Friday, June 12, 2015

Boys and dogs

I will confess that we are the kind of parents who did not see the need for 2.5 children and a dog.  We did have 2 children.  I am not sure how we would have had half a kid anyway.  We never did the dog thing.  Son #1 had allergies and, truth be told, I had trouble keeping houseplants alive while the boys were little.  If I had had a dog to worry about I am not sure it would have turned out well.  Cats are a different story.  They are pretty self-sufficient.  But maybe that is just me rationalizing being a cat owner.  What does it matter?  Anyway, Son #2 started begging for a dog when he was in high school.  I gave him a stuffed dog for Christmas, but he didn't find it even remotely funny.  I believe that "cruel" was the word he used.  I searched all over the city of Durham for this thing, too.

 He even promised that he would name it after Son #1 since his brother was away from home at college.  Pretty smart on his part, but we didn't crack.  At least not until the summer of 2014.  And, yes, I was the one who cracked.  I don't think the Ex-Ex has forgiven me yet for that.  Son #2 and I made the mistake of visiting the local animal shelter one afternoon.  It was almost closing time so we could only look at the pups.  We returned the next day, though, and actually met the pup of his dreams. Who wouldn't crack, right?  Look at those brown eyes.  And yes, he is looking right into my green ones.

 Now, by this time, Son #2 was 21 years old and a rising senior in college.  The boy could have gone to a shelter in Knoxville, Tennessee where he was enrolled in college and gotten a dog any time he wanted to, but he wanted our permission.  You cannot fault him for that.  (Yes, I know that the Ex-Ex is going to read this, so I guess I am still looking for forgiveness.)  Sam is the black dog on the right in the photo.  (Son #2 and I didn't notice his boy part at first and the shelter attendant told us he was a girl puppy, so Samantha was to be his name, Sam for short.  It stuck.  Sam, not Samantha.)  Sam has had some training and is a pretty well-behaved critter.  He is totally devoted to Son #2.

Sam's playmate is Buddha (not sure of the spelling here and Son #1 is not answering my text messages).  He belongs to Son #1's girlfriend and is also a rescue dog.  The pups got well acquainted this week when both boys came home for a visit.  Son #1 recently finished his first full school year at Asheville School and although Son #2 graduated from Tennessee in mid-May, he is living there until the end of June when the lease on his rental house is up.  The boys and dogs were here for a few days, but now have moved on to visit friends in Wilmington for a few more days. Summer vacation has indeed arrived.

Our cats, Rusty and Callie, are not fond of the dogs.  Hate would not be too strong a word to use here. Big bad Rusty hides behind the toilet or under the bed when they come to visit, only coming out when he doesn't hear the jangle of Sam's collar.

Callie prefers the sink.

Callie did corner Sam recently, though.  He looked like a little kid sent to the corner for drawing on the walls or something.

Anyway, the boys and dogs have moved on.  The cats have the run of the house again.  I've mopped up the dog slobber from the floors and vacuumed the carpet.  The Ex-Ex has not uttered "damn dogs" under his breath for 18 hours.  Life is back to normal.  And summer vacation has only just begun.

I made cookies for Son #2 to take with him to visit his friend (our pretend Son #3- maybe he is our half kid?) in Wilmington.

Teresa's Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 3-4 dozen, depending on size

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate chips (I like to use semi-sweet mini-chips)
Nuts, raisins, whatever you wish- I used dried cherries this time- great flavor combo

Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, salt, and soda in a bowl and set aside.
In mixer bowl, combine butter and sugars and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add vanilla extract and mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture.  The dough will be very thick so you may need to finishing mixing with a wooden spoon.  Do not over mix after adding the flour, just until the flour is mixed in.
Stir in chocolate chips and whatever else you add.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper.
Bake for 8 1/2 minutes for soft cookie, 10-11 minutes for crunchier cookie.
Allow to cool in pan for 1 minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Bon appétit to all boys and their dogs! No chocolate chip cookies for dogs, though!

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