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We have a very empty house. My youngest son’s companion of more than twelve years left us very unexpectedly last week. Her departure has left us with a very large hole in our hearts. While she loved each and every one of us, she loved Tim the most, with her entire heart and soul — and he loved her back just exactly the same. Her death is very surreal and difficult for all of us to accept. We keep walking into the house or a room and looking for her. After all, for her whole life and a good chunk of ours, she was around. It took me a long while to decide whether or not to write this post. I didn’t want to share our grief, our very, very personal sadness with the world. I was being selfish, because honestly I didn’t want to have to field all the “I’m sorrys” as heartfelt as they were, because they couldn’t help to make the sadness in our hearts go away. In thinking about it, long and hard, I realized that I was wrong. Jinx was a good dog – no, she was a great dog — and she deserves a proper eulogy. So here goes….
She came into our lives an energetic and adorable black lab puppy. She grew up with Tim and the two of them shared so many good times and so much snuggling and cuddling. He wanted desperately, as a tiny guy to have her be “his dog” and there is absolutely no question that she was. She loved him with every ounce of her being and he gave the same huge amount of love back to him. If there could be such a thing as a “perfect” death, she had it. She died in his arms and his face was the last one she saw. Tom and I swear that she waited for him, although don’t get me wrong, we had no idea that she was going to die. She had been asleep on the couch in my office, as she usually was during a “work day” and he came home early from school because of testing, anxious to share a beautiful day by taking her for a swim which is something she adored. They never made the swim, in fact, they never made it out the door. She collapsed and died just a few minutes later, within minutes of his arrival home. She was a smart dog, she kept us on schedule for dinner (6 p.m. was the time she decided dinner should be served) and she was always quick to let us know what she wanted and what she didn’t. If she was being pesky and we thought she had to go out, she was quick to back up and lay down when we tried to open the door and let her out telling us we had gotten it wrong. She had Tom and I on a schedule, our lunch was always the time for her snack. She would patiently wait for us to finish eating and then “urge” us to get up and give her a well deserved (in her opinion of course) snack. She loved cucumber almost as much as meat and you couldn’t break out anything crunchy without her coming running from across the house to share it with you. If we left her outside too long, she would come and stand at the window in the living room, staring at us, until we let her back inside. I’m sure that if she could figure out how to open the door herself, she would have done that as well. She enjoyed trips to the transfer station or any outing in the car and she loved being boarded at Wundrland, she would go crazy, whining and crying, when we mentioned the name. She loved all of us but would go absolutely crazy when Tim got home from a trip, especially last summer when he was gone for weeks at a time. She was my work buddy and lived for “let’s go to work” where she would promptly follow me into my office and take her place on the couch while I worked. She loved keeping the chipmunks that live around the house on the their toes and would run after the squeaking noise the second she heard it. She loved, loved, loved frisbee and swimming with Tim as well as anytime that she was able to snuggle up with him. She was very special to us and can never be replaced. In addition to the obvious, one of the things that always strikes me about death, is the words that will cease to be spoken. I remember when my dad died since that day, no one has every referred to me as “baby” or “my little girl”. Those words died along with my dad, never to be spoken again. Similarly, there are words that will never be uttered again in this house “jinxy dawg”,”let’s go to work”, “back up the truck” or “beep, beep, beep” when she used to try to go backwards around the coffee table. I hope that with these words and pictures, I have done her justice. We gave her a good home and she gave us a lifetime of love. What more can either of us ask for? Rest in peace, puppy dog — you deserve it.
Today, we pick this kid up from college for the summer. I know, you are saying “he looks awfully young for college” but in my heart and mind, this is the kid that will be waiting for me later today, not the way-taller-than-me young man that will meet me with a hug and a smile at his dorm. So very hard to believe that his first year of college is already over — time marches on and damn if we can do anything to hold onto these kinds of moments even just a second longer.
Last night I undertook a new challenge. I made homemade pierogies. The other night we had chicken and mashed potatoes so I had some leftover mashed potatoes and decided that I should give this a try. I made my own pierogi dough which was amazingly quite simple. Then I took those leftover mashed potatoes, heated them a few minutes in the microwave and stirred in some grated cheddar cheese and seasoned them with salt, pepper and onion powder. I started the whole process at 4:15 and by 6:15 we were eating some pretty decent pierogies. I am sure that mine pale in comparison to those made by those with some Polish blood coursing through their veins but I am pretty satisfied with my first time outcome.
Last night, we had the privilege of watching Tim being inducted into the National Honor Society. We are very proud of Tim and his successes. We joined the other very proud parents who were there to witness the candlelight induction ceremony. Here are some photos of last night’s ceremony.
Tim with some of his fellow WES attendees posing for a photo.
