Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A tale of one bone. And three tails.

A couple weeks ago, two friends came over for dinner and brought Cheyenne a rawhide bone.  She toyed with it a bit but was otherwise uninterested. I don't buy Cheyenne rawhide treats because she'll gnaw on them a bit here and there, and on occasion toss one in the air at me to signal that she would like my attention, but that's about it. Unless, of course, there is another dog in the house, at which she morphs into a monster with all of her toys and previously ignored rawhide treats or discarded bones. Such was the case on Sunday when I had some friends over to watch the unfortunate performance of the Texans. 

One friend brought her dog, Piedmont.  Cheyenne and Piedmont get along very well, except of course when it comes to Cheyenne sharing anything at all. When Piedmont arrived, the two dogs ran around the house together for a bit, and then Piedmont spotted the rawhide, but Cheyenne quickly took it from him. My girl, of course, settled down with her posession.  Not to chew on it, mind you, but to hide it.


Needless to say, Piedmont was not at all happy to be rawhide-less.


When Cheyenne realized there was chips and queso on the coffee table, the rawhide was immediately forgotten.  Piedmont took advantage of the opportunity.


After the dismal loss to the team I cannot stand from a city north of Houston that I will not name, my guests went on about their days and Cheyenne eagerly snatched the rawhide as soon as Piedmont was out the door.  Again, not to eat it, just to have it.


That might have been it, at least until the next time Piedmont came over and the cycle repeated itself.  Except this morning I was awoken a little after 7:00 when Lowes arrived to deliver and install my new washer and dryer.  I opened the front door and gate for them and Cheyenne ran out past me do her morning business.  With one eye on her and while talking to the delivery men, a man rode his bike up to me, pointed to a yellow lab and asked if the dog was mine because she had been in the street and he was concerned.  I thanked him for his concern, explained that I knew the dog, Bailey, and that she was my neighbor's dog.  Cheyenne and Bailey had discovered each other by this point and were a brown and white blur as they ran around the yards and alley in playful chase.  The delivery men were waiting for me to show them where the washroom is and the guy on the bike is waiting to make sure I take care of Bailey, and the dogs are butt-tucking and circling and not at all listening to me call them. 

Did I mention that I am still in my pajamas at this point?

I asked the delivery men to wait one second while I grabbed Bailey's collar and led her back to her house.  Her owner was nowhere to be seen, but his garage door was open enough for Bailey to get inside.  Thankfully, in she went.  Not thankfully, Cheyenne followed. 

This is only two houses from mine, so I figure the dogs are fine for the moment and I walk back to the delivery men and bring them inside the house to show them where the washroom is.  When I return outside to get Cheyenne, she's right there in the livingroom.  Good girl, I tell her, and then I walk to the neighbor's to see if Bailey is still on the loose.  The garage door is still open a bit but since I don't see Bailey anywhere, I figure that she's inside, and I walk back to my house as the delivery men are bringing in the dryer through the front door.  Relieved that the circus is over, I go into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, which is when I discover Bailey under the kitchen table chewing on the rawhide bone, and Cheyenne with her sad sack eyes standing over her. 

Bailey stands, rawhide in her mouth, looks at me, looks at Cheyenne, and runs past the delivery men with the dryer on the rollers and straight up my stairs into my bedroom.  Of course, Cheyenne follows and of course I follow as well.  Not to be cornered, Bailey shoots back down the stairs and out the front door.  Again, Cheyenne and I follow.  Bailey runs straight to her house and under her garage door.  I grab Cheyenne, peek under the door and see that the door to the house from the garage is open, so Bailey has gone inside and is no longer my problem.  Cheyenne may or may not have seen it that way but when I asked her if she wanted a treaty, she happily trotted along side me back to our house. 

