Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Happy 14th Birthday!

I am so pleased with myself that I am sticking to these Sadie Sunday blog posts about my beloved Sheltie, Sadie.  She is the absolute love of my life and I want to savor every moment I have left with her.

Today, my friends, is a day I didn't think was possible just a few short weeks ago.  It's overwhelming to me to be honest.  Today is my sweet girl's birthday.  {Well, it's actually tomorrow the 11th.  But close enough.  All week and weekend are her birthday as far as I am concerned!}




Happy 14th Birthday, Sadie!!

I wasn't there for Sadie's birth into the world but I can tell you about her birth into what became our little family of two.  For long time readers, it includes two friends I haven't mentioned in a good long while, Little and B (That Stands For Bench).  {I always change names on this blog unless friends are also bloggers.}

I had just moved to DC to be a nanny {oh the stories I have!} and mentioned to the family that I wanted a dog.  They also wanted a dog but didn't want the chore of taking care of one.  So one day, the mom hands me a sheet with several names and numbers listed for Shelties.  

I bet you are asking if I wanted a Sheltie.  

I did not.  Or I didn't care.  Even now, as much as I love my Sadie dog, I am not breed specific.  But the mom wanted a Sheltie.  I don't think I even knew what one looked liked until she showed me the photo.  I was 20-something and clueless.

So I called one listing and the woman said they had one four month old puppy but a couple was coming in the morning to take her so if I wanted her, I had to come that night.  Calls were made to B (That Stands For Bench) and Little, and off we went on a Friday night to the middle of nowhere Maryland.

I didn't really have big expectations.  I was going to look.  Just look.  But as soon as I stepped out of my car, the house door opened and this adorable, little four month old lovie came running up to me.  I was in like.  And I want to be clear, it was like.  Not yet love.  But I really really liked her.  Her name was Oreo.  Which seemed ridiculous to me.  I had planned to name my dog Mackenzie but I looked at her and just knew that wasn't her name either.  I felt it in my gut.  She was a Sadie.  

We got home so late that night that the family I worked for was already in bed.  They didn't meet her until the morning.  And while they liked her a lot, they never really did anything to care for her beyond the occasional let her out to go potty if I couldn't get home for some reason.  She was my baby right from the get-go.  

So I noted that I fell into like right away but not love.  I remember so clearly feeling worried for several days that I didn't love her.  I really really liked her.  But love took time for me.  I'd say by day three I felt it, but it really developed over that first year.  And of course, over our fourteen years together.  It wasn't instant.  But what we have between us is so pure and true.  




My Sadie has had a tough go at times.  She has always had health issues here and there and I sort of wonder if some of her earlier issues were really other things that we just wouldn't be aware of until later in her life.  From constant tummy issues to seizures to skin issues to pancreatitis to arthritis and then some.  We have spent a lot of time {and so much money} at the vet.  But it was worth it.  Because today, on her 14th birthday {OK the day before, but close enough}, she is here with me and doing pretty well.  




Sadie has been through every move, job change, life change, relationship, friendship, family ups, family downs, and all of the personal issues in between.  She's licked away tears running down my cheeks more times that I can count.  She's walked all over Capital Hill with me and traveled up and down the east coast several times.  She's slept in bed with me and now, unable to get up and down on her own, I tuck her into her little donut bed, the gift I had made for her on her second birthday, every single night.  I walk her using a dog stroller without an ounce of shame because it's the only way she can go more than a few blocks these days.  She has given me more than I could ever possibly give her.  Her love and heart are the purest of any creature.  Sadie is my very best friend and the love of my life.

This day means more to me than I can properly express.  After I called the vet last month, I wished and wished for this birthday to be possible.  And here we are.  




Happy 14 Paws, my sweet Sadie!  Every day of my life has been better with you in it.  Tonight...you get turkey and sweet potatoes!  And lots of extra ear rubs.  And let's be honest, just about anything you want.  It's your day and your world, and I am so lucky and grateful to live in it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Garden Season: A Look Back At 2015





Garden season 2016 is in full swing under the grow lights that consume my dining room table.  I have seedlings popping up in every direction and it's simply delightful.  But before I get to talking about this year, I want to do a quick review of last year for posterity.  It was a doozy to say the least.

