Need your help, por favor.

When tasting potato varietals in school today, I stupidly said that they shouldn’t throw away the trays and trays of perfectly roasted and seasoned potatoes (fingerling, blue, red, white, russet, yukon gold, etc) that were leftover after our tasting. I said that if they were going to toss them out, I would take them home and find some use for them, and then would bring the result back to class to snack on for Halloween breakfast tomorrow.

Now I am at home with two gallon-sized ziplocks of potatoes, and no idea what to do with them for tomorrow that will make an appropriate (yet absolutely easy) breakfast.

So I’d love to hear your ideas. Extra credit if you can find a way for me to feed them to 15 students tomorrow morning. Extra, extra credit if you can figure out a way to do this without me having to buy other ingredients (think pantry staples).

I so heart you guys.

Dorie and many parts

We had a class field trip today. First we went to a fish market, which smelled like a whore’s panties and was covered in slush and blood, but apparently was really high-end, as evidenced by the stores they supplied and also the very satisfied look of the kitten who scurried across the floor with a fishtail in her mouth. Not making that up, either. People were appalled by this, like it was unsanitary and evil to have kitten in the same area they were tossing fish around. I say two things: 1) what possible location or activity is better WITHOUT a kitten. Except maybe a surgery room, and even then it’s only bad for the patient, and 2) Bitch, please. I bet every fish mongery in the whole of Japan, as well as the Pike Place market, have stray cats loitering wishfully in the wings. This just was indoors, and the kitten had a collar.

Then we went to a hydroponic farm, which had less to do with marijuana than I could have even predicted. It was really, really beautiful though. There was an entire greenhouse with plots and plots of different kinds of basil; thai basil, lemon-lime basil, sweet basil, pepperbush basil (not a euphemism), etc. The fragrance in that greenhouse was unreal. I wanted to strip off my clothes and roll naked through the plots like a dog in a dustheap, but about half of the rest of the class just looked kind of tired and apathetic. Even in the microgreens greenhouse! How can that be? How can you just not care about teeny-weeny chervil and itty-bitty cilantro? Every miniature morsel was like holding the fresh-picked, intense flavor of live herbs underneath a palate-microscope. Mere molecules of dill made me feel like I had gargled with fresh pickling solution. Amazing. I clapped my hands in delight and fondled their produce in a manner that was probably bordering on creepy, but whatev. They gave me a free basil plant that is still attached to its foamy thing by roots, so it just has to sit in water and it stays alive. Cool. The only thing that was slightly worrying were the big containers clearly marked “battery acid” attached to tubes that were going toward the plants. Apparently very small amounts of the stuff changes the alkalinity of the water favorably. I don’t know, though…

Tuesdays with Dorie was a flop to end all flops this week. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been sick, or what. I’ve got this slow-moving illness that started as a headache that only came on when I bent down or moved suddenly. I was told that could be sinus pressure (despite having no congestion). Then I started to have a sore throat, but the headaches went away. Then the sore throat went away, and I’ve spent last night and all of today with a fever, chills, nausea, and reflux that makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack. But as one thing comes on, the other retreats, and none of them have really taken me out. So I’ve been trudging through my day to day, hoping it’ll either get worse or get better, and only seeing it morph to different things. Chris says it’s a parainfluenza. I am not so good with the Latin, but I think that means “sort of like the flu.” I actually long for the good old days, a week ago, when I was only dealing with various tendons expressing a desire to rupture should I continue any exercise more strenuous than unwrapping a Pop-Tart, but was otherwise feeling sprightly and alert.

But I did them. The chocolate-chocolate cupcakes from Dorie Greenspan. And since I suck at baking when I’m sick (something about sensory dulling, I’m sure), they turned out terribly. The top of the cupcake was a whole separate entity from the cakey bit below. Like I had just severed the “muffin-top” off of each cupcake.