I can only wonder what my neighbor thought when Bailey ran into his house with a rawhide in her mouth.  And I hope that the treaty made Cheyenne forget about the rawhide that she really never cared about in the first place.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raising the roof

Yesterday I went to a six year old's birthday party.  It was early evening, and at the celebration were a small group of six adults, and four boys between the ages of six months and six years.  I do not remember the last time I was around four boys between the ages of six months and six years, but WOW.  If we could bottle up just one hour of their combined energy, I have no doubt that we could power the entire state of Texas for at least six months.  Of the 20 photos I shot, not a single one is completely in focus.  It's impossible, these kids move too quickly and their direction of movement is completely unpredictable. 


The above photo is the most in-focus that I have and let's face it, he's six months old.  But just as I snapped the photo, he whipped his head around to explode a huge grin of love and happiness at his Mum.  When I look at this picture of him, I want to give him an award for World's Most Yummy Cheeks.  Seriously, that face!

The birthday boy tried very hard to be patient while the party ate pizza and birthday cake.  He wanted to jump into that pile of presents because afterall, they were all for him!  When the moment came, he was a blur of unwrapping activity, gushing with delight and appreciation, jumping up to give hugs and thank yous, then jumping back into the pile of gifts to open the next one.  It's refreshing to witness such young and unfiltered excitement. 


This is the second birthday party I have been to at this house in the past five days, and the third in the past two weeks.  Each has been different and each has provided me with a moment of gazing around the room or the back yard and smiling because these people and their guests? I like them. A lot. They are my people, my friends, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the celebrations this month. 


Happy birthday, my September friends!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The recipe

In response to last week's post, I present to you the recipe:

Chicken and Artichoke Casserole

1 3-lb. Frying chicken, cut into pieces
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 Paprika
3 Tbsp Butter
1 10-1/2 oz. can Condensed cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp Chicken stock base
3 Tbsp Dry sherry wine
1 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1 9-oz. can Artichoke hearts (Note: Double this. You won't be sorry)
1 4-oz. can Sliced mushrooms
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. 
  • Melt butter in the casserole and roll chicken pieces in it.
  • Bake in hot oven (400°) until light brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Combine chicken soup, chicken stock base, sherry, lemon juice and tarragon and heat just to boiling. 
  • Arrange artichoke hearts between and among the chicken pieces, and spoon over drained mushrooms.
  • Pour hot soup/stock/sherry sauce all over the chicken, artichokes and mushrooms.
  • Cover and bake at (350°) for 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
  • Do a little dance, because what you are about to eat is so very yummy.  Your tastebuds are going to be very happy with you.
Makes four servings.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


What you cannot see in this picture is my niece sleeping on the couch.  Five minutes before the picture was taken, Cheyenne discovered her "wooby" in a still-packed box upstairs.  I think it's fair to say that between my niece being here and the found wooby, she's one happy dog.


* Postscript: "Wooby" = Cheyenne's baby, her toy, her blankie, her precious angel baby thing.  In her case, it's a $2.99 pillow from Walgreens, which I bought years ago as possible comfort following her surgery.  She loved it.  She sleeps with it, tosses it, chews it, flips it, ignores it and then happily discovers it again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two tablespoons

Last night I cooked my first dinner in my new house.  The dish I cooked was from a recipe of my mother's, one I used to request often for my birthday dinner.  About a (many) years ago, my mom requested that I type the recipe for her.  I'm not sure why I did so on a sheet of her employer's stationery, but that's where it is.  I remember setting the tabs on the typewriter in her home office before beginning the task.  The result of that request landed beneath a push-pin on the inside of the cabinet just to the right of the stove at our family cabin.  If stayed there, right above the handwritten recipe for Aunt Edna's pecan pie, for years.  Recently, I relocated the recipe, its paper yellowed with age and spotted with grease, from that cabinet door to a shelf in my kitchen pantry. 