Last year I moved from my beloved tiny plot of two years up a few spots to a plot that is 50% larger and overall just in a better area.  It's towards the back of the garden and therefor further away from the annoyance locals who harass me frequently.  It's also a bit flatter.  My first plot was at a very steep slope and I would slip a lot.  I still have a slope but it's a lot less and so much nicer to work in.






The season started out rocky and it honestly never really got better.  There was drama every single week.  Drama over an old hose.  Drama over the new hose that I bought for us.  Drama when the new hose was damaged and then I had to buy us a second new hose.  Drama over plots.  I am a great gardener and asked to use the unused plot next to mine so it wouldn't go to weed.  Was told yes, put in a TON of work, and then a new gardener came in and claimed the space as her own.  In the end I lost and did get to use some of it but not the half I wanted and OMG it was ridiculous.  But I pressed on.  Drama with personalities in the garden because that's the thing about community gardens- there are lots of strangers all sharing space and resources.  I finally at the end of the summer figured out that the best way to keep out of the drama was to just stop reading the endless reply all email chains. Drama drama drama.




As is often the case, lots of vegetables were stolen from the garden.  We have a six foot chain link fence around the garden but it's easy for kids and adults alike to climb and steal things.  It happens every year and to date, no one can figure out a best practice  to avoid it.  Sadly, my most beautiful pumpkins and squash were all stolen .  There one day and just completely gone the next. 



I literally cried big ole crocodile tears right there in the garden when I realized it.  I started those seeds in April and come October, it was all gone.  Others lost tomatoes and a sweet friend lost every single one of her Brussels sprouts.  A dozen Brussels sprout plants just chopped down one night and gone when she came to water before work.  She isn't coming back to our garden this year- that was her last straw.  And I can't blame her.  I nearly did the same thing.




And finally, let's talk about growing veggies.  My squash grew well.  They were mostly stolen but they grew well.  I did manage to walk away with six or eight butternut squash that I am still using up and have loved having them.  They are topping my list of must grow squash this year.  Peppers took forever to get going but in the end, they produced amazingly.  I was thrilled to be able to slice and freeze so many baggies to use all winter long.  Yum!  Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels spouts all grew well,  However, we had critter problems.  A woodchuck kept digging holes (a few of us would fill them in but new holes were constantly dug) and decimated almost all of the brassicas in the garden.  Even with my own fence around my plot, he got in and ate everything.  Literally every one of those plants.  Along with most of my carrots and bush beans.  Everyone had the worst year for tomatoes last year locally.  I often equate my community garden to a preschool.  If one kid, or in this case plot, is sick, everyone gets it.  So things like blight and flea beetle spread like wild fire in our garden.  It's inevitable and I do my best to stay on top of things.  But when you add in human and critter pests too, it's just a sad story.  In the end, I ate a lot and shared a lot but only had enough to can up 6 jars of tomato sauce.  Which is depressing considering I planted twice the number of plants from the previous year.  




For the first time, I grew peanuts.  Just for fun and to try something different.  They grew OK.  I have a few left so if I have a little empty space when something eventually gets eaten, I might try them again.  But a peanut farmer is not in my zone 5 New York gardening future.  I also grew sweet potatoes and I can say with certainty I will do my best to get them into every garden I ever grow in the future.  They grew so well and served as a great space filler and ground cover.  Plus they were delicious!  




Let's see if I can get a full list of what I grew last year from memory.  In no particular order, in 2015 I grew...  Tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, radish, white potatoes, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, ground cherries, broccoli, cauliflower, bak choi, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, bush beans, pole beans, sweet peas, sugar snap peas, Lima beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, kale, peanuts, acorn squash, mini pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins, red kuri squash, butternut squash, buttercup squash, yellow summer squash, zucchini, white patty pan, yellow patty pan, tomatillos, leeks, fennel, Egyptian walking onions, chives, okra, French sorrel, cucumbers, marigolds, zinnias, Shasta daisies, and sunflowers.

