Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Puppy Love

I always love having a reason to get up and relish in the refreshing atmosphere of early morning before sliding into the regular grind of school life. Having recently acquired a puppy, daily walks at four o'clock in the morning have completely redefined what constitutes "early" for my boyfriend and I.

Our precious bundle of joy blissfully ignores wistful calls of "Cora," we project in her direction. Her name is inspired by the Italian word for brave: coraggiosi. And brave she is. She can ascend and descend whole flights of stairs, climb over tree stumps and chases butterflies, dashing at a full prance.

She also has daggers for teeth, and she loves getting them caught on any type of fabric within reach. Sweatpants? Yes. The couch? Heck yes! The carpet? Oh man, you have no idea!! At least the scraping of tiny puppy teeth makes an unmistakable scratching noise on the carpet, so we can catch her in the act before serious damage is done. She also loves chomping on the chair and table legs... (by the way, don't tell my landlord) and they have become among her favorite chew toys. These again make a characteristic crunching noise when teeth dig into wood, so her naughty habit rarely flies under the radar.

One of Cora's best attributes is her willingness to snuggle. This is of course after we've tired her out so much that she no longer has energy to paw at our faces with her wolverine claws or chomp on our hair, or ears, or faces in general. They're all love bites, at least that's what we keep telling ourselves. As I type on this keyboard, I am glancing down at my pinkened wrist, speckled with red bite marks from the wild baby animal that thinks my hand is a chew toy.

But godamn I love her. I love her so much I dream about her even when she's sleeping in her crate right next to my bed. I think about her during the day and fantasize about the moment I come home and she scampers towards me, shaking in excitement. I wish we had our own secret language so I could tell her exactly how special she is and so she could ask me all of her pressing questions about puppy life.

Things like:

"How come I fall asleep on the couch and wake up in my crate? Is it magic?"
"Why do you pick up my poop? I can never find it the next day."
"Why do some people walk by me and not want to pet me? Am I invisible?"
"What's in that giant ceramic bowl you sit on sometimes? I really want to know."

Maybe one day she will learn the answers to these questions, but for now she is simply my little snuggle muffin.

The lovely lady Cora

Friday, October 18, 2013

Spirit Hawk

The gorgeous 160 acre rural cemetery adjacent to the SUNY ESF campus is often used for outdoor lab sessions. Though it may sound like a creepy outdoor classroom, it provides a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere with endless educational opportunities.

Just last week I was winding my way through tombstones colonized by moss and old growth oaks and norway spruce trees. A few fellow classmates and I were conducting a mycology lab to analyze lichen growth patterns on various substrates. While it was just as boring as it sounds, we experienced a few brief moments of wonder when a hawk swooped down in front of us and landed on a large headstone. Here is our encounter through photographs:

(By the way, the best way to view this series of photographs is to click on the first one and then move through them in rapid succession when they are enlarged. It makes it look like a stop-motion movie or a flip book. It makes way more sense than scrolling through the photos and looks a lot cooler.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Starving Student Meal Deal

Of the two main Syracuse grocery stores I frequent, the closer, more convenient option is my least favorite. However, my opinion was slightly changed last night after a particularly fruitful shopping experience. Tops offers these "Family Meal Deals" where you buy one relatively large ticket item and receive all of the meal fixings that go along with it for free. This week's deal featured a chuck roast with an assortment of veggies, dinner rolls, cupcakes, and a two liter of soda.

The nice thing about this meal deal is the consumer has some choice in the ultimate cost of the meal. My boyfriend and I swung for the least expensive chuck roast at $22.62. But the Family Meal Deal could also be a good excuse for a shopper to splurge a little and purchase a larger portion of meat thanks to all of the savings from the "free" grocery items. Instead of spending $38.87 on a nice pot roast dinner, we only paid the cost of the meat.

The Deal
It's a great deal not only for families pinching pennies but also all of us poor college kids out there who deserve a nice meal every once in a while. It's enough food to split with a whole group of friends so if you ever want to have a family meal with your buddies, have everyone pitch in a few dollars and you'll all be eating like kings even if you're broke.
Our haul - someone may have snatched
 a cupcake before I snapped the photo
(2 liter bottle of soda not pictured)
Don't you love seeing the word FREE