Saturday, November 26, 2011

Catching Up

Well, I cannot believe it has been two weeks, folks. Well, other than the Mr. Earl post. Anyhoodle, I thought I would do a quick recap of the past two weeks for you. Ready?? Here we go.

The week of November 14, I was juggling multiple work projects including preparing for Pet Photos with Santa Claws. The event is, duh, a fundraiser for the shelter where I work and, though a long, long weekend, one of my favorite events. We had our photos taken with Santa, of course, and when we receive the photos, I will post some. For now, here's a quick peek at our awesome Santa:

Fun, right?!?! Santa does a great job with the animals....and their owners....and our professional photographer is amazing. Unfortunately, she had a nasty cold, which, after standing in her face for two days straight, I caught and then spent the last four days on death's doorstep. I haven't been this sick in a while. I even skipped Thanksgiving. And stayed in bed. So, basically my past two weeks have been about Santa and sleep. And here are a few more tidbits:

This car was parked outside the shelter recently. LOVE. So fun. I would TOTALLY do this to my car. LOVE. Even better, it was raining that day, so this little bit of cheer was welcome.

K.K. has decided she likes to sleep on the hood of my truck. A lot. All the time. Sigh. It's not like it's not filthy anyway. Who has time to clean their car?!? Plus, every time I think about it, it rains.

I took this photo of Roxie and Instagram-med it up. Do you know Instagram?? It is a fun app for your phone. Super cool. Check it out.

This pumpkin beer?? Is awesome. Cannot remember if I already shared this recommendation, but it is worth sharing again. Tas-tee. Sadly, I have not been able to drink my last bottle since I have been sick.

I made this Italian Chicken Soup from the Pioneer Woman recently and, while it was super yummy, it made a HUGE GINORMOUS pot and we ate off it for days and days. The hubs said he could wait a while to have it again. I agree. 

Here are Charlie and Roxie in their new tartan collars, complete with bow tie and flower. Cute, no?!? I purchased these collars at Bow Wow Couture. It is an etsy shop and I have purchased many collars from Amy. They are super well-made, sturdy, and wash well. They are having a BOGO sale through Monday...check them out! Best of all, Amy donates to our shelter's art event each year so I am glad to support her.

I recently ate at Ted's Montana Grill with a friend. I cannot remember what this burger was called but basically it was an open-faced burger served on ciabatta topped with chili, cheese and other yumminess. Knife and fork required. And a Pepcid.

Tuesday, I had to take Pepsi to the vet....she has been acting like she does not feel good and we found out that she has some bad neck disks. Now she is taking doggie acupuncture. While there, this huge sheriff's deputy can in to pick up his little kitty. Who perched right up on his shoulder and stayed there forever. I had to sneak a photo. Big man. Small kitty. Tee-hee.

And here is a photo of Pepsi receiving her first acupuncture treatment. I know it sounds weird, but it REALLY helped her and we will be taking her back for more treatments. If it's not overly expensive or invasive, and keeps her from being in pain in the last years of her life, I am all in. After all, we spent $$$$$ caring for Savannah's diabetes before she died; now it's Pepsi time.

Well, that is all, peeps, for now. I am off to finish up dinner....homemade vegetable soup and cornbread. I could not BE more excited. Seriously. Hope you all had a great holiday! Lots of love, B.

Friday, November 25, 2011

UPDATE: Mr. Earl and Moon Doggie

About a month ago, I wrote this post about an awesome pooch we had at the shelter where I work named Moon Doggie, followed closely in time by this post where I announced Moon Doggie had been adopted by a kindly older gentleman named Mr. Earl. Well, as with most things in my life, that was not the end of the story.

Honestly, Part 2 of this saga started about two weeks ago, but I was too sad and upset to write about it then. With some divine intervention, the story now has a happier ending, so I thought I would share with you what happened.

