Monday, February 25, 2013

Secretive Writing Project

Blogging Friends....Yesterday was seemingly a long day!! And not for any negative reasons!! First, we attended church. Next, I gave Rose some much-needed quality time. And, finally, we watched the Oscars!! I have never seen such an event, but Robert Downey Jr. was scheduled to "assemble" alongside fellow Avengers!! Unfortunately, Attention Deficit Disorder took over my mind during their brief appearance!! Boo!! Well, there is always YouTube!! Nothing like enjoying somebody's technically illegal video of an awards show event!! And I get to keep my conscience clear!! We also watched the pre-show. Which, I enjoyed!! And, by the way? For those who watched it, that covered box which contained "cinema history"? The one hosts had actors and actresses guess about? I called it. Beneath that sheet were Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers!! What do I win for getting it right? Hmmm.... 20 billion dollars? Then, around 11:30 PM, my creative "brain juices" began to flow--steadily, like some raging river--regarding that "secretive writing project" which I was working on over the holidays. Do you remember it? I have not forgotten. Which is quite surprising, because after setting a project aside, I usually never return to it!! I always forget. Well, as Rose snoozed away in our bedroom, my brain juices continued to flow--I was also a bit high on chocolate!!--until around 2:15 AM!! Which is insane, I know!! But, I felt wired somehow. As though I could accomplish anything!! Is this what true insanity feels like? My brain juices kept flowing, fingers kept typing, the clock kept ticking!! And it was actually thrilling in a hyperactive-teenage-girl-sleepover sort of way!! Minus giggling, nail polish, plus chick flicks, that is!! It was just me, the computer, and my brain juices!! Should anybody--namely Mom--notice that I was still very much wide awake, then I had a retort, which, we can only hope, would have sounded patient!! My brain juices are flowing right now. I can't sleep!! Besides, I'm not tired, anyway!! I was feeling like a rebel. Which I am!! Not that I, at age 29, cannot stay up way past midnight!! But still. Well, Mom never noticed!! Sweet!! I want to do it again sometime!! I feel hooked!! Okay, perhaps that was the chocolate speaking!! My brain juices for this project are flowing again. So. For now, I'll take a brief break from sharing stories about Rose. So that I can spend quality time with her, catch up on Blogs, and just write!! Now. I am not taking a break from posting on Beautifully Unique, lest anybody wonder!! Just stories. For now. During last night's Oscar's, they played an automated quote by Nora Ephron. I liked her!! In fact, my favorite of her films is easily "You've Got Mail". Plus, I love Tom Hanks!! This quote was about writing. I could wholeheartedly relate to her words. And I love it!! Enjoy!!
“The hardest thing about writing is writing.” ~Nora Ephron



Friday, February 22, 2013

"Shared Snack"

Do you, as parents, ever get the impression that after bringing children into this world, nothing is yours anymore? And material items which were once considered "prized possessions" are swiftly discovered by curious, snooping offspring? I know my Dad has!! Because, I was that kid!! If memory serves me--which it seldom ever does--my parents had a dresser drawer containing socks, underwear.... And treasured memories. Such as this old love song written to Mom by Dad. Yes, I read it!! There were a few expletives written, which have long-ago left Dad's vocabulary, but his love toward Mom has never wavered from that revealed in the love song!! So. The love song was found!! From a snooping daughter. Because nothing was his anymore!! Why should this concept be any different when canines are involved? Or grandchildren, for that matter? Last Saturday, we baby-sat my nearly-one-year old niece. She is independently walking already!! Please!! Can't some super-intelligent being create a time-freezing machine!! Last Saturday, my Mom was snacking on thin-sliced medium cheddar cheese. Whenever this occurs, Rose comes eagerly bounding through the house, awaiting some pieces!! This is inevitable for my food-lovin' girl!! And Mom always, always, always allows Rose some!! Well.... Last Saturday, my niece wanted cheese, too!! So. With Mom comfortably positioned in her floral-print chair, Rose "sitting pretty" on the right, and my niece toddling to both sides, it was what I call a "shared snack"!! I have coined this phrase before. "Shared Snack". Just not here!! For Rose--like a child who takes her Mama's material possessions--has "helped" me nosh on food before!! Whenever I dip baby carrots in ranch dressing, she is allowed some bites. Sans any white tangy-tasting sauce, of course!! Whenever I eat an apple, Rose is allowed one slice. She loves that sweet, juicy fruit!! Whenever I eat a stick of mozzarella string cheese, Rose is allowed a few bites. She telepathically begs for some with her colossal brown eyes!! Who can resist? And then there is Rose's newest favorite "human" food. Hard-boiled egg!! Whenever we cook that, she is allowed a thinly sliced piece!! After it cools, of course!! We do not need a burned palate!! Ouch!! But last Saturday, when Mom traded off with dividing her cheddar cheese slices between Rose and my niece, it was a sight to witness!! Just hilarious!! Oh, how I love living with a canine "foodie"!!








Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Strawberry Cream Cheese Treats

Blogging Friends.... So, I wrote a letter to Robert Downey Jr. This you know. Well.... After literally agonizing and freaking out about it to the point of heart-racing panic for three weeks, I have decided against ever sending my letter. Because. After my mind returned to reality, I rationally thought through several concepts. Like this. Chances are--as much as I would have loved to believe that Robert Downey Jr. reads every single letter--that is impossible. I wonder how many fans write him on a daily basis? And this. Chances are, my letter could end up in the wrong hands. I wanted Robert Downey Jr. to read it. Nobody else!! And this. Chances are, my efforts to thank him for profoundly impacting my life as Tony Stark/Iron Man would have been pointless. So. Oddly, I am at peace--for the very first time in three weeks--about not sending my letter. Peace. Just do not mention that Robert Downey Jr. will live out the rest of his life never knowing. Because I might cry.... But, other than that, I am over it!!  
What does one do--when you're me--during such circumstances as deciding against sending a Hollywood movie star her letter? You be resilient. Move forward. You take everything out on soft, Parmesan cheese-scented dough!! Punching, pounding, and throwing it against your flour-sprinkled kitchen countertop until disappointment and feeling like some delusional idiot who let her Blogging Friends down vanishes. Who'd have known that by doing so would prove as therapy? Because, with every punch, pound and throw, I was shooing negative feelings out of my system!! I could feel it. So, February 14th was Valentine's Day. I'd planned to try a new recipe out of the dog treat cookbook which I received for Christmas. On Valentine's Day. But, plans changed!! So, I baked the recipe yesterday, instead!! Better late than never!! The timing was definitely preordained by God, though. Because, apparently, I needed a "dough therapy" session!! While baking this recipe, Rose sampled some ingredients. It turns out that my food-lovin' girl likes strawberry cream cheese. I concur!! I like it too!! And Parmesan cheese, as well!!

 Rose would rate this recipe four "paws" way, way up!!

Valentine Heart Sandwiches

These sweet little sandwiches are a great way to tell your dog "I love you." The strawberry in the cream cheese is just for color (though dogs seem to think it's tasty). You can reverse the colors by putting some raspberries in the cookie batter (or a drop or two of red food coloring) and using plain cream cheese in the middle. Of course, any shape cookie cutter will work, but the heart shape makes a fun Valentine's Day treat.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white cornmeal or oat bran {I used cornmeal!!}
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese {I added a little more for an extra cheesy taste!!}
1 egg, beaten {I whisked my egg, because I'm a rebel!!}
1 cup of milk
Soft strawberry cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the flour, cornmeal, or oat bran, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Add the egg and milk. Stir into a soft dough, {It was soft.... Like Play-Doh!!} using your hands to incorporate all the flour. {I just mashed it with my large spoon!!} Roll to 1/8 inch thickness. {Yeah.... I refused to follow that rule!! Next year, however, I will make them thinner!!} Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on a baking sheet covered with greased or non-stick foil. {Apparently, getting over never sending Robert Downey Jr. my letter transformed me into a serious rebel--I broke every rule for this recipe!!--Because I never lay greased foil on our pan!! Oh well!! The hearts did not stick!!}
Optional: To ensure that the sandwich cookies don't puff up too much (and thus make the sandwiches too thick) {They did puff up, hence the reason why next year I will make them thinner!!} cover them with foil and place another (empty) baking sheet on top of them before putting in oven. {I did not follow that rule, either. But, in my own defense, it was optional!!}
Bake for 20 minutes {I baked nine at a time for 28 minutes.} or until the tops are brown. Cool on wire rack. {Whoops!! I forgot that rule!! Oh well!!} Once the cookies are cool, place a small amount of strawberry cream cheese between two cookies to form a sandwich.
Confession. I am a perfectionist!! Which, I have mentioned on Beautifully Unique before!! That being said, I stressed way too much about making each heart equally-sized. But. Not so much that I lost my joy while making them!! Taylor Swift sang in the CD player, I hummed along, with Rose underfoot, excitedly anticipating her treats!! I frost the strawberry cream cheese on as Rose is being served. But, only because of limited refrigerator space!! The sandwiches are too thick for Rose's mouth, so, I cut them into pieces each time before serving her!! Which, is a good idea. Because, knowing my girl, she would roll on the cookies, smearing strawberry cream cheese into both the great room carpet and herself!!           





