Pound cake for Tootie

I picked up the remains of Kaiser today and brought him home.  His ashes, tucked safely away in a little wooden box, sat quietly on my front seat – one last car ride together as I sobbed uncontrollably.  When Hugo came home from an early morning fishing trip, we hugged and sobbed once more together.  Prior to his arrival, I set the bag from the vet, containing Kaiser and his clay paw print, down on the rug in our living room right where he used to lay.  This spot was loved by Kaiser, where he routinely lied down and flipped over onto his back, by gripping the side of the couch with his strong paw and leveraging his body weight to flop over into his most favorite, comfortable position.  Anyways, call me a little crazy, but it felt right to set him down there for a few minutes.  Nala came over and smelled the bag intently – she knew it was her old pal.  He had come home.

For some reason, I wanted to do a little baking this afternoon, almost as a final gift for Kaiser to celebrate how much we loved him.  I am not sure if that makes sense and quite frankly, I don’t really care.  We had leftover buttermilk that didn’t have a use to us, after Hugo bought it for cast-iron pan cornbread last week (absolutely delicious).  A quick Google search produced this gem of a recipe – Buttermilk Pound Cake.  I sliced some strawberries and dusted our slices with powdered sugar.  Hugo and I ate two fat pieces each and didn’t have one guilty feeling between us.  We cheers’ed with our fork and spoon, as a nod to our beloved Tootie (Kaiser’s silly nickname), and I gave Nala a tiny morsel so she could partake in the happy moment.  We decided that the pound cake satisfied our dinner void and called it a night.

Doing a little cooking in between tears

In between fighting the nauseous feeling in my belly and the ball in my throat, I made this yummy Herbed Gnocchi and Mushrooms recipe from The Kitchn last night (no, that is not a typo).  I know that intro didn’t sound very appetizing but believe me, that meal tastes better than I have felt over the past few days.

Hugo and I are venturing out to the beach tomorrow morning, for some sun and relaxation with Nala despite the sad events of the past week.  I am really looking forward to it.  Especially after the somber afternoon I just had.  I had a lengthy conversation with our gardener Jose, who is a staple in our small neck of the woods.  Jose has cared for the livestock, and the ranches they live on, in our corner of the canyon for many years, meaning he knows everyone’s story.  We are currently putting in some fresh new grass in our backyard citrus garden so he stopped by the house around 4pm today to drop off the organic topsoil and grass seed.  We stood in the shade of the house, within feet of my husband’s sleeping bass boat, and discussed the sadness in the air.  I told him about Kaiser.  He nodded and paused, acknowledging exactly what I was saying and feeling with his limited English.  He didn’t have to say much but yet I knew that he completely understood.

We had discussed Kaiser’s health last week, as Kaiser greeted Jose through the fence.  Jose has always been scared of our Rottweilers, based solely on his overwhelming fear of dogs in general, however, last week was different.  I don’t know if it was because Kaiser’s energy was deteriorating but there was a calm sense of understanding for the first time between the two.  Kaiser wasn’t flipping out at him through the fence and Jose wasn’t retreating in fear.  The three of us just stood and talked, enjoying the company and sunshine.

During the rest of my afternoon chat with Jose, we also talked about my ailing neighbor Mark as well as two additional cancer diagnoses in the surrounding hillsides and subsequent deaths.  It was sad, depressing and maddening.  Illnesses are far too common and devastating to everyone they touch.  I concluded the exchange by reminding my friend to count his blessings.  I am not sure if he understood what I said exactly but he felt my energy.

As I am sitting here solo on a Saturday night, as my husband works a sixteen hour shift, a Clear The Shelters show was on TV.  I just watched a few light-hearted videos of rescue animals, some of which were from The Dodo and all of which distracted me from the melancholy in the air.  Check out their videos, hopefully they will warm your heart as they did mine.

Better late than never

After a short four-day hiatus from writing, here I am!  Back and better than ever.  I didn’t really go anywhere, just didn’t have too much to say.  That’s fair, right?

