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OK. Big news: Just this week, the totally shaded porch of our new home somehow started getting sun. This is no doubt due to the Earth's position now shifting to a place where the sun's rays can tickle the future-plant-bedecked porch in spite of the fact that the building next to us blocks the sun we should've been getting all season. Whatever. I only care that NOW I CAN GROW THINGS! HOORAY!

I immediately headed for the nearest garden center and, in an over-zealous frenzy that surely must be indicative of addiction, bought way too many plants. I got tomatoes, peppers, collard greens, two kinds of lettuce, and far, far too many beans. In the herb fam, I snagged some rosemary, thyme, and three different kinds of basil.

Here's the method to my madness:

Basil: A must. Hardy, pretty, and if you grow enough of it, you can not only save yourself the horror of pay $4 for three sprigs at the store, you can also make copious amounts of pesto. Make a double bath and the extra can be frozen in zippy sandwich bags for a summery treat in mid-winter. Trust me, it's heaven.

Beans: Hardy, fast growers that, as a fun little perk, also produce beautiful pink flowers.

Lettuce: Nothing better than a fresh-picked salad! Bonus: they don't like the heat of July-August, so when they're done, I can pluck them out and replace with a heat-lover.

Collard greens: New to me. {gulp}

Peppers: As my friend Dee once said, “Peppers are so rewarding to grow.” SO true. Love seeing them on the vine.

Tomatoes: True confession: they aren't my favorite fresh fruit (and to me they'll always be a veggie, but whatevs). But, much like peppers, they are SO rewarding to grow. When you see them covered in their brightly hued fruit, you sit back and think, “Yeah. I grew that.” Bonus: I like to give them away to neighbors. And now I have new neighbors to meet and impress with my growing acumen {blows on fingernails and rubs on imaginary lapels}

Parsley and Dill: Self-propogated from last year! Yup–these determined crops spread their own seeds from last season and came up by themselves. SWEET!! I like your spirit, guys!

So much to do…except for the self-propogating herbs. Yeah! Nice work, guys!

I spent the weekend planting. There is something so primal, so deeply instinctual about digging your hands into the dirt and planting. Hours and hours later, tired and hungry, with an aching back, I felt connected to something bigger and older than me. I also felt excited about what this season will bring. Stay tuned!

Seeing how much work there was at hand, Pelu immediately
became overwhelmed and had no other option but to take a nap.
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Pelu's learning the hard way that you may have to kiss a few of these before you find your prince.

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Happy Valentine's Day, all! 🙂

This Thanksgiving, I was (among other things) thankful to be surrounded by family and seated at a bountiful table of homemade food.

On Black Friday, I was thankful for the delights of post-Thanksgiving leftovers without any of the work.

And, in case you were wondering what canine gratitude looks like, here it is. Pelu is thankful to have finally worked her way up to getting this close to the kitty.

Hello, Kitty…I love you.
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From this 10-pound puppy cowgirl and her human. 🙂

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div dir=”ltr” style=”text-align: left;” trbidi=”on”>When I got my sweet little mutt Pelu in February, it immediately became clear that we were destined for each other through a series of remarkable commonalities. I love Twizzlers…she loves Twizzlers. I love chips (the salt, the crunch, what's not to love?)…Pelu loves chips. I love gummy bears…and, why, what do you know? She loves gummy bears too!

Pelu has a remarkably diverse palate. Have you ever seen a dog who loves fruit? Vegetables? Well, sweet little Pelu does! Just like me.

Our commonalities continued…Pelu made it clear that she detested being out in the rain and would employ any means possible to avoid getting her feet wet. When I tried to take her out on rainy days (overcoming my own loathing of being out in the rain and getting my feet wet), she would lock out her joints and I would have to drag a sitting dog down the street as she squirmed frantically to get away from me and back home. Ah, sigh, a girl after my heart.

That, however, was back in the days of her earlier youth. Now, at nearly a year old, she has apparently overcome her fear/dread/loathing of rainy days and getting her tiny feet wet. I greeted this revelation with a very certain response: DARN IT!!!

Pelu's new non-minding of rain became depressingly clear when I took her out on this cold, dreary, rainy morning and she pranced happily along, looking for squirrels. Whaaaat??? Where were the locked out joints? The squirming as though she was being tortured? The darting back toward the house, pulling with more might than you might think a furry 11-pounder could pull with?