I had to make brussels sprouts to practice for class. I have always hated them, and Chris has always hated them, despite neither of us ever remembering eating them. I got fresh ones, hoping they wouldn’t be as gross. I got this--to try and soften the blow for us. I served them with beef tips and baby portobella mushrooms in a Cabernet-shallot reduction.
The beef over egg noodles was grrrrreat. The sausage? Also superb. The brussels sprouts were better than I thought they would be. Chris actually said they were something he’d eat again. So I guess that’s an unqualified victory. Only one more segment til I can go pass out in my bed!
Finally, I still had to make dinner tonight for the catering thing, so I went with butterflied chicken breast stuffed with diced gala apples, candied maple pecans, and rolled in the pecan crumbs.
I made a sauce with the gala apple butter I made and canned a while back, maple syrup, browned butter, heavy cream, salt, and rubbed sage. I so would have eaten this with a spoon if I weren’t in perpetual danger of barfing. I did a bacon-wrapped green bean (the bean was minimally cooked, so it was still ultra fresh. I used bacon that was certified humane, and that made me feel smug and kind of like I wanted to cuddle a piglet. Cranberry relish was formed of fresh cranberries, blood orange zest and blood orange supreme, water, sugar, and a vanilla bean pod that was left to simmer until the cranberries popped and released all of their glorious pectin. And then a miniature loaf of honey wheat bread, because it makes me happy. Chris took a bite of the cranberries while I was talking about something at school, and then interrupted me to yell “Arrrggghhhhhh!!!! I don’t like THAT at all!” Turns out he has always and will always HATE cranberries that aren’t in the form of the jelly that slides out in the can shape on Thanksgiving in poor households across America. I didn’t know this. He didn’t know he was eating cranberries. Not sure what he thought they were. I asked him why he doesn’t like them, and he said “because they’re all tart and horrible, and then you bite into the cranberries, and they don’t taste good, and then every once in a while you bite into a stick. They have sticks in them.” I said “mine don’t have sticks in them!” and he responded, “my parents’ did.” That was the end of the conversation. But I personally thought they were tasty, and they were the only part of the dinner besides the bread that I could eat without getting all Elizabeth Hurl-y at the table. You know, with my delicate state and all.

Now I’ve had some Benadryl for dessert and am going to go attempt to slip into a coma so I can be slightly more functional tomorrow. I have to have my wits about me to record what
some in our class feel compelled to share on the subject of mushrooms and tubers.

Domo Arigato, Sushi Robato

First off, I hate my dishwasher. Do any of you have a dishwasher that is worth a shit? I never, ever have had a dishwasher that cleans the way it should, and am currently saddled with a gem so ineffective that (and I’m not making this up) if I insert a set of CLEAN dishes and run it, they end up dirty. The dishwasher actually invents dirt, and then distributes it to my dishes, leaving crust and grime on the inside of all of my glasses. And then I have to hand wash them to get them as clean as they were in the first place. I have had a repairman sent by the property management company look at it, and he pretty much shrugged and sent me a bill. And the thing is BRAND NEW. Thanks for that, Mr. Repairman. I’ll assume that you have spent your time being BFF with John McCain and not reading up on how appliances work.

And how come when I told him how I can put tea leaves into the garbage disposal, and then the next load I run in the dishwasher will deposit tea leaves into my glasses, he acted like this was a totally normal thing, and not an abomination?? Okay, rant over. The bottom line is that Chris and I have had enough of hearing one of us unloading the dishwasher calmly, singing cheerful and traditional songs that have had the lyrics altered to dirty words, only to hear that peaceful sound interrupted by the clatter of a pan hitting the counter and the person doing the unloading screaming “MOTHER OF ASS!!!!!!!” So we’re buying a new dishwasher. And while the Miele is a real panty-dropper, it’s also a bazillionty dollars, and we’re trying to limit our income choices to things that don’t require anal violation.

On a brighter note, Chris and I made sushi and summer rolls, and they were right purty. These are pictures that had been taken with the camera that Chris smuggled out of the allergy clinic for one weekend of joyous, high-resolution picture taking. Thus the superior quality of the recent pics, in contrast to my tradition of mediocrity. An aside: if any of you have a recommendation on a good, professional-quality digital camera, that’s also a thing we’re eyeballing pretty heavily.

Ah, she’s a beaut.

I grew up hating fish because my mom hates fish. I still hate fish with a passion. Shellfish, ocean fish, fish caught from the icy, fresh streams of the Rocky Mountains–I hate it all. But in a bid to impress Chris when we were first dating, I agreed to try a piece of tuna roll. I was hoping that I would look cosmopolitan and adventurous, and also not like a girl who was eating Skittles out of her pocket every time he got up to go to the bathroom or looked intently at his menu. I tentatively forked a piece of rice, and it was good. I then speared a molecule of the raw tuna. It was fresh, clean, sweet and tasted almost like a fresh melon. I was intrigued. But seaweed? No Effing Thank You. Ugh. Nigiri was the solution, and it is still a huge treat for me. Pretty much anything that I have to pay $22/lb for when it’s ON SALE is a treat for me. Chris is the official nigiri assembler.

