Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye to an old Friend

Today my family has experienced the loss of our little dog Dezdamona ( affectionately know as Dez or Dezzie). Dez had lived a long life and I want to tell you a little about it. Maybe because I think it she was a special dog, and maybe because I have some great stories about her but mostly because I hope it  will help my heart heal a little.

My sister Anna found Dez at an animal shelter almost thirteen years ago. I remember her driving up in the drive way and honking her horn numerous times. My sister Emily and I ran out to see what all the commotion was about. When we opened Anna's car door we found a scared, skinny little brown dog huddled in the front floorboard. My mom liked to say that Dez was a beagle who ran in to a dachshund somewhere along the line. All I know is for me and Dez it was love at first sight, from that day on we were best friends. I taught her to crawl up in our laps if we were sitting in the floor,a trick she loved to try when you were opening presents, hold/playing with babies or even just tying your shoes. My Dezzie was the sweetest dog. She never bit or snapped at anyone and Oh what a personality she had! I could tell you stories and stories about the times she made us laugh or the funny things she did but I know that some of those memories are just for me, for me to cherish in my heart. The few I will share I think show what a loyal dog she was. I think that's the best thing about dogs, they love you fiercely and for all of their days.

Dez was not always an adventurous dog. She was very skittish when we first got her and seemed to be scared of everything. After a while she to grew out of most of those fears, some of which included the garage door and men wearing hats. But others she always seemed pretty skeptical about, like the stairs. Dez really stayed away from the stairs unless she desperately needed something (to go outside or to eat) or she was so angry and needed to somehow express this emotion. That last statement may not make any sense to you so let me explain. When I first left for college Dez was a very sad and upset little dog. She looked for me everywhere but to no avail. Overcome with anger Dez heaved her then slightly chubby little frame up the steps and walked into my room where she then proceeded to pee in the middle of my carpet. (Just so you know this is not a dog who frequently went to the bathroom in the house, this was an no accident). It was as if she was saying "HA! I'll show her! How could she leave me?!?" Every time I would come home for a visit my mom would have to close my bedroom door after I left or this ritual would be repeated without fail.

Then I got sick and had to have brain surgery (It will be 8 years since my surgery on October 23rd!). After I got to come home from the hospital Dez knew I was in the house but she couldn't seem to find me. My sisters taught her how to put her paws up on the side of my bed and I would reach over and pet her head. After she figured out where I was she came to see me at least once a day. Sometimes I would find her sleeping on the floor beside my bed. The funny thing about this was that Dez never slept anywhere but on her own cushion or in her dog crate. When I was strong enough to walk to our family room and lay down on the couch Dez would sleep next to me all day, very unusual behavior for this little dog. It was if she knew I needed comfort and a friend. It was if she knew I needed her.

But years and years have passed. Dez would have been fifteen years old in December which is 105 in dog years. And all of a sudden things just seemed to be a little too much for our little friend. And today she left this world for another. Oh how I miss her! It feels like a member of my family is missing. I know now what it must have felt like when she searched that big house of ours looking for me when I went to college.

People can argue and say that dogs don't have souls and thus cannot go to heaven. These people have never loved a dog like I have. They can't or else they wouldn't believe that there are no dogs in heaven. My puppy was a friend, a comfort, and someone who loved me even at my worst, my ugliest, my lowest. I think this is a reflection of God and how we should strive to love others. And why would God not want all that exuberance, goodness and love in heaven. I know heaven is a better place today because it has one new member : a little brown baby puppy named Dez.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


 Hey did you know September is over? I really don't know where that month got to but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Since I last posted I have been sewing my fingers off trying to get ready for this and this. And somewhere in there I fit in time to have a birthday. And I really feel like I woke up and all of sudden it was October.....and sort of cold....

In other news, my sister and I have been eating a lot of "stuffed things" for dinner recently, with a lot of success so it is about time to share a few of our experiences. First : Goat cheese stuffed baked apples= Amazing. We have actually made these a few times recently. We don't like to have things on the menu two consecutive weeks but as long a there is a week in between its a go (if our Mom is coming to visit, the need to impress her with our really good recipes trumps the nonconsecutive week rule).

We have perfected this recipe since I took the pictures but you get the idea. Basically we stuffed apples with goat cheese and honey and baked them until they were vesicles of perfection ( about 30 minutes at
425 degrees).

Next we tried stuffed bell peppers which was another successful endeavor. I just feel healthy eating an entire pepper (even if it is stuffed with meat and cheese).

Our latest stuffed dinner came after an uncharacteristically helpful moment from my sister Emily. Emily is the greatest but one thing she is not great at is coming up with ideas for dinner. Emily loves food and recently is up for trying new things but ask her to come up with what she wants to have and you will more than likely get a blank stare. Sometimes she will look at you, refer to herself in 1st person and say "Emily is not helpful." and walk away. So a few weeks ago when she suggested we have "sweet potatoes stuffed with stuff", I did all I could to make that happen. And so we had "Dairy Free Twice Baked Sweet potatoes" (we try to stay away from dairy but this recipe could be easily made with dairy products). You can find this recipe here. The only thing we did different is we used dairy free cream cheese instead of soy yogurt.  And these sweet potatoes will probably be making an experience at all the Clarke get-togethers from now on.

So even though September managed to slip by me and I feel like I have stumbled into October  slightly shocked and somehow a year older, I did emerge with something valuable- 3 news ways to stuff foods into other foods and have it turn out amazing!