Tuesday, July 31, 2012

knocked for a loop

 I had a very different blog post in mind for when I returned from Mexico.  We left town last Thursday for a destination wedding and the whole time I was there I was thinking about the photos I would share.  No where in my brain did I think I would instead be saying goodbye to our little fur ball just one hour after getting off of the plane.
Who knew that my heart could be stolen by this goofy, silly, head spinning, prancing, barky, Pomeranian?  I didn't even think I liked Pomeranian's!  But man, she sucked us right in in no time flat.  If I'm being honest there are only two things I would change:  I wouldn't have named her Delta Dawn and I would have officially adopted her.  On the way to the emergency clinic just minutes after we landed, as I held her bundled in my arms, knowing exactly what was happening, I turned to Tom and somehow articulated how upset I was that we had never actually adopted her.  In some lame attempt to make myself feel better I insisted we pay all of her final bills vs. Blue Dog covering them.  Logically I know it makes no difference and I also know that she never knew...I guess in these moments, where raw emotion is raging, bizarre thoughts and ideas surface and you just go with it.

I think we knew a very long time ago that she was our dog.  Shit, after the first trip to the vet we found out that she was a bit of a train wreck.  But I blindly told myself that there was some Florence Nightingale soul out there that was gonna snatch her up.  Over the two years that she was actually on the website, available for adoption we had exactly two interested parties.  By the time the second one rolled around Tom was so upset at the thought of her being adopted that he didn't even go with me to the meet-and-greet.  I thought they might be a good fit for her but I never heard from them again after that meeting.  That was it she was ours.
About a week before we left for Mexico she had a bout of coughing that gave us a little scare, but after some xrays we all (vet included) chocked it up to her collapsed trachea, something we've been treating for nearly two years.  So it came as a complete shock to us when my mother-in-law (who stayed with the dogs while we were away) called us as we were about to board our plane to say that she was in renal failure.  After frantic texts to my vet, who kindly called the vet at the emergency clinic, it was clear there was nothing we could do.  I so hoped we would have the evening with her, but the minute I saw her I knew it was time.  We bundled her up and headed to the clinic.  We made it to the clinic but she left us on her own just moments after we arrived.

I believe with my whole heart that not only did she wait for us to get home to say goodbye, but she took that hard, hard decision out of our hands.  It just proves that these amazing animals have just as much capacity for love as we do - sometimes more I think.

I took this video just a couple of months ago and it sums up her hilarious, perky, ridiculously silly personality pretty well.  There was no rhyme or reason to her, she flung her head back and forth like mad anytime food was evident, every single time she came in from outside it was as if she was being chased by a swarm of bees, she was rarely allowed on the bed because she insisted on teetering on the edge instead of being safely in the middle or at least two to three inches in, she had de-pilling pill pockets down to an art form, and her bark was accompanied by the most adorable hop you have ever seen.

After losing Preacher in September and Daisy in April I foolishly thought that we might be spared for a bit.  But that's just not how it works.  I told someone earlier today that knowing her and being her people was worth every ounce of pain.  And it is, it's true.  I wouldn't trade one second of my time with any of them.

I miss you Deltie girl.  Thank you for finding us, for staying, and for waiting.  
your mom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

a wedding and a cake

 My little sister is getting married this weekend.  Okay, so technically she's not my "real" sister if you wanna talk blood relation, but I claim her as mine.  We met when our families moved in a couple of houses down from each other when I was 13 and Haley was 4.  We did the whole block party thing, I baby sat, typical white-bread-suburbia-USA.  Over the years we just got closer and closer.  Pretty soon our families were spending nearly every holiday together, I was the go-to person in times of need (ie. sneaking the car out and not being able to get it parked back into the garage well enough to pass Dad's inspection.  Turns out Dad was smarter than either of us and felt the hood of the car.  Smarty britches was quick on her feet and told him I had taken her out for ice cream.  In their car?!?!?  Whatever, we skated by.)

