The Heart Wants What It Wants

by Peggy on August 30, 2014

The house is a little quieter. Dixie died early Thursday morning.

Dixie "Doodle Bug" in the Indian Paintbrush, Spring 2013

Dixie “Doodle Bug” in the Indian Paintbrush, Spring 2013

I knew when I got home from work Wednesday evening she was in trouble. Lethargic. Eyes in a faraway place. When I picked her up to take her to the animal emergency room, clumps of hair fell on the floor.

I appreciate that Denton has an animal e.r. I told myself it was possible that they could get her blood sugar back in balance and she would be back home, but I also was no fool. I declined the diagnostic bloodwork and I checked the “do not resuscitate” box.

I left her there, a clean and well-lighted place, and slept through the phone call that came at 1:21 a.m. When I awoke at 5:15 a.m., to dress and go pick her up, I saw the messages waiting. I didn’t need to listen to know.

I always wonder what a veterinarian thinks of you when you decline care. I loved Dixie. She came into our lives just two years ago and she took up a big spot in my crusty old heart that has already been through fire and rain.

When Dr. Cody Bullock diagnosed her diabetes last November, he told me some people opt right then to put their dog down and he said wouldn’t judge me if I did. I didn’t flinch. We did a good job giving her insulin twice a day and helping her adapt to her blindness. But, looking back on the past few weeks, there were signs something was amiss. She was eating less dog food. (But so was Gus, so I thought it was just summer appetite). When we were outside in the evenings, she foraged for cicadas and grasshoppers (dead, of course) to eat. A few weeks ago, she vomited. She recovered. But it was black. She was bleeding somewhere.

I kept a close eye on her, but then there was a death in the family. I left for a few days. And then I worked two Saturdays in a row. I probably missed a clue somewhere, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

My little sister called me yesterday. Her dog was in trouble. Grand mal seizures. Awful ones. Not sure yet what’s causing them. So far not under control either.

She’s bracing for the worst. But she told me up where she is, in Park City, there’s a vet that comes to your house to euthanize a pet.

I wanted that for Dixie. More than anything. Doggie hospice.

My heart was already aching.

And again, I didn’t get to say good-bye.

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Old-school cakes: 5 Flavor Cake

by Peggy on August 26, 2014

I had the pleasure of sharing some of Aunt Regina’s recipes with Ashley West when I spent the afternoon with her recently. She cans preserves and pickles and sells them at the Denton Community Market on the Farmhouse 43 label. We featured her in a recent story to advance the fair. Ashley ended up winning six ribbons for her creations, including two blue ribbons. (I bought a jar of that blue-ribbon blueberry mojito jam last weekend. Yum.)

It was nice to spend a little time with someone who appreciates what can be found in old recipes.

Like any good cook, Aunt Regina collected a lot of cake recipes. I’ve shared a few here and here. I’ve noticed that her collection favors pound cakes. I like them, too. They are easy to make and they keep well. No fancy decorating required either. Top with fruit or whipped cream.

This one calls for a glaze. I don’t know the history of this recipe, but I checked what some Internet Peoples had to say about it. I’ve seen references to its publication in a Southern Living magazine in the 1980s. J.R. Watkins has a variation on its web site.

Given how many extracts the recipe calls for, it seems a recipe like this would have been developed in their test kitchen.

But, if it was good enough for Aunt Regina to write it down and keep it in the accordion file, then it’s a keeper.

5FlavorCake1

5FlavorCake2

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Overheard in the Wolfe House #278

August 8, 2014

Sam (to the plumber): Well, Steve, you’ve been with us all day. Steve: It happens sometimes.

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Growing while shrinking

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I’m glad we decided to etch the kids’ heights in the side of an old bookshelf from Pier I instead of on the pantry wall or some other doorway in the house. When we built our little house on the Texas prairie nearly 20 years ago, this was supposed to be the last home we’d […]

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August 2, 2014

… and shameless parental bragging. She may have more video to share, but if you want to see it, go over to Wandering Seoul on YouTube and subscribe.   Paige graduates from the school of world experiences. Here’s part two of her video blog from Busan.

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Sam: Everybody in this house needs a shower except me. Michael: Well, good for you, Sam. Do you want a biscuit? Sam: No, thanks. I already had breakfast.

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The North Texas State Fair is coming

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Maybe we’ll see pickles like Aunt Regina used to make. Here are some more pickling recipes for the bounty from your garden. For the first time in many years, I’m growing dill and okra for okra pickles. They were one of Mark’s favorite. It’s taken a while for the heart to heal enough to make […]

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A day at the beach, Busan-style …

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Just adorable. I’m starting to think that we didn’t take the kids to the beach enough when they were little.

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Overheard in the Wolfe House #276

July 23, 2014

Peggy (after arriving home in surprise visit in the middle of the day): You’re writing code? Sam: Yes. (pauses) For Sibelius.

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Soldier stew, a CD callback and a hiatus …

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She’s going to the coast. (Yes, I told her not to take the ferry.)

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