The dish is a chicken and artichoke casserole.  It has a fabulous smell while it's in the oven and a unique taste that I love and only last night realized to be the combined flavors of lemon juice, tarragon and cooking sherry.  I hadn't made it in years, and last night as I was preparing it, doubling the artichokes as always, I felt such a wonderful connection to my mother.  It was a connection not through the piece of paper but from preparing a meal that she used to prepare, from smelling the tarragon and pouring the sherry.  I was struck by how wonderful it is how a special recipe can connect us to the past, can connect us to memories and people in our hearts.  This time was particularly special as I made the casserole in the same dutch oven that she used all those times she cooked my favorite birthday dinner. 

And the bonus?  I have leftovers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Person who first created Wedge Salads

Dear Person who first created Wedge Salads,

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your salad is the perfect solution for when I have no idea if I want a salad, an entree, or both.  When my eyes fall upon Wedge Salad on a menu, I suddenly have found my way out of the this or that confusion. Plus? Extra points for giving new life to Iceberg lettuce. 

For your blue cheese and bacon, creamy, crunchy, iceberg-resurrecting goodness, thank you!

p.s.  I think if you and Caesar ever had to arm wrestle for a Best of title, you'd win. You would definitely win.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A life among the boxes

I am loving, loving, LOVING my new house.  Unpacking is a slow process, much less stressful than the packing portion of the move.  I'm taking my time unpacking because I don't simply want to shove something out of sight, I want to put things where they belong, where I have a chance of finding them when I need them, when I want to look at them, or want to read them.  The other day, I think I unpacked 15 boxes and while I could see the results because there were no more boxes in my living or dining rooms, when I went upstairs and looked in the guestrooms, it looked as if the boxes had been breeding and multiplying like bunnies. 

Where did all this stuff come from? 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

New address

On the day I chose to move from my old house to my new house, mother nature had a little surprise in store for me.  The day was yesterday and the surprise?  A tropical storm that somehow I was completely unaware of until I opened the Tuesday morning paper and read that I could expect it to rain all day long.  And it did!


The rain made for a particularly wet move, and every towel I own was put to use on the floors.  The rain may have also made for a bit of stress on my part.


But soon enough, every piece of furniture and all the other items of my life were in the new house, my bed even made and ready for my tired self to land there.


And this morning? What a delight to wake up in my new home.  Now the fun begins!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bits and bobs

1.  This morning I received an email from an indecipherable address that bounced my reply to leave me the f*** alone.  The email was brief, "YOU WON SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS IN THE GNLD AWARD SEND YOUR

Really? I won 750,000 pounds and they (whoever the folks behind the GNLD award are) don't even know my name?  I wonder if anyone, anyone at all responds to this email, if anyone thinks, I won, I won, I WON!  How would they know, exactly?

2.  My house has not yet sold.  It has been shown a multitude of times but not an offer has been made.  My realtor tells me that my house shows well but on reflection, I realize that I don't know what that means, exactly.  When my realtor relays some of the comments made by prospective buyers, I find that I want to find these people and ask them if they are nuts.  One woman said that if I added a bathroom downstairs, she would buy the house. What do I have here? Oh look, it's an extra $10,000 in my back pocket that I was just looking to throw away! Add a bathroom?  Seriously? I wanted to find her and tackle her to the ground, preferably in a puddle of dirty water.  Another said that she didn't like the neighborhood.  To her, I would say one word:  Research!  Before this time in my life, I never considered how personally one can take the comments made about the house she is trying to sell.

3.  Tuesday is moving day.  Finally.  It's been hard to live in one house while wanting to live in the other but a few things had to take place before I could move, things like having a Seagrass runner installed on the stairs so that Cheyenne could go up and down them without fear of or actually slipping.  She has a fear of hardwood stairs, that one does. 


I couldn't be happier with the results.

4.  Hopefully my house will continue to show well when empty.  Hopefully, it will continue to show so darned well that it sells.

I'm off to pack.  Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Every morning I see silver linings and I feel hope.  It's magic, pure magic. We're all blessed, in ways both large and small, in ways we can see... or not.  I see though, I see!