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Dreams and other things

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I have heard that folks aren’t all that interested in hearing about other people’s dreams, but last night I had a weird one and I am posting it here as much for myself as for public consumption.

I usually don’t recall my dreams as a whole piece. I will remember bits and pieces–the sensation of flying, the fact that I’m being followed by a vampire and WHY AM I NOT SCARED?? But this was fairly intact from beginning to end, so, here goes.

I’m on a plane. Literally. The jet is at cruising altitude, above the clouds, and I am outside, wrapped in a blanket, tethered in place, and hanging on. I think I’m nestled where the wing and body meet, but I’m not sure. I just see the endless blue overhead, the clouds beneath. I don’t feel the wind in my face, or the cold or vibration. I don’t see any windows, and have no clue whether anyone can see me or not. Someone has to be flying the jet, but I can’t see them. I’m alone.

Except for King. My dog, that passed away over two years ago. He’s lying on a dog bed, either atop the plane or gliding beside it. He seems pretty laid back, considering that he’s 35K feet above the ground with nothing holding him in place. Given that he was never the calmest dog in the world, it’s worth noting.

Time passes. Then for some reason I can’t recall, I untie the rope that’s holding me in place. I’m still wrapped in the blanket, but damn, I’m gripping whatever I can grip and holding on tight. Then I hear barking, and I look to my left and see that King has lost contact with the jet. He’s not falling, but drifting farther and farther away on his bed. He’s barking–I’m not sure if he’s afraid, or trying to get my attention, or what. I don’t know if I can find him, because I don’t know where the jet is going or when we’re going to land. I’m not panicked, though. Something in the back of my head tells me that I will be able to find him.

And that how it ends. I’ve lost my dog and my rope, but I’m still hanging on. I’m sure this somehow relates to things going on in my life right now. I’m contemplating changes and anticipating others, all of which will lead to some degree of upset. Funny, the way the brain deals with things like that.


In other news, I found I had a few overripe bananas in the fruit bowl. That could mean only one thing. BANANA BREAD. I fell back on my basic recipe, which is like the easiest thing ever. But along with being basic, it’s also incredibly forgiving and flexible, which gives me a chance to play.

This time, I was going to add chocolate chips and stop there. But then I remembered Aarón Sánchez’s Mexican Brownie recipe, which I had made before and liked. The main addition there is a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, which adds just a touch of heat to the brownies. I decided what the heck, and gave it a try.

I didn’t stop there. In addition to the cayenne, I added about a 1/3 teaspoon ancho chili powder for smokiness. A teaspoon cinnamon because that works with just about everything. A teaspoon of espresso powder to boost the chocolate. About 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips.

As usual, I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. This time, I used 1 cup whole wheat + 1/2 cup white whole wheat, both King Arthur brand. I added an extra half-teaspoon baking soda to give the heavier dough a boost. And as always, more salt than was called for, about 1/3 teaspoon instead of a pinch. I’ve found that savory recipes often call for too much salt and sweet recipes for too little. You can cut back on sugar sometimes if you lean on the salt to boost flavors. Plus, you wind up with more varied flavors than simple sweetness. Plain ol’ sugar sweetness is boring at best and sickening at worst.

Anyway, I just had a piece, and it worked. A lighter crumb than you’d expect from a whole wheat quick bread. The heat is subtle–it takes a few bites to build, then hangs around until the end. The espresso boosts the chocolate, and overall there’s a nice, deep, full flavor. As usual, the banana flavor is pretty much buried, but I make this recipe so often that I need to mix it up every once in a while. Besides, I eat a banana most every morning with breakfast. I know what they taste like.

animal planet around the house gaby


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They’re everywhere, which is a good thing. Some have the yellow-and-black striped body I’m familiar with, but others are shiny black. Did a quick search and found a page describing all the different markings. Never realized there were so many.

The ones I’ve seen look solid black, which means they could be one of the Cuckoo varieties. But to be honest, they were all moving at the time of observation and I was reluctant to get too close because, well, BEE! They could also be part of Color Group 1. I’m just glad to see them buzzing around all the apple blossoms, the hanging basket petunias, the tiny holly flowers.

It is warm. Cool breeze, but the sun is making its presence felt. Last week, I wore a heavy sweatshirt when I took Gaby for her walk, and had to keep wiping my eyes because the chill breeze made them tear. Today, I wore a light t-shirt under a light jacket, and was glad I did because halfway through I took off said jacket and tied it around my waist. Even Gaby ran out of gas, which is a first. We made it as far as the lake. Saw a few boats, a yacht and a couple of smaller cabin cruisers. A speed boat. There was a haze over the water. Not much wave.

