugly, but of good quality (of course). As much as I appreciated that the wait was almost over, I could not hide my disappointment to their looks. Hubby was insulted. Oh yes he was. He stopped talking to me that night and sent me this link. Sigh.

I am gonna skip the discussions we had a couple nights in row after, and just say that at the end, he agreed to consider my one and only one requirement: light color. And he decided to pay for it so I would not cheap out to go for the Frozen. One night after some beer, he pulled the trigger and ordered this beauty, and made us a loyal family to Sennheiser.

Over excitement and alcohol led to a critical error in the ordering process – hubby accidentally ordered both over-ear and on-ear versions. But since we got the on-ear one with an amazing deal, hubby decided to keep them both. So from this, I all the sudden have these –

It is good to have a geek at home. Right?

A Little Bit Sweet

Got my birthday flower this year – another orchid! It looks like hubby has finally settled on the gift flowers.

Birthday Orchid
Last year’s orchid

We had the “flower talk” pretty soon after we started dating. He was not comfortable giving me fresh cut flowers because he thought it was a bit cruel to the flowers (what a sensitive guy). On top of that,  we were both so poor as graduate students that we ‘d rather have all-you-can-eat Sushi than Valentine’s day roses. There came the no-money-wasted-on-flower policy. Apparently we chose not think about cruelty to fish as much because they are so DELICIOUS.As a result, knowing him for almost ten years I probably got fresh flowers only once ever. It was a funny moment because I thought he was gonna propose when I saw the flowers! I immediately felt weak on my knees and had to sit down. It turned out that he was not, LOL. Still now, we are making fun of each other about that moment. But hey, dating for five years and he just moved 500 miles to live with me,  and walking in to my apartment to a big bouquet of red roses on a Valentine’s day – who can blame a girl to think a bit too far? And by the end of the night we did decide to get married – so as least the end result was the same.

Last year was a game changer because I started gardening. We went to garden section of Home Depot so many times and looked at so many flowers together. I guess he liked the look of Orchids. So that was by birthday flower. What I did not see coming is that I got another one this year! At this rate I should have a decent collection by the time I am 50.

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