Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tiny Snuffles in my Ear

In our house we have furry children.  All of the others have flown the coop but these three and their predecessors keep us hopping!  Nanuq, Sasha and Sugar are all rescue babies adopted at different times even though they seem as though they should be related!  Three white snufflers. 

But let me start from the beginning.  When Butch and I got together I had an American Eskimo named Tully.  Tully moved to North Carolina with me when he was 3 months old and he was my buddy.  However, a year later it was obvious that he was not happy in an apartment with me gone all day.  Butch had a fenced back yard so Tully moved to Roanoke Rapids 4 months before I did.  Actually I believe that Tully was instrumental in bringing about this relationship.  In April of 2001 we decided that he needed a companion so we went to the local rescue where we found Angel, the POW (Pet of the Week).  She had been deserted as a small puppy and although she was probably a year old by this time had never had a home.  She had lived at the vet and then the rescue until we came along.  She walked into our kitchen and sprawled as if to say, "Finally!"  She grew into a 40-pound lap baby.  Couldn't understand why I was uncomfortable with that!

The following year we "inherited" Tuxedo from my sister-in-law's father who no longer wanted the responsibility.  At this point Tux weighed ~25 pounds and could be quite feisty, grabbing my leg in the hall during the night or popping me on the head repeatedly when he wanted to be petted and I wanted to sleep!  It took a while but the three adjusted to each other and eventually became quite close.  One day Tully just wasn't acting "right" so Butch took him to the vet.  When he showed up in my office and said, "Let's go" I knew something was terribly wrong.  Somehow Tully experienced a neurological "something" and we lost him the next day.  I was devastated . . . beyond devastated.

Butch insisted on checking out websites and found one called Safe Haven where they listed an American Eskimo named Nanuq.  He had been found loose along a highway on Christmas Eve and had been at the Haven for a year recovering from heart worm.  He looked spookily like Tully but his eyes were flat and scared.  For any of you who haven't read A Dog's Purpose, I am convinced that Tully sent Nanuq to us.  I know this to be true.  It took about 6 months but several years later he is a happy smiling boy as you can see below.  My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy!

Within a year we lost Angel to a congenital skin disease.  Poor thing, one day I looked her in the eyes and she let me know that she was ready to go.  What a horrible decision that is to make but we really had no  choice.  So we said good-bye.  I cry just thinking about it.  Tuxie just didn't know what to do.  His two initial companions were gone and he didn't understand.  Once again Butch insisted on looking for another furry baby.  This time he found Sasha who was living with 5 Rottie rescues and holding her own, I will tell you!  She is a spunky one, our diva girl!  She thinks that Nanuq's tail is there as her very favorite toy.  She jumps on him and wrestles until he calls, "Foul!"  Tux, however, never quite recovered from the losses.  Within a couple of months and just as quickly as Tully we lost him to liver disease.  I still miss that beastly cat climbing up on my chest and nuzzling me with his little white nose.  As an aside, my lap has not been my own since we first started this family!
As you can see, Sasha is very sure of herself!  And I was certain that we were done!  These critters grab your heart and wallet and don't let go!  Especially those who have been through hard times and love like no other living being.  However, Butch had gotten involved with a group who transports rescues from place to place to new forever homes.  In the process he was cruising some of the sites of people with whom he had been working.  (I really should take the computer away!)  He found a couple in town who have a huge backyard, a warren of kennels beneath the house and a laundry room full of crates and kennels where they keep rescues until a foster or forever home comes along.  And sure enough, check out the next picture.n
This is Sugar.  She was a puppy mill rescue, had lived in a cage for 6-8 years.  The first time her feet had ever touched grass was when we brought her home because . . . .of course . . . .we fell in love with her instantly.  She danced through the grass with her ears just flying!  It took some getting used to for her although the other two were thrilled.  She did not like anyone coming up behind her unexpectedly and she had no clue how to be snuggled or petted.  Well, times do change.  Sugar cannot get enough of being loved and touched.  She curls her body into a little comma that doesn't stop wiggling.  And she is persistent to the point of driving me nuts at times, whimpering and wiggling and letting me know I need to stop whatever I'm doing and love her.  Her happy dance when Butch is fixing dinner for the kids is hysterical.  Twirls and whirls and skittering all over the floor.  Who knew food could taste this good and there were actually beds to sleep in!?!
That's our family!  That's their couch!  So much contentment until Daddy leaves the house and then there are some very upset doggies until he returns.  I don't think the same thing happens when I leave but when I return the reception is fit for a queen!