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Hot Spot

Blogging Friends.... This post was supposed to be "published" yesterday. Huh. Thus according to my plan, anyway!! However. I had to overcome a hurdle of huge Writer's Block in the beginning, making this blank computer screen seem daunting!! But I love Writer's Block!! Then, as I was nearly finished typing, 11PM lurked on my clock. I needed some sleep!! Oh well. Isn't it nice--comforting, even--to understand that my plans are not mine after all.... But God's?

Mamas--whether to human children, or dog owners--never like it when something is ailing their babies. Never. It can be a cosmic health issue. Such as when Rose was mysteriously limping last Summer. Or something minuscule. Such as a couple years ago when Rose kept me awake by vomiting throughout the course of twain consecutive nights. Either way, our minds are not at peace as Mamas during such experiences!! The other night, I was in my bedroom, Rose nearby, Taylor Swift's new CD, "Red" playing. I had just spent several hours reading. I needed Attention Deficit Disorder to overtake my mind!! Track number one was playing--which has an awesome opening drumbeat by the way!!--and I was relaxed. For a minute. That was when I noticed it. This bright red patch on Rose's tail. My response? I panicked, of course!! At first. I was certain, during one fleeting second of irrational, heart-pounding, adrenaline-rush-provoked thoughts, that Rose had drawn blood. "Oh, my gosh!! Rose!! Oh, oh, my gosh!! Oh, my gosh!! Rose!!" was all I could say, while Taylor Swift still sang track one. It did not require long, however, for my initial panic to simmer down a bit. How? I've trained myself somewhere along life's journey, that after freaking out like the Drama Queen I am, to "keep calm and carry on". Why? Because, otherwise, all common sense is thrown out the window!! And I need common sense!! I depend on it during such situations!! I must be rational and mature if I'm going to solve this problem.... Any problem!! Still a bit panicked, I found my sister. I asked her to examine Rose's bright red patch, as though she were some licensed veterinarian. No blood.... It looks like Rose licked herself raw.... Then, as if by magic, my panic disappeared!! Now, I could think!! I pulled out a favorite canine health reference book of mine. Entitled "What's Wrong With My Dog?" by Jake Tedaldi. It is well-bookmarked!! I searched Rose's "symptom", which lead me to "My Dog Has A Hot Spot". I read its descriptions--wishing that this book had photographs--and every piece fit!! A hot spot. I then further Google-searched images of this ailment. That's it. We own this organic salve, which my sister has been applying to Rose's hot spot. Daily. I very well know of this ointment's ingredients, because I've rubbed it on my own cuts!! Yes, that is plural. Should Rose lick the salve off, she would mostly consume healthy herbs!! Yummy!! The following morning, her bright red hot spot had changed to pink. But, we were far from being finished treating it. Three days later, Rose's hot spot--scabbing, and still healing--returned to her natural skin color!! Yes!! This salve never ceases to amaze me!! Like it possesses magic healing powers, or something!! Which, of course, is silly!! It takes two for successfully partaking in the task of applying our salve onto Rose!! My sister rubs it in, while I hold Rose down, providing verbal praises. Then, afterward, she protests with high-pitched baying!! That's my girl!! Yesterday morning, Rose was lying peacefully on "our" bed. My sister held the salve, prepared to apply it. But Rose was lying on that side!! My sister tried to roll Rose over. It was for naught!! I intervened. No such luck!! What a stubborn girl.... Mamas--whether to human children, or dog owners--never like it when something is ailing their babies. Never. Being a Drama Queen, I admit that my little world felt like it was ending. Honestly!! I was all alone, sans any dog-loving friends within close proximity to me. I wanted Jolena, whose path has been severed from mine. I needed Stephanie, my friend and former neighbor. She is just an e-mail away.... Unless traveling with her partner. I needed Stephanie's experience and advice. I roll my eyes at this now!! This feeling of the world ending. It could be so much worse. At least Rose was not diagnosed with an aggressive cancer like our dear Blogging Friend, Remington!! No. We are doing alright. I'm capable of so much more than I give myself credit for!! So much more. And I am not alone!! Because. I have an amazing online community in Blogville!! Filled with caring, accepting dog lovers such as myself!! For this I am grateful....      






















Thursday, February 7, 2013


Blogging Friends.... Sigh!! I have caught cold. Yes, again!! I only enjoyed one week free of feeling "under the weather". One freakin' week!! I am counting. This cold's symptoms seem different from my last one. Somehow. At least this time, I do not feel as though I'm constantly drugged, sans any over-the-counter medication!! I am also, I'm fully aware, still lagging behind in reading/commenting on your Blogs!! Not okay with that. I will have to fly through and happily "make the rounds" very, very soon!!