Over the years we have built a life time of memories like this one.  I could sit and rattle off one after another after another after another...like the time Tom took her to her high school winter formal when he and I were dating because she didn't have a date...or how every day I would anxiously wait for her to get home from school so I could tell her the latest on my budding crush on Tom...or about how we got matching cupcake tattoos (for real!)...or about how we play charades every Thanksgiving and she would be content if she got to act out every single one!  Long story short, I adore her.  She is funny and kind and I cannot believe she is getting married!!!!
 It's a destination wedding, we are Mexico bound, Tulum to be specific.  How cute is their save-the-date?  We are staying in the most amazing looking cabanas that are right on the beach.  They've rented the whole place so it will be like a big three day party.  I'm super excited!! 
 A couple of weeks ago we decided to have a girls' night, a slumber party, to just hang out, watch movies, talk, and be girlie.  Turns out there was very little movie watching.  We talked and talked and talk and talked and it was great.  Anyway, I had been looking for a special occasion to make this cake I had seen over on Sweetapolita.  To say I love her blog would be a huge understatement.  Her cakes are always gorgeous, her photos are amazing...and now I can officially say that her recipes (I've made three) are great!

The one I decided on was a chocolate cake.  If you are wondering about the photo above, I know, it's odd to show the pans but I had to share this...you may all already know this and I might be sitting here looking like a dumbass, but I did not know this - if you are making a chocolate cake you should dust the pans with cocoa powder instead of flour!  Did you know that?  Cause I didn't know that!
 One of the things that I think might make Rosie's recipes so successful is that she gives you a lot of measurements in weight vs. volume.  I've been reading a lot lately that that is the better way to measure when baking.

This recipe also calls for espresso.  I love adding espresso to anything with chocolate!  It doesn't make it taste like coffee, it just enhances the coffee flavor.  Go out and buy yourself a little jar of instant espresso and never ever use it to drink!  Uck! 
 So the reason I wanted to make this cake was the icing.  Didn't really matter what the cake itself was, you could do vanilla or anything really.  I was just itching to try this icing technique.  Let me back up a little.  You know I like to bake, but I'm more of a pie girl.  So in the past when I have baked cakes I've just kind of done it with the tools I have on hand.  Don't do that.  Go buy these three things:
  • cake boards (card board and disposable, get the size to match the cake size you are making)
  • a lazy susan
  • an offset spatula (this is a MUST!)
A couple of things about the above photo.  It is the crumb coat of icing, not some minimalist icing technique.  The idea is that you put a thin coat of frosting on the cake, pop it in the fridge, and then when you go to ice your cake for real you won't have a bunch of cake crumbs co-mingling with your icing. Don't skip this step.

It may look like the icing to cake ratio is very one sided.  But I swear that is not the thickest layer of icing you have ever seen.  Well, on the very edges it is, but inside it's normal.  Here's why it looks that way, and this is another wonderful tip I learned from Rosie at Sweetapolita...take your first layer and put it top side up on your cake board, put your icing on top (for your middle layer of icing), then put your top cake layer top side DOWN!  This way you have a nice flat top to your cake instead of a domed one!  Clever!
 So this icing technique looks kind of like an ombre to me.  It's that lovely gradation of color and you could choose any color combo you like.  Rosie gives you a very easy to follow video of how to ice this cake right HERE.

