Friday, November 23, 2012

I HATE Leftovers

While I love the holiday season-- and the holidays feasts-- I have a particular hatred for leftovers.  Fresh off the bird, turkey is a lovely, juicy, oh-so-buttery seasonal delight; warmed over, it is nothing short of betrayal.  Even my beloved mashed potatoes taste frightful the second time around!

[caption id="attachment_343" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Foosa gets into the holiday spirit.[/caption]

So, while my mother and pug blithely enjoy the remainders of yesterday’s Thanksgiving lunch, I have been striking out with *new* foods that, as the season insists, are comforting and tasty.

[caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Chicken, Mac 'N Cheese, and Salad-- NOT turkey et al.[/caption]

Tonight’s fare include Parmesan and herb coated chicken, traditional Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and a American-style side salad with Italian dressing.



[caption id="attachment_345" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Foosa in a turkey coma![/caption]

P.S. Leftover pie is ALWAYS an exception to my rule.
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Appy Daze: Thanksgiving

Hello, dear readers!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US where we stop and consider how fortunate we truly are while gorging ourselves on poultry and watching bags of gas float through the streets of Manhattan.  Cynical as ever, I thought I should probably take a few minutes and share what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving because, quite frankly, I could use the Karma Points.

My Pug
In all honesty, I probably love my dog as much as many people love their children.  Duchess lights up my world and has given me a new lease on life.  Before she joined our family, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I even wanted to be alive-- my life had truly reached its lowest ebb.  Taking care of Duchess has helped me to heal the wounds of the past while forging new bonds with my furry companion.

I’ve written many times about how transformative it has been to have Duchess in my life.  Suffice it to say, she is a magical little person and I am very thankful she is a member of my family.

My Mom
My mother is my best friend.  Like any mother and daughter, we have our differences from time to time; regardless, we have a bond that is unbreakable.  It has always been the two of us against the world, supporting one another, and taking care of each other.  No matter what, we always have one another and we always will.

The wonderful turkey she made for Thanksgiving lunch was only the icing on the proverbial cake; she’s an amazing lady and I am ever so thankful that she is in my life.

My Students
Teaching is a difficult career path to take; it involves long hours and a great intellectual, emotional, and financial commitments.  Even though it can frustrate me and run me down, working with young people and helping to develop their critical thinking skills is both professionally and personally fulfilling.  Whenever I question my professional decisions, all I have to do is talk to my students and I know that I have made the right choice.

It is easy to be pessimistic about the course your country is taking if all you know of young people is what you see on television; however, when you are “in the trenches” with youth like I am on a daily basis, you can truly see the profoundly positive seachange that awaits our country.

My Freedom
I’ll be completely honest, I am a cantankerous person; I’ll say what I think frankly even if it isn’t want everybody else wants to heart.  To put it simply, I am the friend that will tell you your butt looks fat in those jeans before you leave the house.  Now, I don’t see this forthrightness to be a character flaw, but simply as real talk from a person who cares too much to let the shit hit the proverbial fan.

There are places in this world where my mouthiness could get me in a lot of physical and legal trouble, particularly because I am a woman.  I’m glad I don’t live in one of those places and I am thankful that my ancestors got kicked out of a decent country so I could alienate people freely in America.  Hurrah, ancestors!

My President
I am glad that President Obama won reelection.  Yes, yes, yes, I know I am a Progressive Democrat and that I would naturally feel that way; however, I think Mittens’ recent comments about why he lost the election have really put a bow on the national gift that is Barack Obama-- though I am still waiting for my gift basket or whatever we childless women are meant to get for our support.

In all seriousness, I know that President Obama’s reelection means that a large cross-section of the American people will benefit from compassionate policies that seek to grow our nation’s economy, invest in its future, and not renege on the promises made to our older generations.  I’m thankful that our country is on the road to recovery and that so many will have a bright future because my countrymen got it right a second time.

While my life isn’t perfect, and neither is my country, I know that I am well and truly blessed.  Even though I try to be thankful for what I have year round, there is something about a tum full of turkey and fruit pie that makes a gal feel particularly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2012

'Appy Daze: The Pug of My Life

Yes, dear readers, ‘Appy Daze are here again (although a bit late)!  This week, I thought I would tell you more about my dog, Duchess (otherwise known as “The Foosa”), who just happens to be my best friend and and the coolest person I know . . . even though she has fur.

Like me, Duchess had a rough start; she spent the first six years of her life in the care of another owner who didn’t provide her with proper medical care (e.g., getting her fixed and giving her preventative medicines), fed her a low quality dog food that left her malnourished, and eventually surrendered her to a rescue organization.  When we adopted Duchess shortly before my birthday in March, she was very reserved and seemed understandably uncertain about her surroundings.  While she was immediately sweet and affectionate with us, Duchess took some time trying to figure my mother and I out; she knew she liked us, but she wanted to know she was at her forever home before she committed to loving us.

With lots of love, training, and consistency we have shown Duchess that she is in a safe, happy home that is forever her’s and that she will always be taken care of by people who love her dearly.  She is the light of our lives and every day we strive to let her know that.

[caption id="attachment_288" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Thank you, Washington Irving, for making this moment possible. Sincerely, THE WORLD[/caption]

Since her adoption, Duchess has morphed into another girl entirely: she is very affectionate (never shy about pinning me down and licking every speck of makeup off of my face), playful, and confident enough to voice her opinions (especially when she wants a snack).  Duchess knows what she wants and, more often than not, we are pleased as punch to give it to her.

Having Duchess in my life has truly been a blessing; she gives my life a meaning and dimension where there was none.  Before Duchess, I seemed to have an abundance of time that weighed on me heavily and never seemed to be full enough or spent meaningfully.  Often, the simple act of getting up in the morning was a struggle and the prospect of having to face another day was virtually unbearable.

While day to day life is still challenging for me, I still face each new day because I know that I get to spend at least part of it hanging out with Duchess.  Also, as irritable as I may feel in the morning, I know that Duchess needs me to take care of her and to give her the love and affection she deserves.  Some mornings, she even comes over and wakes me up!

Truly, Duchess gives me a reason to want to face the day.  It is not enough to do something because you need to, not when it comes to living, you have to find a reason to want to live.  Duchess is my reason and it is easy to see why.

As you will notice from my photos of her, Duchess, like all pugs, is ridiculously adorable and has the largest, most expressive eyes.  It is impossible to resist such a sweet little face; she’s just too cute and bear cub-like to ignore.

[caption id="attachment_200" align="aligncenter" width="225"] My lovely pug girl at bath time.[/caption]

When I am feeling low, Duchess is quick to lick me affectionately or jump on the couch to sit with me (or on me as  the case may be).  I don’t have to be crying or expressing my feelings outwardly for her to inherently know that I need her calming comfort.  From the very moment we picked her up, Duchess was affectionate towards me (even licking me senseless on the car ride home); it was as if she knew from the start how much I needed her.

For me, the decision to adopt Duchess was the best choice I ever made.  She needs me and I need her.  We’re two souls who, having been lost in troubled seas for so long, found safe harbor in one another.

The world is a happier, more manageable place for me because of Duchess.  She is more than my best friend and even more than a member of my family, she is my lifeline.

[caption id="attachment_37" align="aligncenter" width="225"] My girl, happy in her summer finery.[/caption]