Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Like A Bridge over Water with Trouble

Week two. Today Frankie and I and her sister went to the park. And Frankie saw her very first bridge, and her very first creek. Will the wonders never cease? She was absorbed by this bubbling brook and this wooden structure prohibiting her from cascading head first into that funny looking clear stuff. It was precious. However, last night, anything but "precious" came to mind. 

Think Nightmare on Elm Street meets Exorcist meets The Shining. Okay. Maybe not The Shining. But still.  

Okay. Deep breath. Still have sanity (I think). Still have puppy. Still not sleeping through the night. But things are getting better. . . I think. Last night was a tipping point. But perhaps my lack of sleep contributed to the "meltdown". I called the breeder. 

"I don't know, I mean, I don't know what to do." Through sobs. (And it was eight at night. So I'd been through the worst of it by this time.) Ready to admit we had made a mistake. We had no idea. We are sorry. We just can't. I just can't be bitten. . . again.

"Tell me what happened." Tenderly and with the most caring attitude--she genuinely wanted to know what had transpired.

"She won't keep her mouth off of ANYTHING. . . hands, pants, floor, her sissy, shoes, sofa, ME. And, she seems to really be growling at ME. But then. . . there are moments of sheer happiness and pure puppy joy. I don't know what we're doing wrong."

"This is puppy behavior and it won't last forever. It gets better. Trust me. All of this is what every puppy goes through. How long has it been since you last had a puppy?" 

"Years. Decades. I have no recollection of any of this happening." (Selective memory?)

Then the breeder and I discussed (she helping to give me perspective, especially on the Pyr traits--stubborn, super smart and not your average dog, along with tips for helping us get through this puppy nipping stage), and DH and I listening intently, nodding our heads and feeling some relief at these common and well-known puppy-isms. But things which neither one of us can recall EVER having had to deal with in canines past. We are both, after all, older. Perhaps our memories have erased the daunting, trying and nerve wracking dog-raising moments. Neither one of us can recall.   
This morning was a new day.
And then there's big sissy. Maybe a little tired, but so, so helpful. 
Keeping things positive and keeping things in perspective. 
Next week we begin Puppy Kindergarten.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bringing Our Great Pyrenees Puppy Home! (Dear Sleep . . . Please Come Back)

World, meet Francine, aka "Frankie". Frankie, meet world. It's day four and eight hours of sleep later--TOTAL hours, just to be clear. Who needs sleep when you have this little precious soul totally dependent upon you. Oh the love we have poured into this hellion, sweet, sweet baby girl is beyond words. Well, there probably are words, I just haven't the brain cells right now to convey them. We picked Frankie up on Saturday. As you can see, she slept most of the way home. We made formal introductions to the pack, and from the get-go two things were abundantly clear. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Here She Grows! (. . . this is the story of how we keep ourselves sane during August in Missouri)

Two weeks left before the "baby" comes home. We can hardly wait. The anticipation is made even more maddening (though we have no complaints) by the puppy updates we receive from our new girl's human mommy (because canine mommy doesn't have opposable thumbs, she can't send photos). The photo from the top is from this past Friday. The one below is from the week before. We can see every week the weight she's gaining--how big her paws are getting and how much her head has grown. 

Pyrenees puppy-ness is getting me through these miserable days of this summer. While I type, the temperature outside is at a chilly ninety-nine degrees with a heat index of 110! Not real keen on cooking at all here lately, I do have a pot of my homemade marinara filling the air conditioned tomb we're relegated to with yummy Italian aroma. So at least I was able to throw that together, or else we may starve. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We're Expecting A New Member of The Family Soon So I'll Share Something Happy for A Change (and a reflection: My St. Louis, Missouri Today . . . My Gary, Indiana circa 1970s)

