Monday, August 17, 2015

Sweetest. Funniest. Best.







I've known for a long time that this was a post I needed to write. Didn't want to, but needed to.

Just a few days ago (August 9th) marked exactly one year since we lost this precious friend to lymphoma. There. I said it.
It was just so hard to speak of, so hard to think about. Many of you heard about it in other ways, but since I wasn't blogging at the time, some of you never knew the story. Weegie was such a very big part of this blog. My goodness, he even wrote a post here and there making it even more difficult to imagine this little blog without his sweet spirit infusing everything from the stories and photos all the way down to things like recipe selection.
A recipe that included blueberries? A must have. Bacon? You betcha.

Weegie was almost 9 years old. He should have been around for a few more years.

Or forever.



When he was diagnosed in October of 2013 the veterinarian guessed he had 2-3 more months. I can't and won't begin to describe that day. It's etched in my brain and psyche forever. But.I don't want this to be a mournful post.

(By the way, in typical Weegie fashion, he stubbornly defied the odds and lived almost 10 months after the diagnosis.)

He was the sweetest, funniest, best dog.

No, today I want to celebrate. Celebrate God's goodness wrapped up in the gift of a slightly overweight, sometimes impertinent, hysterically funny, big-hearted dog with extremely short legs.

Weegie loved blueberries, bacon, cheese and pancakes. The pancakes had to be eaten outside. On the grass. Who knows why. But he insisted on it.

He disliked thunder, the hairdryer, and the vacuum cleaner. All evil, he thought.


He loved to eat, sleep in odd positions, ride in the Mule, chase the cows, eat, swim and poop (sorry). He was what we called a show-pooper. He liked an audience, and that's all I'll say about that.




Weegie loved water. Loved it. He was the Mark Spitz of the doggie world.







He was the sweetest, funniest, best dog.








The Mule did not move unless The Weege was in it. It just wasn't done.






For years, Weegie also enjoyed a special on-again-off-again friendship with Donkey. Honestly I believe they were kindred spirits with their penchance for rule-breaking and disdain of the establishment.

Weegie let us know early on that he would pick and choose the rules he would follow. He absolutely excelled at house-training.  I bet he had no more than two or three accidents ever. Period. On the other hand, Puppy School Training was not his forte. He did not enjoy any of the parts that involved sitting and obeying. He did, however, enjoy the copious amounts of attention that he received as the all time cutest Corgi puppy ever, and he loved to steal the treats from the other dogs in the class while they were, in fact, distracted by all the sitting and obeying. Brilliant.
He graduated with his class, but we always suspected that it was simply because of his perfect attendance.
Hey. He has a diploma. It counts.

Like I said,

He was the sweetest, funniest, best dog.

He had an incredibly high tolerance for pain. The doctors were always amazed. When he had a completely torn ACL (either from his running back days in the NFL)(or chasing the cows) he was almost impossible to keep still. On the day after surgery he escaped his tiny enclosed pen and made his way upstairs. Oy.

When the lymphoma slowly worsened, the vet said he had never seen a dog tolerate it with so much determination.
Weegie was tough. And smart.

For the last 8 months or so of his life, we were at the farm together. Mostly just the two of us. 24 hours a day. I will cherish every single one of those days with him.

In his last few months he loved to lay on the hill in the front yard at the farm. That place is shaded by a huge oak tree and from this vantage point he could keep an eye on his kingdom, the cows, and be in earshot of the Mule starting up.

We buried him on a very hot August afternoon in that exact spot.





If someone ever tells you that a dog can't make a difference in your life, you can be absolutely sure they never had a Weegie in theirs.

He was the sweetest. The funniest. The best.

Always in my heart.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a Little Grace



Let's Talk.

Last night some friends and I had Bible Study together. It was a special time as always with lots of talk, many laughs, and as you would suspect, a good amount of food. I mean everyone needs to eat, don't they? And what better time to do it than when you're discussing The Word.

Praise God and Bless all the Hearts.