I know this was long but I want it to look back on in future years.  I am also hoping that all the work I did in the fall (next gardening post) will pay off in 2016.  

I post almost daily on Instagram,  While I will definitely do most regular gardening posts here, please feel free to come chat me up over in IG  if you want the garden play by play.  So many big changes are taking place in the garden this year and I can't wait to tell y'all all about it!

What's growing in your garden this year?  Have you started your seeds or do you plan to plant anything new this season?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dating, Flirting, And Having Fun


As I've mentioned, I recently got out of a very bad relationship.  To be honest, it was the worst dating relationship of my life.  I don't regret it, as I don't want the burden of living a life with that much regret.  But if I could go back and make better decisions, I absolutely would.  Live and learn.

So now I am in this strange unattached but not quite ready to jump back into a serious relationship limbo phase.  And it's taken some getting used to.  

It's not that I haven't had plenty of relationships end in the past.  Of course I have.  And I absolutely wanted that relationship to end weeks before it finally came to a crashing conclusion.  I am just still so hurt by how it ended though and all of the revelations that have since come to light.  So many lies and games and manipulations and pieces I am still putting together.  



I know though that it is imperative to spend this time reflecting on the past and taking my time.  TGE never reflects on the past as it's just inconvenient to realize how much hurt happened.  Nor does TGE take a moment of time between relationships ever to just be still and single and alone.  I come from a different belief system.  I think it's critical to talk about things, process experiences, reflect honestly about past relationships, and be okay being by yourself for a skinny minute.  If you can't be okay alone, you will never be good with anyone else.

So I am single.  And that's okay.  Because in the mean time, I am having a whole heck of a lot of fun.

It turns out TGE is the only person who thinks I am worthless.

Lots of flirting and giggles and texts and phone conversations and coffee dates and dinner dates are happening.  I'm slowly but surely letting my guard down and starting to have a really fun time.

As much as I want to be part of a we, I know that doing this the right way is the only way for me.  I need to take things slowly and get in as many laughs as humanly possible.  I need to remember what it is is like to have someone value me.  I'm kind and funny and when I put in a bit of effort, sometimes I'm even cute!  

So cheers to flirting and dating and laughing a lot.  Cheers to meeting cute, new people.  Cheers to new friends.  Cheers to first kisses.  Cheers to holding hands.  Cheers to feeling beautiful again.  Cheers to having fun.  This is still my #yearofyes and I am saying yes to being happy.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cherry Raspberry Almond Pie Recipe For Pi Day

Oh pie.  I have a long standing love affair with all things pie.  For as long as I can remember, my heart has belonged to homemade pie.  Not cake.  Not chocolate.  Just pie.

This year for Pi Day {you know, the wildly celebrated day for Pi or 3.14...  Oh you don't celebrate a nerdy holiday like that?}, I decided to branch out and try something new.  I searched high and low for recipes and in the end, sort of winged it.  And y'all...this is a winner.  It's not super sweet so if you want it sweeter, go ahead and increase the sugar some.  But I honestly thought it was the most perfect combination of flavors and textures.  I can't wait for the next excuse to bake this again!




Cherry Raspberry Almond Pie

Ingredients:

* 3 c. frozen cherries, halved
* 3 c. frozen raspberries
* 3 c. sugar (more if you prefer it sweeter)
* 1 tbsp additional sugar for topping
* 1/4 c. Cornstarch
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 tsp almond extract
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 tbsp almond slices 

Directions:

* Mix fruit, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts together gently in large bowl.
* Roll out bottom pie crust.  Place in pie plate. 
* Pour in fruit mixture.
* Roll out top pie crust. Cut into strips if doing lattice top.  Place on top of fruit mixture.  Crimp top and bottom crust together.
* Brush top crust with egg mixture (use milk as an alternative) and sprinkle with additional 1 tbsp sugar.
* Bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes.  About 10 minutes before golden brown, pull pie out and sprinkle top with almond slices.  Place back in oven to bake for remaining 10 minutes to allow almonds to toast but not burn.
* Allow to cool for several hours before slicing.  Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream!

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