Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Pup

I was looking through magazines the other day and came across this ad. For me, it was one of those "can't look away" ads. Is this really what people think a happy pup looks like? Yikes! Dawn of the Dead meets Stepford Wives.

OK,maybe there is some resemblance. 

Carmella at the dog park. Happy pup.
Of course, I would be a lot happier 
if someone handed me a can of Pringles.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's a wonder that I'm in this world at all

It was a quiet week. With the boys at camp, Susan and Dave wasted no time settling into a peaceful, kid-free routine centered around good food, completed conversations and a few unnecessary outings.

A necessary outing is fetching more peanut butter or taking the cats to the vet. An unnecessary outing is going to the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings concert. Why leave me here alone for the evening?

Why not just invite Gillian and David here for cocktails? I am sure they would be would be happy to come relax with us on the deck. I reckon they would sing real nice after a few of my Dave's Old Fashioneds. Or maybe they only drink moonshine.

Carmella and Gillian Welch relax on the deck.
If Gillian does come over, I will ask her to sing my favorite song about rescue dogs, No One Knows My Name.

Its' a wonder that I'm in this world at all.
It's a wonder that I'm in this world at all.
And I have a life to claim 
though I really don't know my name.
It's a wonder that I'm in this world at all.

Other than the unnecessary outings, Susan and Dave covered my dog walks well enough. I got to the dog park despite that wicked heat wave so I shouldn't complain too much. But I really missed my boys...

Boy#2 arrived home happy, tired and reeking of summer camp fun. Whatever it is they do at summer camp, it smells not unlike a nice swampy July day spent with the pack at the dog park. I wish they didn't feel the need to launder everything just as it passed the threshold. I wanted to roll and revel in it.. a virtual summer camp experience in a duffle. Mmmmmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Too Humid...

We woke up this morning to find our house windows completely fogged over -- on the outside. That's what you get when the humidity outdoors approaches Amazonian conditions and bumps up against our climate controlled box. This morning's walks were challenging. Panting just doesn't work that well when the air is almost liquid.

Boy#1 and Boy#2 are off at their respective water-based summer camps for wholesome, screen-free, boy fun. I am trying to look sufficiently bored to trigger a dog park outing...but so far, no takers. Susan and Dave haven't had a boy-free week in almost fifteen years and I am not sure how it will go. Maybe Susan will go adopt a puppy.

This isn't me.
I don't have any puppy pictures
since I was already one year old
when I  rescued my family from their dog-free existence.
But I think this is what I looked like as a puppy. 
I used to think I would like a puppy around the house. Someone always willing to play. But now that I have gotten older, I think I prefer to own the whole place. A puppy would want to sleep in my bed and chew up my toys -- or worse: chew up my bed.

I like my routines just as they are.

Well... I wouldn't mind more time outside, humid or not. I can always lay under the picnic table.

The trouble with folks around here is that they complain seamlessly, season to season about the weather. Too cold, too hot, too dry, too humid... I am surrounded by Goldilockses.

Can I just say that I find the whole Goldilocks as heroine rather baffling? She just waltzes in, messes everything up and runs away. And you are supposed to root for her. In my town, it is called "breaking and entering." Those bears should have had a good guard dog like me.

Interestingly, I have now learned that the original versions of the Goldilocks tale featured a nosy, old woman who often met a bitter end. But when the crafty Silver-Hair character became pretty Goldilocks the original punch of the morality tale was lost. Whatever the crime, I guess you can't really impale a golden-haired, little girl on the steeple of St. Paul's Cathedral (the way you apparently could do given a gnarly, elderly female. Real nice...)

Anyway... I just wish my family didn't want to sit on the deck only when the weather is "just right." I think most weather is worth enjoying.  Except for rain -- I hate rain... And really cold... And weather with fierce wind or loud thunder... and...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Solution for a Government Shutdown

Things are tense and testy in Minnesota with the state government shutdown. But my friend Daughter Number Three sends a sign of hope from the New York/Vermont border.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sour Cherry Pistachio Crisp

Susan has been picking colanders of sour cherries this week. Go cherry tree!  Even after a hard day at work, picking cherries in the sunshine and pitting them on the deck gets her humming. Then comes the cooking.

We still have jars of Sour Cherry Freezer Jam from last year so Susan went online to find more cherry recipes. She found a Martha Stewart recipe for sour cherry crisp with a pistachio topping.  She said that Martha probably knows what she'd talking about when it comes to crisps. 

But I am not so sure about her faith in Martha... 

So wrong. Poor Frenchies.

Susan changed at least three things from Martha's recipe so she says she can call it hers now. I have to say, it turned out great. 

Do serve it with vanilla ice cream. The sweet, ice creaminess is the perfect foil to warm, tart cherry crisp. The pistachios add a nutty crunch you won't regret. But other nuts would be tasty too if you aren't up for running off to the grocery. Note: Susan found shelled, unsalted pistachios at Whole Foods.

The most important part to remember about this recipe is to put your bowls on the floor for the dog to help with clean up. Very eco-friendly.

Sour Cherry Pistachio Crisp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 8-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together: 
1 - 3/4 pounds pitted fresh sour cherries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Pour cherry mixture into baking dish.

In medium bowl, mix:
1/2 cup unsalted, chopped pistachios
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar 

With pastry blender or fork, cut into dry mixture - until coarse crumbs:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Sprinkle the topping evenly over cherry mixture. 
Bake until topping turns golden and juices are bubbling, 50 minutes to 1 hour. 
Let cool on a wire rack 1 hour before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Maybe Martha isn't so bad, after all.