Apparently, 30 rain-soaked minutes later, soaked through to my socks and my layers of sweatshirts a  regretable soggy weight, I realized my little nugget has overcome her rain-issues.

This doggy mama, however, has not.

Now to enjoy a day full of eau de wet dog. [sigh] [sigh] [sigh]


Lessons from a Dog #2: Time is Relative

Posted on October 5, 2011 by Sara in Puppy, Random with No Comments
You know that whole thing about one year of a dog’s life being equivalent to seven human years?

Yeah, so recently, I left Pelu in her crate for five hours (we’re still housetraining phase and she’s too young to be trusted outside her “den.”) Five whole hours. I felt terrible and and guilty and worried. Then, in a sharp spiral down into anxiety, I thought of the 1:7 human:dog ratio. Which then made me wonder, “Five times seven is…what…35? OMG. Was my five-hour absence actually 35 hours to Pelu?”

Could it be true that a five-hour editing session with my critique partner was a day and a half to my sweet little puppy?

I guess we’ll never know for sure. But it sure does help explain why she’s so incredibly happy to see me when I get home after what I perceive to be a relatively short time 🙂

Pelu mid-yawn. She’s had a tough day of playing at the park, eating, and taking an earlier nap.

If I was going to get all philosophical about this, I’d wonder, what can we do about our perception of time? Why does editing seem endless but popcorn and a movie fleeting?

What about you? What drags? What flies? What do you do about it?

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The Big Plunge

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Sara in pictures, Puppy, Random with No Comments

Throughout my twenties, my Italian grandmother lamented my single status. As all her other grandchildren married and reproduced, she was wont to introduce me as her “granddaughter…the unmarried one.”

Finally, at the ripe old age of 30, I too got married. This meant that she could stop saying Hail Marys to that effect and I could feel relieved that she’d now stop asking if I’d met any “special friends” during our daily conversations.

I’d earned a blessed reprieve. Or so I’d thought.

Until…she started asking when she’d see great-grandchildren. Ah, le sigh. It seems marriage is not enough for a little Italian nonni.

In much the same way I resisted marriage, I’ve stubbornly resisted the kid pressure. Maybe it has something to do with all that getting up every three hours for round the clock feedings. And cleaning up someone else’s poop. And the whole 18 years (minimum) of undue responsibility–the idea of another (utterly helpless!) little being depending on you for their food and safety and care. I couldn’t just go away for the weekend with friends or hubby anymore.  I couldn’t have wine with dinner, mimosas with brunch, or vodka…ever?! (OK fine – not “ever,” but at least for a year or two given pregnancy and breastfeeding).

That level of commitment is so very intense and overwhelming. And I’m kind of a wimp and definitely a commitment-phobe. Which basically boils down to…fuhgeddaboudit.

So here I am, nearly 34, and my biggest responsibilities are my indoor plants year-round, and my garden in the summer. No fish. No cats. No big burden of responsibility.

Until I decided I was ready for at least a little more responsibility. And suddenly, getting up every three hours for the first few months and cleaning up someone else’s poop didn’t sound quite as bad.

Which is how I knew I was ready for the big plunge: a puppy!

Enter: Pelu. An adorable mutt from MacAllen, Tx. Her mom was a cockapoo (half cocker spaniel, half poodle and trust me, that sounds better than the alternative “poodlecock”) and the dad is a mystery. My vet says she looks like a border terrier. And given that, at five months, she’s only growing longer and not taller, I think she may be part long-haired dachshund as well.

I got up every few hours to let her out for the first few days of housetraining. Then I realized this tiny puppy and I were soulmates: she could hold it for at least eight hours. Heaven! Mama can sleep!

Yes, she is utterly dependent on me for her care, food, safety, and well-being. But surprisingly, that isn’t as terrifying as I’d feared. I can actually handle it. She loves to snuggle. She can entertain herself for hours while I work. She naps like a champ. And she has a sassy, loving, irrascible personality that is entirely endearing.

Which makes her just about the most perfect little creature in the world and exactly the right amount of responsibility.

Still not ready for kids though! 🙂

Napping…like a boss
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