Out on the deck now, under the brollie, with iced lemon water close at hand. The hardwoods are finally starting to leaf out. The honey locust. After a short nap and some water, Gaby is alternating dashing about the yard and lying beside my chair and resting up in preparation for more dashing. A dog of her weight and approximate age–almost 6 1/2 we think–she is supposed to be around 42 in human years, but I don’t see it.

It’s the first summer without King. He hated buzzing–flies, bees–and would either try to snap the offending insect out of the air or tuck tail and seek shelter in the deck Dogloo. Once all was clear, he would lie by the gate and watch the street. The guardian.

gaby life with dogs

Different dogs

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T-storms last night and this morning. Rumbles. King would have been pacing, pawing me, trying to climb onto the bed. He hated thunder. Over the last few years, he even grew restless as the pressure changed.

Gaby…sleeps. Unless it rumbles hard enough to rattle the house, she pretty much ignores storms.

It’s strange, getting used to not having to do certain things because King is no longer around. No more emptying tissues and paper towel out of the open-top trash cans so he wouldn’t eat them. No more lowering the toilet lid to keep him from drinking. Last week, I put the pale green and white bedspread on the bed–King would always brush against the edges of bedspreads when he followed me around the room, and his hair really showed up on anything light-colored.

Yeah, I know. Trying to keep dog hair off the bed–what was I thinking?

I can even contemplate switching out the lava rock in the backyard for wood mulch. King used to love to chew on anything wood, and whenever he had a stomach upset he would eat anything to try to quell the burning, including mulch. Gaby’s not a wood eater.

Bladder capacity, however, is another matter. I have to make sure to set out the pads before I leave for any period of time because little Miss Teaspoon-and-a-Half sometimes can’t hold it for more than a couple of hours….

life with dogs

Just another day

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It’s been almost a week since King passed. Time goes so quickly.

I was picking through photographs, and found my favorite picture of him. Dad was still alive, which means it was taken in Fall 2001 or 2002, which in turn means that King was either 8 months or a year and a half old. He was bounding around the backyard as Dad and I raked leaves. I was toting the camera in hopes of getting a good photo, and took a short break just as King decided to check out the pile I had just raked. He sniffed the leaves, then plopped down in the middle of them and stayed there as they filled in around him.

Puppy in the leaves

Gaby seems fine–she’s eating, playful. Earlier in the week, she would hesitate and look around when I offered her a treat. It seemed to me that maybe she was wondering where King was. She doesn’t appear to be moping or quiet. I took her for a walk this morning, and she was so excited–nose to the ground the entire time…except when she spotted the deer. She really wanted to give chase.

Taking her to the boarding kennel for her temperament check tomorrow. She will be there for a good chunk of the day, which means I will be Solo Kris for the first time in months. I have plenty to do–errands, grocery shopping. The usual chores. But it’s going to feel weird.

I hope things go well. I would really like her to have the chance to play with other dogs every so often.

life with dogs

The day after

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Thanks to all of you for the kind words and good wishes.

Memories. King used to follow me all over the house. He would lie in the hallway so he could watch me make the bed or fold laundry, or lie in the dining room and watch me work in the kitchen. He’d lie flat with his head on the floor, and just Stare. Sometimes, I swear he snored. I think he was able to doze with his eyes open.

He used to dance around his toys and bark at them. A 115-pound dog doing a hop dance is quite a sight.

After he buried something in muddy ground, he would walk around with a big wodge of mud on the end of his nose.

Sometimes in the morning, I would wake up to find him standing in the bedroom doorway with his food bowl in his mouth. If that didn’t get me out of bed, he’d grab one of my slipper clogs and run off, in hopes that I would get out of bed and give chase and maybe even, hey, feed him.

Gaby seems okay, as far as I can tell. She spent a lot of time outside patrolling the yard, barking at the meter reader. She often refuses to eat if she isn’t comfortable or if things are off, but today she ate a small breakfast and a little bigger lunch. Saturday morning, I’m taking her to her usual boarding kennel for a temperament test. If she passes–and I will be really surprised if she doesn’t–I will be able to enroll her in daycare play dates with other dogs. I would like to do this a couple of times a week. I think it will be good for her. I know she must wonder where King is, and she’s a very social little girl in any case. She needs that stimulation, I think, so she doesn’t get bored or depressed.