So after my lengthy, 96-hour break, some of which I spent debating whether or not to return to school, transcripts have been ordered, degree programs have been explored and decisions have now been made.  My final decision is to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program in the very near future.  I have wasted the past fourteen years debating it so I decided, enough is enough.  There is no better time than now.  Plus, I found an outstanding online degree program through National University that works very well for working professionals.  It is 100% online and you only take one intensive class at a time, with classes only lasting a month.  I like the sound of it so I am getting pumped to begin.  As of right now I intend to major in Homeland Security (that just sounds bad ass, right?), but that may change as I iron out the final details this week.

As the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards are about to start, this little scholar is typing away as Hugo makes sausage and shrimp paella.  Another outstanding Chef John recipe that is worth checking out.  Needless to say, the house smells amazing.  He has made this recipe before and it never fails to impress.  What a lovely man he is.  Feeding someone you love is a beautiful expression of selfless caring.  I am a lucky girl.

 

Two things I love on this Saturday afternoon: Sex and the City & Infrared Saunas

How is it that I have watched the Sex and the City movie, as well as years of episode reruns, over and over again, yet when it is on TV, just as it is right now, I can’t help but watch it once more!  It is just that good.  I just found myself standing in front of our television, lovingly staring at our eighty inch screen, as Miranda and Steve reunite on the Brooklyn bridge.  Those ladies give me laughs and give me hope; laugh if you want but it’s true.

And that leads me to the second thing I am loving right now: infrared saunas.  After discovering our new local sweat spot, the Organic Sweat Shack, I have now fallen in love with climbing into a small cedar room and sweating my ass off.  Literally.  Outside of sweating and shedding a few pounds during a session, the additional benefits are worth exploring – detoxification, cell growth, improved circulation, and relaxation just to name a few.  My hope is to aid my knee in healing and to drop a few pounds while doing so.  Plus it feels great to sweat again, as I slowly transition back into an active lifestyle.

Super cool stuff you didn’t know that you NEEDED to know about

I have featured all of the below on my links page but since you might not make your way there, I thought I would put these links out here on front street.  This is just the beginning too.  I am endorsing all of these things solely based on my loving them.  If you have a place, product, or anything else worthwhile that you think should be reviewed, please drop me a line.

Super cool stuff that you didn’t know you NEEDED to know about:

Alaska Airlines – My favorite airline.  When you call, you speak to real human beings, normally in Idaho (yes, that’s a state in the USA). Also, in times of need, they are incredibly gracious with waiving fees and actually taking care of their customers.  Their credit card is excellent too. Great perks, such as a free companion fare every year, and no foreign transaction fees.

Alden’s Organic Ice Cream – Delicious ice cream that is made the way it should be, by respecting the cows who provide the base of your ice cream elixir.  Grab yourself a quart and keep it all to yourself 🙂

Chanel Nail Polish – Because of my job (both my actual occupation and place of employment shall remain unnamed), I need to keep my nails simple and clean.  Chanel Nail Polish in Ballerina is the perfect color; I feel feminine while still maintaining a simple, respectable look.

Coyuchi – Very expensive organic bedding/clothing company but based on the one insanely soft blanket I bought from them, very well worth it.  I am starting a piggy bank so I can buy Hugo and I some new bed sheets from here in 2025.

Living on the Earth – Bill Duesing’s essays speak the conscience of the environmental movement in Connecticut. For years I have clipped and saved them for inspiration. Duesing reminds us that the simplest pleasures of life bring the most personal happiness and the greatest harmony with nature. — Representative Mary Mushinshy, Assistant Majority Leader, Connecticut General Assembly

Perfect Bar – THE BEST PROTEIN BAR EVER!!  I survive on these almost daily.

Pesticide Action Network – Support the work they do for our earth by donating a few dollars, signing their petitions or both.

San Jorge Eco-Lodges & Botanical Reserves – 1,700 species of birds, 65 hummingbird species, 15 waterfalls, 14 unique ecosystems, 7 private birding reserves, 4 unique eco-lodges and not one good reason why you shouldn’t visit this magical place in Ecuador.

Teeccino – Amazing coffee alternative.  Really enjoyable at night when you are craving a hot cup of coffee but aren’t interested in late-night caffeine.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon and stir in a little whole milk.  Delish!

Uncommon Goods – Cool online boutique for unique gifts.