Now that we have refitted the expansion for the local vet, we are done for awhile!  But I'd better see a name plate over the door!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Toys!

Christmas was quiet this year.  As I told you yesterday, our children all live on the Left Coast.  So Jennifer, Brandon and the grandchildren celebrated with Nicki at their home in Redding, California.  Jennifer is our oldest daughter, Brandon is her husband and the grandchildren are . . . . well, incredible!  Nicki is our youngest.  She is an account manager for a landscaping firm and lives a little south of Jen/Bran/Fam.  Jeremy and Nicole, son and best daughter-in-law-alive, live in San Diego but went to New Jersey to spend the holidays with Nicole's family.  Nonetheless, Butch and I had a wonderful time and received some real goodies!

We love cookbooks.  I read them like novels before delving into the tasty adventure of trying the fare.  Beautiful to look at, incredible to try and it is very much like having a conversation with the author.  Between us, we accrued 5 new books this year.  The first came from Jeremy and Nicole's honeymoon in Jamaica, Mon.  Eat Caribbean by Virginia Burke is so much fun!

Nicole told us that as soon as Jeremy saw the book he said he wanted to get it for his parents.  Boy, are we glad!  The book includes a beautiful photographic tour of the islands as well as mouthwatering recipes.  I can't wait to try the Jerk Chicken with Avocado and Papaya Salad.  Thank you guys for thinking of us while on your honeymoon!

Butch and I are huge fans of Anne Burrell of Food Network fame.  So J&N sent Pop her new book, Cook Like a Rock Star.

Oh, my word!  We have already played with several recipes in the first chapter, Piccolinis, little pickies, my favorite way to eat!  Little bites of incredible food to munch on.  Loved the meatballs and Butch added her tomato sauce dip to them with great results.  Zucchini and parm fritters, awesome.  Can't wait for the figs stuffed with Gorgonzola and walnuts.  And that is only chapter 1!

We ordered two cookbooks for Jeremy and also bought them for ourselves.  That makes 4 very happy people with the results!  The Soul of a New Cuisine, A discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson is gorgeous! 
The book is actually a food history of the many countries of Africa from the various spices and rubs to the veggies, stews and meats.  And the variety is vast!  The photography of so many different regions and climates is breathtakingly, tear-inspiringly incredible.  Jeremy told me that he did just as I did by sitting down and just reading the book. 

Tupelo Honey Cafe is the next book and the name of the restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina.

We fell in love with Tupelo Honey years ago on a trip to Asheville for an education conference.  The theme is farm to fork and the food is delicious.  Fresh, local Southern style and to die for!  My all-time favorite is their shrimp with goat cheese grits.  I'm drooling thinking about it!  Still working on reading this one and haven't cooked from it yet but my dear friend Kathleen in South Dakota teaches at fiber festivals in Asheville and bought this when she returned home.  She made the pecan pie for Thanksgiving and if pictures tell the story, I missed out on some incredible dessert! 

Last but certainly not least is The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond.
The kids all got together and gave me a large Amazon gift card!  The way to my heart . . . other than lots of hugs and kisses!  So this was one of the first things I got.  Fun book!  Ms. Drummond was born and raised in Oklahoma, lived and worked in Los Angeles for years and then went home again.  Married a cowboy and settled in.  Good home cooking with flair.  Right now I am reading her memoir about the journey home.  She is a saucy one!