Well, we're preparing for the arrival of our newest member of the family in three weeks. My heart is melting over this. As you all know, Dr. Thyme and I have suffered several losses of our most cherished pets. And with each loss, we felt an emptiness that was difficult to overcome. Very. Difficult. Lots of tears. The last loss, Merlin, was perhaps the tipping point. The point at which we both looked at each other and said, Gee, it'd be great to have a dog for its entire life: from puppyhood to adulthood. Because truth be told, the time we have to share a life with a dog is never long enough.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Devil's Food Cake with Fluffy White Buttercream Frosting (Yup, it's chocolate and tomatoes . . . and my rollerblading/knitting escapades)

If you think you're a purist with chocolate, like I am, you may very well look askance at the very idea of tomatoes and chocolate and tsk-tsk this recipe away. Well don't. It's rich, decadent, moist, chocolate-y and has a to-die-for crumb. Top it off with a luscious vegan buttercream frosting and you'll be sooo happy your kitchen has become tomato central--you'll keep this cake in your weekly rotation. . . because the world would be a much better place if we all sat down and had a piece of cake at least once a week. Right now, we're on the "daily" piece of cake ration plan.
 Happiness ensues. 

The tomatoes starting rolling in about three weeks ago. And they haven't stopped. Something had to be done. And with tomatoes coming in by the bucketfuls, I've made every iteration of pasta you can imagine. No. Seriously. I have. Basil's the same way--coming in by the bunches! Normally, I would never in a million years complain about eating pasta. Ever. It's in my DNA to love it: Croatian/Italian--we LOVE our pasta. But a woman has her limits.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vegan Brown Butter Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (. . . and summer canning tips for the "cherry" obsessed)

This is one of those recipes that came about because another oatmeal raisin cookie recipe didn't. I was insane to bake today in this ninety degree gawdawful heat. Cravings have priority. While I was at it--baking, that is, I whipped up some cinnamon raisin bread, too. It was a little steamy in here. (Something about the cinnamon being out made me crave the bread. But I don't know.) I can barely concentrate enough to stay on task going from one room to the next. But somehow today I was able to accomplish both bread and cookies thanks to a little cinnamon-obsessed moment.  

I think of the oatmeal cookie in the way I was raised to think of them: chewy. There are other schools of thought on the matter of oatmeal cookies. And I won't eat them. You know who you are: dry and crumbly. Save that for the shortbread cookies. So after one huge, messy kitchen cookie disaster, I did what any other woman would do, I baked another batch of cookies again, only this time, I wasn't messing around. And brown butter showed up to take these to the next level of yum. It wasn't on purpose, sort of a happy accident with the butter. I wasn't paying attention. But it worked, okay?   

Friday, July 4, 2014

Vegan Black Raspberry Cobbler with Biscuit Thick Crust (Heirloom Amish Recipe. . . and your mother was right: Always. Wear. Sunscreen!)

This week: bake, eat, bake some more, run, garden, pet the dogs and bake again--oh and attend a medical procedure for DH. This cobbler is a result of what happens with a black raspberry patch that's gone amok and a whole lot of stress on the side. The cobbler is an old recipe from one of my mother's Amish cookbooks. Growing up in Indiana, many of our summer trips involved a visit to Amish country. Mom was into the Amish. Though I don't think she'd trade her modern conveniences like electricity (powering her sunlamps!) for the whole "Amish" way. Ever. 

A huge black raspberry crop showed up in our yard this summer. (I have the remnants from the thorns all over my upper arm to prove it--a small price to pay for enjoying these delicious fruits.) We had no trouble devouring them. On my last trip down the hill, I had harvested about four cups of berries. I knew immediately they'd be made into a cobbler (one of DH's favorites). Problem was, I didn't know which recipe I'd use. About ten years ago, I had used this same Amish recipe, but with the traditional butter/fat/and a TON of sugar--the recipe called for. Not this time. I whole-grained the crust up and then cut back on the sugar and of course, used vegan butter. The result was pure heaven. You should check to be sure you have some vegan ice cream on hand. Pretty much mandatory for finishing this dish.

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