I love this picture. It’s one of a few that pushed us over the edge into serious camera lust. Those grains of sticky rice just seem to jump out at you, yelling “get me out from underneath this girl! She’s like a dead fish!”

Summer roll mise en place. This happens infrequently. I’ve been told it’ll be beaten into me in school, so I’m trying.

These are summer rolls with cucumber, mirin-marinated tofu (sorry, Mike), carrot, scallion, and bean threads. We dipped them in some Thai sweet chili sauce. I care deeply for Thai sweet chili sauce. It goes back to the first time I had it. I was at an upscale bistro in Fort Collins, CO that had deep-fried artichoke hearts on the menu. I felt pretty strongly that I would be eating those artichokes. I then saw that the dippin’ sauce was “aioli.” I know what that means; it means mayonnaise. I won’t be fooled! So I requested another choice, and the chef proffered the sweet chili sauce. Shebang. It really cupped the balls, so to speak.

And finally, my sexy dog in high-res:

Pre-Holyween Party

As previously mentioned, I had a delightful office party for Chris’s work to attend last night. Chris wastes his anti-work points openly hating the military, so he has to participate in other areas, lest they start holding it against him. It was fine. There were a lot of kids. A lot. Of kids. Seriously. And I don’t mind children, I just generally prefer them to have less visible stickiness than this crew did. So I did my best to alleviate the candy smears on their cheeks and in their hair by providing an appetizer of my very own:

Yeah. A hundred Halloween cookies, each frosted by hand, some cats, some ghosts, some pumpkins, and some bats, which would have been a lot cooler had somebody thought to dress their child as Ozzy Osbourne. I made a bunch of them on sticks and stuck them into a pumpkin that Chris had done a shallow carve on to make it less likely to get messy. AND he frosted the ghosts. This was a risky maneuver because last time we made Halloween cookies together, he put together some really fantastic decorative schemes, like cats that had the word “Meow” written on them in blue frosting and no other frosting whatsoever. I wish I had pictures of these cookies to show you just how bad they were. And he was DELIGHTED by it. Every ghost that came out of the oven got the “whoooooooo” sound effect and a smiley face put on it, and so on. But he actually did a great job with these, under pain of disfigurement. It took us a long-ass time, so it was nice that our training schedule had us on a “building” weekend of only an 8-mile slow run yesterday. I felt like a friggin’ PTA mom.

Now the fun part; our costumes ROCK this year. I wish we had a Halloween party to go to every day this week, that’s how much I love it. Behold!

Good, no? And I can’t even PRETEND to be modest about this–I ROCK at Kart. Chris has never won a tournament against me. Here is an actual photo of the screen last time we played, that I had saved for posterity to mail to his best friend (who is also a pretty big gamer):

I just can’t wait til we have a sticky child of our own, and we can dress him or her as a 1-UP mushroom and go as a whole Mario family. It’ll give me some incentive post-pregnancy to be able to fit into this dress again…

Eat your greens

Finished with my first week of culinary school, and have learned so much. Like that I don’t ever want to eat turnip greens…ever. We had a tasting this afternoon in product knowledge that involved the tasting, smelling, touching, fondling, and goosing various lettuces, salad greens, and cooking greens. Here is a direct transcript of my notes:

Iceberg Lettuce-Tastes like a Wendy’s salad bar. Lettuce for poor people. Stands up well to bleu cheese dressing, which is gross.
Romaine Lettuce-Slightly bitter. Needs Caesar dressing. Must make Caesar dressing this weekend.
Green leaf lettuce-Spongy and delightful feeling. Is earthy because it still has earth in it, as judged by the sand I’m chewing.
Red leaf lettuce-this is just a different race of green leaf lettuce. Bitter aftertaste. Sweet vein.
Arugula-Tastes like nuts. Deez nutz. Looks like an oak leaf sort of. Goes well with assertive dressings. Do not mix with mild lettuces.
Mache-UGH! Tastes like hairspray. And soap. And lawnmower clippings. Floral nose…as in Glade Floral Bathroom Spray.
Spinach-Sauteed very quickly, familiar and tasty. Hearty. Would still rather eat raw in a salad.
Mustard greens-Smells like when you lift the lid off of a shitty lean cuisine and all the ass-steam escapes. Gross.
Swiss Chard-Meh.
Turnip greens- EW!! Tastes like old people smell. Repulsive. Feels like a leather S&M; mask
Collard greens- I am so not southern enough for this. Less offensive than turnip greens, but so is genocide.