Not only did we get these wonderful books but Jeremy send homemade cookies this year after so many years of my doing the same.  Ginger, peanut butter with chocolate kisses and Snickerdoodles!  Yummy Christmas to us! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

I haven't gotten to it!

My name is DeeAnn.  This is my first foray into blogging so please let me introduce myself.

On December 29, 2000 I got into a battle with some wet leaves.  Unfortunately they won and after six hours of surgery I was left with a crushed left ankle.  Three surgeries later it is now fused.  What began as 1 plate, 2 rods and 18 screws is now down to 1 screw.  My orthopedic surgeon is waiting for the best "billable moment" to remove that one so I wll probably exit this world with it still in.

In the last couple of years I bent over to pick up one of our dogs.  I lost my balance and face planted on a hardwood floor breaking my nose.  Oh, that was a pretty sight!  For the first few days I forgot what I looked like until I faced a mirror.  I looked very much like a "Lost" victim of the black smoke!  As we were walking the aisles of Sam's Club a small child riding in a basket looked at me and said, "That's nasty!"  I flinched and kept my head down the rest of that trip.  Should have said, "This is what happens to rude little children."

On one occasion I got up out of my recliner, turned and landed forehead first on the corner of our solid oak sideboard.  I bled like that poor deeer who didn't see the headlights coming!  That incident cost me 3 stitches inside and 17 stitches outside.  Thank goodness for bangs.

Most recently, oddly enough on December 29, on getting out of bed in the middle of the night I failed to wait for my lack of balance to correct itself.  I pitched forward into the corner of the wall (perfect trajectory) causing what was initially thought to be a fracture of my right clavicle.  I was told that it was perfectly fine for us to travel to Mississippi (12 hours each way) the next morning to see my sister and brother-in-law.  Ended up in the ER down there the next day because I felt so sick.  On follow up with the aforementioned orthopedic surgeon the next week it turns out the clavicle was crushed and I should never have traveled.  Another surgery commenced and I now have 8 screws, a rod, a titatium plate and bone grafts.  Earlier this week the whole mess was really bothering me so we went to see the doc who asked me how in the world I bent a titanium plate.  Let me repeat, I bent a TITANIUM plate without any knowledge as to how.  A first, of course, in his surgical history.  Might have to have it replaced.

My hubsand and I met in the mid-1980's, fell in love in 2000 and married in 2001.  This was the first and last marriage for both of us.  I gave birth to my son who is now 35 and acquired two daughters of the heart as time went by.  They are in their 30's as well.   Butch and I now also have two children-in-law, two grandchildren, 9 siblings between us and their spouses as well as nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews.  We adore each and every one of these individuals and are not shy about being proud of them and their accomplishments. 

I live in North Carolina now but was born in California as an Air Force brat.  So I've lived in ~7 states (probably can't remember one), traveled through 47-48 of the 50 and lived in countless sub-locations.  We still love to travel although the airlines leave a great deal to be desired these days.  We are foodies and so we love to travel on our stomaches.  That, we say, is why they are so well padded.  Any trip is preceded by checking out possible restaurants in the location to which we are headed.  This has made for a great many fantastic discoveries around the country.  We are complete Food Network groupies and our cookbook collection is huge and well used.  For Christmas between us we acquired 5 new cookbooks about which I am very excited!

I have been a huge reader since I was 3 years old.  My tastes are vast and all over the page (!?!)  I am a big fan of Southern women writers, memoirs, and current fiction.  The most outstanding books I read in the past year were A Dog's Purpose, The Help, and Water for Elephants, to name a few.  I also love magazines and am on a roll right now with past issues of Our State

Let's talk about family/friends, food, music, books, movies (sappy and otherwise), pet children (we have three rescue babies) and more.  I'm about ready to get back into quilting after a long hiatus and possibly other crafts I used to enjoy.  Because, well, after over 8 years I am no longer employed at the clinic where I worked.  New technology broke our department . . . who is surprised!?! 

Welcome to my world!