I remember the day vividly. The day that my life changed forever….in a wonderful way. I woke this morning 19 years ago to start a journey that will last a lifetime. My water broke at 6 a.m. and we were off on the journey of a lifetime. Later that evening, at 9:47, when he was good and ready, my first baby made his way into this world, making me a mom. It is so hard to believe that 19 years have passed since that day. The journey has flashed by but it has been a wonderful trip, full of laughter, smiles, hugs, tears and growing pains. Looking at the young man he has become, a mom can be nothing but heart-bursting proud. Today is a hard birthday (for me) though since it will be the first time in his entire life, that I won’t be there to personally give him a birthday hug and kiss. (Mind you I got those in over the weekend). He will however, be in my thoughts the entire day – after all, how could he not be?
All the planning and hard work on the part of the vocal students, their choral teacher and a lot of parent volunteers comes together this weekend for Mill River Union High School’s annual Bistro. Bistro is a series of performances by the school’s elite vocal ensembles consisting of two dinner performances and one luncheon performance at the Brandon Inn. Attendees are treated to the vocal entertainment of some great students during their three course meal. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the ensembles perform a concert after dessert has concluded. This year’s theme is the “Lullaby of Broadway”.
Here are two of my favorite Bistro performers.
For those of you that might be traveling to Vermont in next few days, I don’t want you to fret over mud season. I know that mud season in Vermont can be daunting, and vehicles can get stuck and things can get downright ugly. In fact, most Vermonters tend to use mud season to run away to anywhere that is not here just to avoid it. I know that around this time of year, you may worry about mud season. But, folks, seriously, there is no need to worry, we’ve got plenty of snow and ice to take care of it for you!
I know that spring officially arrived just about a week ago, but there’s lots of snow on the ground, some really good skiing and snowmobiling and another 5-8 inches forecast for the weekend. So, no worries about mud here.
Happy Birthday Tyler! It is so hard to believe that 18 years ago today, at this time, we were anxiously awaiting our new baby’s arrival. Tyler, who was in no particular hurry to enter the world (he should have been born on St. Patrick’s Day) arrived at 5 p.m. on March 22nd.
Before his arrival, I could not understand how a mother has enough love in her heart to love two little babies, but taking one look at that face and holding him for the first time in my arms, there was no doubt that I would love this guy (I can’t say “little” since he arrived at 10 pounds 12 ounces) with all of my heart and soul.
and this picture
Tyler has grown into a wonderful young man who makes his mom very proud.
Happy 18th Birthday Tyler! I love you!
I am personally not a stew fan. The guys all love stew and I’ll make it, but I would just as soon make something else for myself rather than eat the stew. It’s nothing personal, I’m told I make good stew, but it just doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal to me. There are things that are just so much more appetizing. That being said, since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and since Irish blood does course through these veins and since we don’t eat corned beef and cabbage, I thought I’d make an Irish stew. I looked online for some Irish stew recipes and decided to go with a hybrid of sorts. A total lamb stew, I’m not sure how that would have gone over since we are not super big lamb eaters. An all beef stew, well, I already stated my opinion on that one. So I mixed them together, threw in some stout beer. I bought a single bottle of chocolate stout from a local brewing company since I couldn’t get a single Guinness (and since we don’t drink beer, I refuse to take up refrigerator space with any) and a bottle of red wine. I started this stew at 4 and we ate at 7. So, it really didn’t take very long at all and came out tasting quite good and coming from a non-stew lover, this is really, really high praise.
1 1/2 lbs lamb stew meat cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 lbs beef chuck stew meat cut into bite size pieces
2 T. tomato paste
1 t. sugar
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle chocolate stout beer of your choice
1 c. red wine (I used Shiraz)
4 c. beef broth (I used 1 T beef base with 4 cups water)
3 T. butter
6-7 carrots cut into bite size pieces
6-7 Yukon gold potatoes cut into bite size pieces
1 large onion cut into bite size pieces
2 bay leaves
olive oil for searing
salt and pepper to taste
1. I took the cut up beef and lamb and browned it in the olive oil in my dutch oven. I did the lamb first and then the beef. Removed it to a bowl when each was done.
2. I put the cooked meat back into the pan and added my onion, sauteed for a few minutes.
3. Add stout, red wine, beef broth, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, tomato paste and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cover.
4. In a separate pan, add butter and saute carrots for about 15 minutes. Turn off and leave in pan.
5. Allow meat to simmer, covered, for one hour. Then add potatoes and carrots, season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Allow to cook uncovered at a medium heat for approximately 40 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.
On Tuesday, the grass was showing in spots and it was almost 50 degrees. What a difference a day (or two) can make around here. Starting Wednesday morning the snow started falling and continued until this morning. When it was all said and done, we had about 2 1/2 feet on the ground although it is windy as heck here so an exact measurement (assuming that I was going outside to measure) would be next to impossible. Let it suffice to say, it is a LOT of snow.
There was a lot of shoveling out this morning.
Believe it or not, those sap buckets are actually hanging off the top of our three foot fence and hold flower in warmer weather.