Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Love of Dogs

This evening I listened to a CBC Radio program on dogs, the nature of their independent pursuits, dog life, and how to communicate effectively with dogs. One of the speakers commented that what is interesting to her is not how to make dogs obey humans, but rather their willingness to do what we want. She observed that dogs just adore humans.

This simple and somewhat obvious comment really struck me. We have two dogs and two cats. They do adore us, all four of them. They adore me. Every morning when I get up and open the bedroom door, I see all of the pets waiting for me. Oliver (cat) is patiently positioned on the carpet right outside the door. Sophie and Kate (dogs) race up the stairs to greet me, and Chaucer (cat) stands at the bottom of the stairs looking up and meowing. I greet each one by name and give each one a little pet. If I take the time to notice, they demonstrate in this sort of way all day long how happy they are to be with me/us. (And no, it's not just all about the food!)

Sometimes I get too caught up in language and general busyness to be observant of the clear evidence of caring that surrounds me. I race around in a huge rush, my eyes focused inwardly on the complex of troubles and tasks filling my mind and my time. At the end of a week in which I didn't manage to check off all the tasks on my list, or when some objective was thwarted, I might feel glum and dissatisfied. I finally lift my head looking for pleasurable distraction and entertainment, and if it doesn't materialize at the speed of a click of a button, I am quick to complain. I might feel unloved and unworthy of love.

But it is because I have turned my eyes and mind away from noticing the loving pets and the loving humans that surround me.

A few minutes ago, I opened a kitchen drawer looking for a tea egg. As I groped through the drawer, my hand found a wooden cone-shaped implement with a round handle. There is a story that goes with this object.

For some years, I had been looking for a specialized sort of sieve for making apple butter. The one my mother has is an antique -- a sturdy metal cone-shaped sieve on a stand, with a matching cone-shaped pestle for pushing the cooked apple pulp through the holes, while separating out the seeds and skins. Way in the back of a local specialty store, I finally found such a sieve and purchased it, but it came without the pestle implement. Last summer, visiting my mother who lives in another town, I told her about this. A week or two later she discovered a wooden pestle in a kitchen store and mailed it to me at an exorbitant cost as a "pre" birthday present. (This was the object in my tea egg drawer.)

Meanwhile, my dear partner Rob had decided find his own solution to the lack of a pestle. He went out to his workshop and made not one, but three different sized wooden implements for me to try out with the sieve. Each was beautifully sanded and finished. So I now own four pestles for making apple butter. What a surfeit of love! How very lucky I am! I just have to open my eyes to the love all around me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thinking about Moussaka

This recipe for Moussaka is from The link will take you to a video and great recipe.