Then he asked us to share from our list of experiences. Ummm…..shoot.

Fortunately, he didn’t ask me to share my thoughts on the cooked greens after I told him my feelings about mache.

Allez Cuisine!!

This is some crazy shit. I’m aware of that. For my Iron Cupcake challenge this month I had to invent a cupcake that involved cheese, and I elected to go back to my ‘wege roots and use a Gjetost cheese. It’s a brown, semi-sweet cheese that children put on bread, or is served on a dessert fruit tray. It’s a little bit caramel flavored, but still sort of processed-cheese flavored. I’ll be honest…I didn’t like it raw. But baked into cupcakes? Amazing. The apple sets off the caramel flavors perfectly, and the creamy texture just melts into the surrounding cupcake fluff.

Apple-Gjetost Cupcakes with Maple Glaze

• 2 C all-purpose, unbleached flour
• ¼ C cake flour
• 2 t baking powder
• 1 T cinnamon
• ¼ t freshly grated nutmeg (use microplane)
• 1 t salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 C sugar
• 2 eggs
• 4 cups grated apples (Honeycrisp)
• 6 oz Gjetost (Ski Queen) cheese, cubed very small
• 1 C confectioners sugar
• 1 t maple syrup
• 1 t heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two muffin tins (24 total muffins). Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, waiting until they’re incorporated before adding the next one. Sift together dry ingredients. Add grated apple to butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Fold in cheese cubes. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full. Bake at 350 F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mix together confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream to make a glaze. Add more cream or more confectioners sugar to achieve a drizzlable consistency. When muffins are cooled completely, drizzle glaze over the top.

A side note now that I’ve lost all but the most dedicated readers: These cupcakes tasted like dick. Seriously. Godawful. This was the conversation after biting into them:

Me: How are they?
Chris: Ummmmm
Me: Are they bad?
Chris: Not so much bad as…taking away my saliva and my will to swallow.
Me: *takes a bite*
Chris: What do you think?
Me: Not so much taking my will to swallow as TAKING MY WILL TO LIVE.

Then we threw them away. Norwegians SUCK at providing good food ancestry for me to recreate. I shall have nightmares about that flavor.

I think Gjetost might be sweet Velveeta. Only browner. And more Scadinavian. And lower plastic content.

And my photography is terrible, but I think I’d be better at the actual recipe creation if they gave us a workable secret ingredient. Why no pear cupcakes? WHY??

Learning is…good

Day three of classes, and it’s still a good time. Today’s school lunch was pork chop with mustard cornichon sauce, egg noodles, the most amazing green beans I’ve ever had (due to perfect crispness and seasoning), and a salad with cranberries and candied pecans. So good! I think my instructor might be Eddie Izzard. Did I tell you that? Only German.

We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about things that will never matter to me. The business aspects of culinary ed, like food-costing, product specification sheets, standard recipes…I don’t really care about those things. But I respect that they’re a part of what I’ll be taught. It’s nice to be able to check out mentally for 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

I have been feeling progressively more crappy over the last week or two. I’ve got the tennis elbow from kickboxing, the pulled MCL from running, and lately my head gets throbbing horrible pains when I move it suddenly. Then this morning when I was doing my pre-class run, I lost vision. Like, all of it. I thought it was probably just a pending stroke, and ignored it. Much like I’ve ignored my other exercise-related ailments (I’m a big fan of “walk it off”). Turns out it’s hypovolemia (reduced blood volume, essentially) from a cold that I’ve been getting. And sinus congestion. This also explains the sore throat and why I’ve been conking out at 9 pm and waking up in a cold sweat. But hey! I’m a trooper! So I’ve sucked it up. Well, today it will no longer be ignored. I have crossed over from fighting off a cold to the actual HAVING of a cold.