First of all, let me say that one of the occupational hazards of working for a shelter is that every so often you become attached to an animal more than you know you should. Hence, the adoption of two dogs into my home over the past two years. Moon Doggie was one of those dogs for me. He was just an exceptional animal. He had been with us since he was a puppy and we could not figure out why he kept getting passed over. He was so calm. So unaffected by being in a shelter. So awesome. I, mean, LOOK AT THIS FACE:

Really?!? Seriously?!? How could you not love this face?!? (PS, this is Moon Doggie with Santa at our Pet Photos with Santa Claws fundraiser this past weekend) Anyhoodle, Mr. Earl saw Moon Doggie online and came to the shelter, spent time with him, and decided to adopt. Both parties were so happy. Mr. Earl and I stayed in touch over the next few weeks, emailing and calling, and he assured me Moon Doggie, who he renamed Gus (thank God!) was doing great. Sleeping in the bed with him. Never using the potty in the house. Great. He really loved Gus and Gus loved him.

Two weeks after he adopted him, Mr. Earl brought Gus back. To return. They called me to the Adoption Desk because Mr. Earl asked for me. He was in tears. When an 80-year-old man stands in front of you in tears, it breaks your heart. Hard. Seems Mr. Earl's family (he lives with his son and daughter-in-law in their basement) made him bring Gus back. Well, they didn't MAKE him, but they made his life 110% miserable until he did.

The best I could put together is Mr. Earl's daughter-in-law is a the kind of bitch that rhymes with "punt." Here's what I think happened: Mr. Earl tells his son he is adopting a dog and son (being a man) says, "Yeah, whatever Dad." And then Mr. Earl shows up with the dog and DIL is like "oh, Hell, no!" and proceeds to do all kinds of shitty things like say Mr. Earl's granddaughters can no longer come see him downstairs because Gus is "too rough" with them. BULL and SHIT. That dog does not have a rough bone in his body. But she knew where to hit him Mr. Earl's heart. The line that separated his granddaughters and Gus.

So, torn between his love for his new dog and the love for his family, Mr. Earl returned Gus. Though it broke his heart in every single place. He had to walk out to compose himself. I had to walk away too because I was about to have an ugly cry. I hugged Mr. Earl. Hard. I offered to call his family. But he was resolute.

I cried all the rest of the day. Cried and cried. A little for Gus. But mostly for Mr. Earl. Because he did everything right and is a good, kind man who just wanted a companion for his golden years. It just was. not. right.

I called Mr. Earl the next day to check on him. He said, "I tell you, I am not a drinking man, but I indulged a little last night." He said he missed his buddy. I told him I would do everything in my power to find Gus another forever home. Mr. Earl thanked me for calling. Said he appreciated it more than he could say. I am glad because my whole intent was to let him know someone really cared about him and that he was hurting.

A week later, Mr. Earl called me. He wanted to come see me and wanted to make sure I was in. He brought me a copy of his book:

See, Mr. Earl has lived an INCREDIBLE life and he wanted to put it down in writing for his family so he could leave his story behind. Abandoned before birth by his dad, two months after birth by his mom, raised in foster homes, ran away at 15, joined Army with falsified birth certificate at 16, decorated Korean War vet, Army Ranger, served under LBJ in the White House, accomplished carpenter, widowed after a happy marriage when his wife became ill. And all he wanted was a damn dog to call his own, to be his buddy.

I know his DIL will never read this, but I write to purge, so here I go: Lady, you will be so judged by what you have done. This man is the father of your husband, the grandfather of your daughters, and he deserves your respect for that alone. He serves as your constant babysitter, remodeled your damn basement (probably on his own dime), and let go of the dog he loved because he loves you more than you love him. A lot more, it seems. And, hey, there is a little thing called the Bible. It has something called commandments. Check out the fifth one. Because I would just bet you call yourself a Christian but it seems you could use a refresher. And remember that your actions set the example for your children, DIL. And I just pray your daughters don't treat you the same when you are old.

Now, for the good news. This past Tuesday, Gus was adopted. Again. And I truly think the third time will be a charm. It was a wonderful family with a 5-year-old son who loves animals (he was a vet for Halloween!) who really wanted a dog. They also were thoughtful....the mom called twice to talk with me at length then the parents came for a visit, without the son in case he became attached, and fell in love with Gus. I told them that while I thought Gus was truly exceptional, I did not want them to adopt him unless they were SURE it was right. And they were.