 I'm a sprinkle junkie.  I need a support group for a few things, sprinkles are one of them.  So are Weck jars (like the one with the blue sprinkles).  I sometimes just look at their website and imaginary order.  Do you ever do that?  Imaginary order stuff?  I do it all the time.  Anyway, yes.  I obsess on sprinkles and jars to put them in.  Doesn't everyone?!?!
So it's not perfect but I do love the way it came out!  By the way, I searched high and low for a cake topper and they were all hideous!  If I would have planned better I would have found a vintage one on etsy but I didn't.  I finally found this adorable topper at Party City of all places.  They had some white folks, but man, their clothes were terrible.  This precious couple was hip and classy and that's my Hay, hip and classy, but not black.  And not always classy, she burps a lot.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I kinda like New York City a little plus some collaboration

If you've read my blog for very long you know that Tom and I both have a slight obsession with New York City.  Manhattan to be specific.  The West Village to be more specific.  Between Horatio & Perry and 8th & Greenwich Ave. to be completely ridiculous.  We try to go a couple of times a year.  When we are really lucky we get to dog sit one of our former foster dogs and that is pretty much my idea of Heaven.  When we aren't there we look at real estate and dream of renting or buying a tiny apartment within the above mentioned few blocks.  I am about to admit how incredibly dorky we really are - when we have a day or so to ourselves we will actually  hole up in our bedroom and pretend it's our NYC apartment (Tom quite possibly will kill me for sharing this).  But it is, in an odd way, like a mini vacation.  And from doing this I believe whole heartedly that I could live with Tom in 350ish square feet and be not only content, but quite happy.  Don't believe I could do it?  Buy me an apartment and I'll show you!  I'm up to the challenge!  Seriously though, if it weren't for the matter of 12 dogs and a cat we may have actually given this more serious consideration.  Anyway, a girl can dream...

Over the last couple of trips Tom's developed an eye for spotting any and all graffiti with the word LOVE in it.  It's actually amazing how many there are.  The 5th one over, the triple LOVE, that tagger has put his or her "love" all over the city.  Sometimes one "love" sometimes three.  We saw them everywhere, on buildings, in the middle of the street, on fire hydrants.  They were super cool.

Not sure if it was him or me that said "these should go into a necklace" but I Love, pun intended, the series.  It's inspired me to collaborate more...in fact I've hit up a good friend from college who lives in Poland now to start a project together.  He is a bad ass painter and he and his wife are making crazy cool jewelry in Warsaw.  So these little necklaces are the start of a new collaboration page on my website...hopefully just the beginning...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Clarence Davis Jr.

AKA Clarbee, BoBo, Bobie, Clib, Clarbee Davis Jr., Clib Cliberson, Clarence Worley, Clare de Lune, Clarbee Wan Kenobi, Michael Diamond, Lil C, C Note, or King of the Sea, take your pick. 

Is it weird to base an entire post on a photo?  Tom took this photo a couple of days ago and I think it might be one of my favorites ever.  It's my sweet little bitty man.  He was the fourth addition to our pack.  He is so chock full of personality - If you are a dog person you already know how dogs are just as different from one to the next as people are.  If you aren't you might think a dog is a dog is a dog.  But they aren't  My Clarence is a bit gangsta, has a terrible potty mouth, is the president of both cereal and cracker club as well as a member of the popcorn club.  During the day he sleeps on his side pressed against a wall (got to get a good photo of that!) and at night gets in and out of bed a half dozen times to do God knows what.  He is terrified of thunderstorms but fancies himself quite the tough guy.  Once a year he goes to his stylist to get his ear hairs trimmed and his legwarmers cut off.

I know you are not supposed to have a favorite child and I do also know that dogs are not children.  But seeing as how I don't have children I hope that those parents of human children out there will forgive my referring to my dogs as children.  Okay so again, I know you are not supposed to play favorites...and I will never admit to having a favorite but if you infer something from me bringing up this topic while posting about Clarence, well, I can't help that.

Several years ago I tattooed his paw print onto the top of my foot so that no matter what he would always walk with me everywhere I went.  Just a few months ago Tom got a tattoo for Clarence - his portrait, but with a fish tail, wearing a crown, holding a trident (King of the Sea), and carrying a chalice full of gold fish crackers.  I kid you not.  It is the most awesome thing EVER.  I'm not envious, I'm straight up jealous!

So, in case you did not know this before, it is clear now, we are the crazy dog people.  I'm not ashamed.