So I’m making Thai chicken soup with cilantro, coconut milk, panang paste, and lots of chiles. It’ll clear me up in no time. And I boiled a whole chicken with a couple inches of ginger and a whole clove of garlic so I could shred the meat and use the broth in the soup. I think it’s going to be super. I hope it makes me feel better.

I also made some little salami and cheese quiches in phyllo dough for Chris’s rounds tomorrow.

*this post has been edited to eliminate certain “offensive material” so please forgive the nonsensical gap.

2 hours laterThe soup was great. –Doesn’t the cilantro look like the Loch Ness Monster’s tail coming out of a lake? I’m delirious. I put in a bunch of veggies and some bean threads to make it more filling for those of us who aren’t dying of the plague (Chris). It gave me a fierce runny nose, which was fine, I guess. I’m also eating zinc lozenges, which are tasty but make me feel like I’m going to hurl. And I don’t know that I believe in homeopathy. We’ll see.

Back to school

Culinary school is AWESOME. There are some parts that suck, but for the most part it is the best thing I’ve ever done. I had a lot of doubts, but now that I’m there, I know for certain that it’s exactly where I am meant to be. The same cannot be said for all of my classmates, mind you, but it’s definitely good for me.

Things that I love:
-I know more than I thought I did. Discussion of food science, product knowledge, gastronomy, all seem to be areas where I have a whole lot more background information than about half of the other people in my class. And I thought I’d be underprepared having completely never worked in a professional kitchen, and having had Chris write my application letter…
-My instructor is a 6’8, flamboyant, deliriously happy, extremely German dude with an heavy German accent and a lisp. I love him. He seems to like me too, since I participate (read: talk as much as I can and answer every question I can–I’m completely insufferable).
-My first class assignment is to do a research project on Ferran Adria. This is spectacular. Other people got assigned such characters as Julia Child and James Beard. I got the guy that allowed me to immediately go to the internet and buy a bunch of chemicals and molecular gastronomy equipment to do my “research.” Score. I’ll let you know how that pans out. My package should arrive this weekend. My partner for the project (thank God) is one of the few people in the class who seems like the type to understand why I am insisting on a chemical experiment rather than a Powerpoint presentation.
-There was another girl on the first day who did the “poof” with her bangs that is basically my trademark hair. Like this: We made eye contact. There was an unspoken challenge that one of us would have to give it up. On the first day, we both wore it. Mine was way better. Today, I did it again and she did not. So I won. Take that, lil’ missy.
-My school is 5 miles equidistant between Whole Foods and Central Market. I can go grocery shopping at my favorite stores EVERY DAY now.

Anyway, by FAR the best thing about culinary school so far has been the food. Both days we’ve had excellent meals. I’m trying to be very careful about how much I eat, since I can’t control the calories they put in via butter, oil, cheese, etc. But still, it’s great food. The best I’ve had in San Antonio so far (outside of our house, of course).

Day 1:
Green salad
Farfalle with a white wine reduction and red pepper flakes
Grilled asparagus (perfectly al dente)

Day 2:
Chicken stuffed with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and fontina
Grilled squash
Roasted potatoes
Garlicky bread
Tossed salad with mozzarella and red onions

These are some shots of day 2. OMG.

I’ll keep you posted, but so far, so good.

Round and Round We Go

Tuesdays with Dorie this week was a very familiar recipe. It was, in fact, almost the exact same recipe that I blogged about when I got drunk and made pumpkin-cranberry bread for my neighbor when he got robbed. This was without knowledge that I’d be making that same type of product for my challenge. Oh well, it was damned good the first time, and with the Dorie modifications (and one or two of my own) it was damned good the second time.

So here it is: Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins (baked in a scone pan) with miniscule crystallized ginger pieces throughout. Chris thinks raisins are from Satan, so I went with the Craisins again. Still delicious.

I baked them in my scone pan because I like having prettily shaped treats. And also because I couldn’t find my muffin liners and my muffin tin looks sort of rusty, leading me to believe that I’d probably give the docs tetanus, and that would interfere with their rockin’ mormon-style, alcohol-free, child-intensive Halloween party that I’ll be attending next weekend. Who is SO lucky?? Who is going to be maligned for having such a trampy costume?? Who will be packing an ankle flask that will be clearly visible due to the trampy nature of her costume?? The answer to all three questions–THIS GIRL.

