Culinary Cousins: Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Oliver and I recently lost a dear friend. And we expressed our condolences in the best way I know how — with baked goods.

Read all about it: Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

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Life with a scaredy cat. Um, dog.

I don’t know about all of you but it’s been storming here like crazy. Thunderstorms every day at 4:00 p.m.

Not that I’m complaining, because it must be keeping Charlotte out of The Great Drought of 2012 that’s gripping the rest of the country. And I do love a good thunderstorm. (When inside though, not running through it with sopping shoes and clinging, wet hair while lightning cracks above me and hail pounds the pavement. Hey, we’ve all been there at some point.)

It’s been raining cats and dogs, you could say, which brings me to Oliver.

Oh, Oliver, love of my life. (Sorry, Raleigh). He came to me at a time when I needed something and someone to take care of, and though he keeps me on my toes (and money flying out of my purse), he’s made life funnier, more joyful and so full. I love coming home to his wiggly, crazed-with-energy little body, and I love snuggling with him while watching TV or going to bed.

(As I type this he is fully laid out across my lap, holding one of my arms nearly immobile in a way that makes typing difficult and pushing the laptop away with his sprawled limbs. Apparently I am inconveniencing him.)

He can be sweet and loving, and he can be an emotionally unpredictable handful. Either way, he’s worth it.
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A year in the life.

I need to pause for a moment in the middle of the (incredibly slowly told) South Africa story to mark a grand occasion in my life. Today, Oliver is 1!

It has to be true that people who own dogs are happier and live longer. Since O joined my household in March I’ve received markedly less sleep, but I’ve also laughed, loved and even socialized more. It took me three years to meet any of my neighbors, but I know them all now only because of the little man. Dogs bring folks together. Kumbaya.
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I am chopped liver.

I totally get it. I have a cute dog. A really, really cute dog.

But ever since Oliver arrived about two weeks ago, I’m just the anonymous handler behind the phenom.

Let me set the scene for you. I have lived in my complex for more than two years, and I may have nodded once at my neighbors next door as we passed on our way in or out. We’re not a friendly, mingling kind of bunch. Actually, when I moved in, a neighbor across the way greeted me but told me not to “expect brownies or anything. We’re not that kind of neighborhood.” Well, okey dokey.

Now that I walk the world’s cutest dog, everyone comes out of the woodwork. Like we’re incapable of exchanging pleasantries unless there’s a canine attached to us by a string. Keep reading »

To all the dogs I’ve loved before.

I really do mean canines.

(Though there’s only been one, so far.)

Last week at lunch I was reminiscing with my dad about my first dog, a beagle named Missy who a) bit me on the foot, b) ate my dad’s last Snickers candy bar (he’s still not over it) and c) ran away, never to be seen again, as soon as we arrived at my grandparents’ farm. I don’t think any of us were too upset. Keep reading »