And they are keeping the name Gus. And when I told them about Mr. Earl, the mom said she would love to be in contact with him to share news and photos of Gus. She even said she hoped he might come visit them one day. THAT is how you treat seniors in your life, people. Take note.

After the holidays, when he has had a little space, Mr. Earl said he would like to start volunteering with us. Walking dogs. Maybe that will fulfill him without pissing off his DIL. Unless, of course, it cuts into her free babysitting time. I swear to you that should he be guilted into not volunteering, I don't know if I will be able to hold my tongue. She may get a call and a come-to-Jesus chat with me. Word.

Well, I am off. I will write another post over the weekend to catch you up on all the other happenings around Casa Bunny. It has been a busy few weeks....Christmas decorating, lots of work, lots of wonder I am sick as, well, a dog. Later taters! Bun.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ryan Gosling, Soup & Cherry Hutches

Aggg. I have had a chronic sinus infection for about a year and a half now, I think, and it plagues me yet again. Thus, I have felt a little like warmed over crappola the past couple of days, but lots has been going on here this week at Casa Bunny, so I wanted to give you a quick update.

On Tuesday, our new hutch was delivered. See, Mr. Bunny works for a furniture store but not any old big box store. No sir, this store makes everything by HAND from REAL wood. It is first class furniture, but, by golly, it is not cheap. However, Mr. B makes a pittance with no benefits, so his employer cuts him a deal (basically cost) on furniture. So, we designed a piece, then put a little down on it for months and months, and now it is in our home:

It turned out even better than I expected. It is massive, solid cherry and gorgeous. We designed it with an arts & crafts vibe, and purchased the arts & crafts tiles and hammered hardware to pull the look together. The glass is seeded, which doesn't show up in the photo. We filled it up today full of china and glassware and it holds a TON. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Mad love it.

Friday I took a mental health day from work and went to see Real Steel. I didn't really know what to expect but whatever I was expecting, it was much better. I was actually really good. And looking at Hugh Jackman for two hours is never a bad thing. He is def my #1 DILF. Let's take a look, just to make sure:

Mmmm. Yep. Yummy. And speaking of yummy, yesterday was Ryan Gosling's birthday. I am coming a little late to the Gosling party, but after seeing Crazy Stupid Love this summer, I am all in. I loved him in Lars & the Real Girl, and then in Blue Valentine. I think as he has entered his 30s, he had grown into his looks, or developed some style, or something, but whereas he used to look like a baby-faced boy who constantly needed a shower , now he looks super delicious. Let's take a look, for kicks and giggles:

Yes. Delicious. And he always looks like he is up to something. That subtle smirk...a la George Clooney...not snarky, but just like he is in on a really good joke. I love that. Other than mooning over men I will never meet, much less shag, I have spent the weekend Christmasing Casa Bunny, sleeping off this cold (I hope!) and making and eating soup. I made a new recipe from Pioneer Woman:  Italian Chicken Soup.
It was really good, and even better today. I served it with a crusty bread and it was very filling. I will admit I did not stew an entire chicken, but cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco, then used boxed broth. It makes a ton....we had it for dinner last night, tonight and still have four containers of leftovers for lunch. I don't think this soup would freeze well because of the pasta, so if you are not into leftovers, I suggest halving the recipe.

Well, that is all peeps. The hubs is waiting on me to come help him finish the trees so I better be off. Hope you all had a great weekend! Love, B.

Monday, November 07, 2011

My Palate on Pinterest

Do you Pinterest?!? If you don't, it's difficult to explain what it is. blackbird over at say la vee introduced me to Pinterest through her blog. Basically, it's like virtual corkboards where you can "pin" photos (with links) of anything you love from recipes to clothing to funny sayings. You can also see and "repin" other people's pins. The concept is similar to bookmarking but there is a visual with the pin and the boards allow you to organize your pins in categories. Many of mine, as you might guess, do with cooking, recipes and kitchen gadgetry.