A particularly lively discussion ensued when we reached the section on the prevalent societal problem popularly identified as "Pride of Lifestyle".  And although we hear about and see this in myriad ways, it's most often glaringly revealed in the posts and photographs we scroll through every day when looking at social media of all types.

To be clear- we all think posting and sharing with friends is good. It's just that it's hard to ignore the fact that in all too many a few cases it's also clear that the person posting has, let's say, an agenda.

You know the one. The friend(s) who constantly posts about their frequent travels to exotic places. And yet instead of just the lovely shots of scenery and informative suggestions (which we might love) on where to visit in case anyone else gets the opportunity to go (give me a beautiful picture of mountains and/or trees any day!) you seem to get lots! of photos of them with their spouse/significant other holding a wine glass up to the sunset on the balcony of an expensive hotel or restaurant patio. Or the pictures of the expertly plated (3rd) gourmet meal of their day. Vacations are great. We all love them, and usually desperately need them. Perhaps, though, in our enthusiasm to occasionally overshare it might be wise to edit the re-cap of the trip to include some photos that actually show the place that you visited and not just you in that place. It's possible that we (myself included)  might send the message: Look where I was! I drank lots of wine, took lots of selfies, and most importantly did not do all the boring everyday things that all you other people did while you were not here too.

Then there are the exercisers. They are so tired because they ran/walked 16 miles in the awful heat this morning. And just to help you visualize, they post a map of their route. Thank you. I was concerned about which direction you went. They played two rounds (matches? sets? quarters?) of tennis just before lunch, but that's OK because it was certainly easier and less strenuous than the 4 hours of Crossfit they did at dawn. Meanwhile you are reading this in your hole-y yoga pants that you fully intend to wear ALL DAY LONG. And frankly there will be no yoga involved. That would require getting off the couch and entirely too much exercise.
In all seriousness, people might want to think a bit about their motivation for these posts. Are they motivational/inspirational to others? Is your honest intention to encourage others to get healthy, or to invite friends to join you?
Or is it possible that you're saying: Look what I did! I'm not on my couch like you! My yoga pants are aptly named! As a matter of fact my second yoga class of the day starts in 20 minutes and I need to start running there now. I should hydrate more.

(No need for me to include myself in this group because, you know, EXERCISE.

Let's also consider those who like to share photos of what they just bought. Things like clothes or jewelry, or your 19th pair of fancy and expensive cowboy boots (you just can't help yourself! although you never wear most of them! they're just so cute! and after all! you didn't have a turquoise and red pair!) Really?
Now if you just bought a much anticipated new house (Yay!) or a new car after driving a beater for the last 10 years? Post away! We celebrate with you! The friends who know and love you will always appreciate you sharing milestone and life-changing purchases. And by all means, if you got a cute new (or old) dog (I mean pet...) you cannot post enough pictures. All dog All new pet pictures and stories are appropriate. The more that involve weird pet sleeping positions and doggie "bloopers" the better. Pet photos are cute and entertaining. Bring them on.

But shoes. Accessories. A fur jacket. Let's re-evaluate here.
Are we seriously considering our motivations when we post pictures of these purchases? Do other people really need to know that we just bought that? Is someone out there waiting to get this news?

Or are we saying: Look what I bought/have/own/just got! Do you have one too?



I'm aware that many of us have small group pages on social media made up of good, extremely close friends with whom we can share anything at all. No holds barred. This is good. We love to see all things from all the people there.

But your public, everyone sees it place? Not so much.


Despite my obvious cynicism on the issue (please forgive) I hope you're able to glean my point here.
 I think social media can be wonderful (Hello, my name is Lu and I'm kind of a blogger.) We can use it to keep in touch, be informed, and share important (or even not so important) news. We can make people laugh, encourage, and love on people in ways in which they may never be touched otherwise.


All it takes is a little self-evaluation and showing some grace. Because we can all use a little grace.