I served them up with a whipped cream that had vanilla bean paste and a shitload of maple syrup whipped in with it. Can I tell you this? The maple-vanilla whipped cream should have been a spoon large enough to rival one of those Chinese soup spoons, directly out of a serving bowl. It was unreal.
So…without further ado. TA-DA!

Well, hell

Chris and I managed to pull off the entire 18 mile run today, even though there was a portion of it where we actually felt like we might die. We are both hobbling around like gimps, although less so now that we went to our gym to sit in the hot tub for a while. I was running my hamstring along the jet and moaning, which probably gave the other gym patrons something to gossip about.

We were sitting at home watching House Hunters International and speculating on the mail-order-bride status of the hot, Asian wife of a short, ugly Bostonian dude. We each had ice packs wrapped around our naked knees, even though it is exponentially more uncomfortable to have the ice on bare skin. Numbness is sometimes preferable to feeling, it turns out. Anyway, Chris rolled over and said “What’s he eating?” in reference to Willie. This is a question that gets asked regularly, and the answer is usually “my underwear.” This time, though, Willie had procured one of those containers of Ice Breakers Ice Cubes gum that is really big and meant to be kept in the drink holder of your car. You know the ones. They have 40 pieces of gum in them. He had eaten 21 of the pieces. Like, EATEN. Swallowed. Gone. All while he lay next to us on the floor inconspicuously chewing.

I double checked to make sure he wouldn’t get an intestinal blockage, and it turns out that many sugar-free gums, including Ice Breakers, contain a sweetener called “xylitol” that is EXTREMELY poisonous to dogs. It causes liver failure and kidney failure, and eventually death. GREAT!! So Chris and I rushed to action to try and find our bottle of hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up while he chased us around joyfully in hopes that we might be feeling energetic enough to play “Tackle,” which is a game where we aren’t paying attention and he takes us out by running full-speed into our kneecaps. It’s super-fun. For him.

The bottle of peroxide was nowhere to be found, so Chris rushed out to Walgreens to buy some while I kept looking. I located it in a kitchen cupboard (no idea why it was there) and then put 10cc down his throat and bounced him around a little bit. By the time Chris got home, there were about 10 piles of yellow and white puke all around the kitchen, each one studded with pretty pink chunks of gum. Willie was helping by stepping in the piles of puke while he was walking to and from clean pieces of floor on which he could commence puking. So far, so good.

But the xylitol can be absorbed pretty quickly, and the reason it’s bad is that it causes a sudden surge of insulin to be released in the dog, which puts the dog into hypoglycemic shock, at which point they go into seizures, coma, and ataxia (lack of motor skills). And then they die. So we were panicking, and because of the fact that Chris is medical, and I spent years and years as a vet tech in our local humane society by my university, we went a few steps further. I started making a list of what I needed to fix this, namely glucose syrup, iv catheter, lactated ringers solution, potassium injection, etc. Chris went upstairs and got a blood glucose meter he had once generously brought home for me to play with, until I got through the three lancets it came with and realized I’m still afraid of needles. Thank God I’m not a diabetic. With my sugar habit and fear of needles, I’d be found dead with a smile on my face and raspberry buttercream all over my shirt and face.

We trimmed a back toenail slightly shorter than it needed to be to get a drop of blood out. Willie was very well behaved, although he’ll probably never let me trim his nails again. Ever. So that’ll be an adventure for both of us. The blood tested at the low end of normal, so we just have to keep it stable.

What this means for Willie is that in the last 15 minutes he’s gotten to eat a loaf of pumpkin bread, tons of dog treats, and a bowl of oatmeal with molasses (high in potassium! And glucose!). These are, with the usual exception of dog treats, although I’m not making any promises if I drink too much, things that Willie covets dearly. Every morning he sits and stares at me while I eat the oatmeal, and he never gets any. Today he got his whole own bowl! He ate all of it, and the whole loaf of bread, and the treats, and was still licking crumbs off of the floor. I guess that means we can check a “no” on the list of hypoglycemia symptoms in the box next to “loss of appetite.”

We’ll keep watching him all tonight, and likely not sleep, meaning our muscles will not get a chance to heal, but I’m pretty damned fond of that little blond hottie, and I’d like him to stick around for the next 15 years. So wish good thoughts, pray, light a candle or do whatever it is you do to send good things through the atmosphere to our little buddy’s luck-o-meter. And I might make him a cake.