I have five food boards on Pinterest...entrees, appetizers, soups/salads/sides, breads/breakfast and sweets. Plus a drinks board and a Williams-Sonoma board and a general kitchen gadgetry board. Imagine now why I am so "generously proportioned"?!?! Anyhoodle, I have discovered some GREAT recipes on Pinterest, and thought I would share a few of my faves with you. Some I have mentioned here before, some not. But I thought I would put all in one place with links to the original online post from the dish name. Here we go!

Skillet Lasagna. I love making lasagna but it is SO time consuming. This dish is a great compromise, tastes very, very much like traditional lasagna, and is so much easier and quicker to make. And the hubs loves it. Score. Score. Score.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken. Very delicious and flavorful. Great to use for any Mexican dish (such as nachos, tacos, enchiladas, etc.) or alone served with rice and beans. Be warned, however, to have several ways to serve if there are just two of you (or halve the recipe)...this recipe makes a TON of chicken.

Oven Hot Dogs. Ridiculously delish. I don't know that I will ever fix hotdogs any other way again. Warning: Must be eaten with a knife and fork (well, at least the way I make them!).

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glaze Pork Loin. The sauce makes this dish and then some. I could drink it from a cup it is so good. Great company dish because the pork cooks in the crock pot and the sauce is made in advance. Tastes and looks more fancy than it is, which is always a plus.

Grilled Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken. Another "company-worthy" dish that is easy to make yet looks special. Serve with a Caesar salad and some crusty bread and you are done. Also can be made into a sandwich.

Ricotta Stuffed Mini Peppers. I have posted this recipe before, but it bears repeating.I have made these numerous times and served with beef and chicken. Easy and, yet again, special enough for company. I don't even love peppers that much, but these are great.

Scooter's Spaghetti. A layered baked spaghetti dish, I was wary of this latest discovery because it is topped with French fried onions. I just made it this week for the first time, however, and it was very good. My hubs noted that it was even better the second day. Did I mention one of the layers is cream cheese?!? Again, this recipe makes oodles and it is very filling. 

I hope some of you will try some of these recipes. Other than the Scooter's Spaghetti, I have made all of them more than once, and they will continue to be in my cooking rotation. Let me know if you do try any of them and what you think! Hugs and kisses, Bun.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Funerals & Festivals

Peeps, sorry that I dropped into a black hole these first few days of November. It has been a weird week. My hub's uncle died last Sunday and the funeral was Wednesday, which ate up most of the day. I was thinking of doing a blog post about the service but decided words just couldn't describe it. He was Holiness Baptist so there was lots of shouting and waving of hands in the air and such. If you have never experienced this type of "preaching," you cannot understand. spectacle to behold. The service was almost an hour and a half. Seriously.

Needless to say, while I appreciate any kind thoughts, it really is not necessary as I really never met the man and the hubs had not really spoken to him in like 15 years. I simply went out of respect for my mother-in-law since it was her brother. And, I suppose, it was entertaining in its way. Though I am not sure funerals are supposed to be entertaining. Luckily, controlling laughter and controlling grief look about the same.

Yesterday, I went to the Decatur Wine Festival in Atlanta with one of my BFFs. Her hubs volunteered to be our DD which was supremely nice. It was a great afternoon, and the weather was perfect. We found some great new wines, and I drank more than I have in months and months, but the highlight of the day was this...

....local butcher shop that makes their own pancetta and other cured meats. I love me a good piece of salty, cured meat. And this meat was GOOOOOOD. And I love the t-shirt. Me thinks Bobs and I will have to make a trip there soon.

I am now regretting that I also did not take a photo of this group of three black gentlemen who were at the festival and turned out. I, mean, they looked like L.A. Reid from the X-Factor. Sharply styled. I love me a well-dressed man and, I hate to say it, but black men of style beat white men of style just about every day of the week. My fave was the gentleman in an obviously tailored shirt (with cuff links!) and blazer, expensive jeans, and cowboy boots. Just wonderful. Why, oh why, did I not take photos?!? I should have just told them I had a fashion blog and was going to post their pictures. Next time, baby, next time.

Anyhoodle, even though we gained an hour last night, I need to be off. I have about a billion things to try to accomplish today including starting on Christmas decor. Sigh. Hope you are all having a great weekend! Love, B.