All the time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

But I Do Not Want To Turn To The Left


Some (four to be exact) things:

1) The heat. So very hot.


2) Parking Garages. I think we can all agree, can't we, that they can be exasperating. One unfortunate afternoon years ago I drove in some kind of circular/elliptical/spiral-y pattern for a good 20 minutes trying to locate the exit to one. Please do not ask my sons about this.
And today I experienced another new Parking Garage Low when I could see the row of spaces I was trying to park in, but I could. not. get. to. it. So many arrows. So many signs. So much turning to the left. So much unnecessary confusion.
And why is it when you have to swipe your permit (and OK, you also might be going the wrong way)(because of the confusing signage, of course) that there is always, always another car right on your bumper? I find this grossly unfair,and it also gets on my very last nerve.
I know you all share my disgruntlement.
Tell me you share it.

So just a shout out to all the Parking Garage Engineers out there: Let's get it together, OK?


3) The Extra Toasty Cheez-its? A real joy and a blessing, that's what they are. Please hop in your hot car right now and go get some.

4) Collateral Damage. I have this incredible new office and right now it looks infinitely boring and sterile, so today I came home and decided I would choose one of the beautiful plants off my patio to take there to make it look more homey and pretty and you know, plant-y. And what do I discover but that a rabbit has eaten every single solitary one of the lower leaves off of most of my plants, and that the others, which are obviously not to the rabbit's liking, are infested with fire ants.  I put a fair amount of thought into all the bad and horrible things that I could (and rightly should) do to that rabbit and those ants because they had clearly ruined my life and my day (not to mention my greenery) and WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE ANYWAY? Until I realized that perhaps I was a little over-invested emotionally in the thought of the plant and the office and the perfection it would all be. You do that too, don't you?

Maybe it was the heat.

So, fine. Boring and sterile office? Check.




I hope all of you are having a glorious week. Do me a favor and make someone smile tomorrow, will you?


Much love,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Your Hot People Will Be Fans









Just going to the cleaners (and OK, Steinmart and maybe a few other places) in my car today just about killed me dead.

So. I'd like to say that it's too hot to eat.

But two things: 1) Most of you know me and 2) Who's kidding who?

I have never experienced a time when it was completely too hot to eat.

Oy.


Last night I had some lovely ladies here for Bible Study and we had the best time. Food, of course, is an integral part of any gathering because, well, EATING. And frankly we all know that verse that says "God loves a cheerful and well-fed Bible Study-er." I forget the reference.

I served a light dinner and these cool parfaits for dessert. My selections were based on two very significant culinary hypotheses: First, what can a person cook without turning on the oven (and ergo heating up the kitchen and the cook unnecessarily)? And secondly, what can one make from all the willy-nilly ingredients in one's pantry?

I'm clearly a scientist at heart.


Here's how it all went down.

1) I happen to have an unhealthy and almost scary supply of cream cheese in my fridge right now. This harkens to the fact that I made approximately a million cheesecakes in June and there's nothing worse than running out of the main ingredient, so it seems that I over-bought.

I whipped (to medium-stiff peaks) about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and about 4 T. powdered sugar. To that I folded in one pkg. of room temperature (a must!) cream cheese, a T of lemon juice, and about 2 tsp. of lemon zest. I put this all in a freezer bag and snipped a little hole in one corner to pipe into the glasses.

2) In the Vita-mix (still the best purchase ever) I pulverized about 20-30 ( don't listen to me -I have no idea, I didn't count) of those awesome crisp ginger cookies that World Market sells around Christmas. I had a brand new unopened tin. I know. I'm an over-buyer.

3. I piped a little of the cream cheese mixture in each glass, and then added some of the cookie crumbs, then a layer of sliced strawberries. I followed that with more of the cream cheese mixture, crumbs and fresh blueberries. The final layer was cream cheese mixture, crumbs and raspberries.

4) I topped the whole thing with some lemon zest and a fancy little piece of mint right off my back patio.

They were a refreshing hit.
And while I have to admit that there's the cream cheese and the whipped cream which some uninformed people might not consider light fare, there's also fruit.

Fresh Fruit.

So it's practically a diet food.


I should say that we typically don't have fancy desserts in pretty glasses with long stems. And by typically I mean never.
But the glasses were the right size and blessedly clear to allow the pretty ingredients to show through.

I have one left that I'm saving for JT. But he probably needs to get here in the next hour or so.

Fair warning.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm LeSueur Peas. What Are You?


So here's one thing I've learned about writing a post after a 2 year break:

It's not easy.

There are topics and thoughts and even some sentences with punctuation thrown in here and there, but the problem, it seems, is making it all come together in some kind of logical ( look, one can hope) or even legible manner.


Do I tell you about something I cooked lately? No, probably not. Central Texas is about as hot as the surface of the sun right now and turning on the oven is simply a practice in self-torture. God Bless good air conditioners everywhere. The recipes and cooking tutorials and step-by-step photos will just have to wait a while.
I'm looking at you, October.

How about our recent trip to Santa Fe/Albuquerque for my oldest son's wedding? Am I ready to re-live transporting an entire rehearsal dinner for 50 across state lines in a cooler large enough to hold 3 human bodies?
And I'm not sure I have my timeline down yet: Did we lose the keys to  the truck in Santa Fe or in Albuquerque? Did we stay in an awesome hotel that was once a hospital, or maybe I was in a really fancy hotel-like hospital from the stress of the key incident. Were there chickens and goats and gallons of water flooding the area where the reception was held?  Was that my youngest son doing the most awesome Bernie Lean imaginable? Wait. Was that a horse under the tent the next morning? No, sorry. This story's not quite ready yet.

Do I talk about my new job, or would that put the voodoo on it? Should I wait until after I actually start or never mention it at all? Will my new co-workers be disturbed that I write in such a disjointed/dysfunctional way since communication is a huge part of my job?

Maybe I should write about my thoughts on those ridiculous (sorry) quizzes on Facebook. You know the ones:
What kind of Canned Vegetable Are You?
Really? What about that quiz makes the average person want to take it? I need to know this. Do people honestly wonder if they are plain green beans or  worse yet, (slimy) asparagus? If someone proudly (excuse me?) posts that they are creamed corn are their friends eager to one-up them by being LeSueur Peas? I simply do not understand. To be fair, I suppose I should research the psychology of it all first. Maybe it's just me.

There's always the new Bible Study that I'm starting with my awesome neighbors. Hey girls! Can't wait.

And Roxy Roca !! I could write about our third (or was it fourth?) concert.

Or how good I've gotten at mowing with the zero-turn...


See. I have plenty of riveting material. It's just the pesky organization of thought that I'm struggling with.

(I apologize if your expectations have just died a thousand fiery deaths.)

I promise I'll work on it.



And if absolutely nothing else, I'm terribly happy you're here.

See you  soon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hello Again

Once Upon a Time there was a little blog right here.

Some of you may remember.

It's been a little over two years, and I've decided, no diggity, that's long enough. In the last 24 months I'm sure I've felt just about every emotion possible. I've slogged from the valley to the mountain with frequent  breaks for the occasional pity party and snacks (I admit, there were lots of snacks) along the path.

But you know what I've found at every stop? God's grace. His unending, unchanging, miraculous grace. The inexplicable grace that reminds me that through it all I never lost my joy. Not once. And the most important thing about joy?

It's to be shared.

So, without really knowing where all this will lead, or having a clue what I'll write, or cook or photograph, I do know I'm supposed to share. Of that I'm positive. Evidently all the details are just supposed to work themselves out. Good luck details, you're on your own!

This is all to say that next week will be the official re-start of Mudpuddle. (And by official I mean absolutely nothing.)
Thanks so much to all of you who've never, ever stopped encouraging me and nudging me along in this direction. I'll never forget your words of friendship, love, and support.

Hope to see you next week.