I love quotes!! I always have. Quotes are interesting. They're motivational. They are glimpses into an individual's soul. It matters little to me whether or not I even agree with the speaker of a quote. Because, after all, anybody can create one!! What matters to me is whether or not I feel the quote. Whether or not I can relate to it. I have been reading this wonderful memoir entitled: "Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected" by Kelle Hampton. She has a Blog which I frequent. And, yes, I am behind in reading it!! She also has two equally beautiful blond-haired little girls, one of which was born with Down Syndrome. Nella. Sweet Nella. The other day, while reading Kelle Hampton's book--about accepting and loving her Down Syndrome little girl--I came across this quote: "Healing is a bit like watching a flower bloom. You don't really know when it's going to happen, and despite the fact that you might be sitting there in front of barren ground attempting to will a bare stem to blossom, it doesn't happen on command. No, it is gradual. Like time-lapse photography. And as you are sitting, waiting, pleading for growth, you eventually begin to forget that you are waiting until suddenly, days later, you look and behold... a bloom.". This quote!! Mmmm, this quote!! It so poetically reflects exactly how I lived well over ten years while struggling with self-acceptance regarding my learning disabilities. My unwanted learning disabilities. How I have bounced back and forth like some pressurized air-filled tennis ball against a wiry racket from self-acceptance to plain stubbornness. I like being different!! No. I wish I were normal!! How so many who I am in close proximity to--family, friends--told me that I am beautiful. And I did not listen. Why, God even tried to use Rose--herself being born different--a mutt, my Beautifully Unique Mystery Dog!! But what I needed was healing. And, I did not realize this until reading Kelle Hampton's quote!! Then, I sat in our local movie theater, being entertained by "The Avengers" last May, and--after all those years--and Tony Stark/Iron Man said: "You know, I've got a cluster of shrapnel, trying every second to crawl its way into my heart. This stops it. This little circle of light. It's part of me now, not just armor. It's a... terrible privilege.". Then, suddenly, I looked, and beheld.... A bloom. A bloom, which, like our cat mischievously biting off my Mom's orchid buds, I severed. Repeatedly. And, like Mom's orchid, my bloom has always returned!! Every time. "It's a... terrible privilege.".
So, I wrote Robert Downey Jr.!! Now, all I need is boldness, an address, and courage!! Tons of courage!! Writing his letter was--surprisingly--the easy part!! I simply acted as though Robert Downey Jr. were a friend, or some crazy, eccentric far-away Uncle. Wouldn't that be fun?! Yet. Still freaking out!!   















Monday, February 4, 2013

Canine Welcoming Committee

Blogging Friends.... I'm a bit behind in commenting on your Web sites--again--I planned to happily "make the rounds" yesterday afternoon, but my day seemingly disappeared!! Sigh.... Where does the time escape to, anyway? Outer space? Just wondering....

Adopting canines. What a huge decision!! There are so many scenarios to consider!! Male or female? Mutt or purebred? Large, medium, or small-sized? And, then there are personal requests. Especially when you're picky. Like us. Prior to adopting Rose, I prayed for all that we had in mind regarding my second girl. Every day!! One of my desires? That, as a then three-year old adult, Rose be social. Toward people, children, and--especially!!--other canines. Why? Because, my first mutt, Shadow, was aggressive toward other canines. Shadow would spy one of her kind from blocks away, growl, lunge, and bark as though she were some trained dog fighter. I devoted years to working with Shadow--while somehow keeping my right arm in its proper place--all for naught. We. Tried. Everything. It was such a difficult journey!! Thus, while considering the adoption of my second girl, one can clearly understand why I wished to avoid "another Shadow". Been there, done that. I definitely got that experience out of my system!! Fast forward to present time. I have Rose. My Mystery Dog. A Beagle/German Shepherd cross, according to many, many, many guesses. My little girl!! Rose is the polar opposite of Shadow, so very, very sociable!! People. Canines. Children. Babies. She. Loves. Everybody!! In fact, I've laughingly found myself wondering what on Earth I was thinking regarding this answer to prayer!! Don't get me wrong. I am pleased and grateful for my "Social Butterfly". I love that Rose seemingly has zero foes!! I appreciate how I can embark on hikes with my girl, an activity which was seldom ever experienced with Shadow!! Rose is a dream come true!! My Heart Dog. In the end of our cul-de-sac, there has been this house. A friendly couple used to reside there with their "Schnoodle", Sammy. At least, I think she was a Schnoodle!! If Rose and Sammy were humans, they would have been considered BFF's. Rose and Sammy oft greeted each other with sniffs. I even walked alongside Sammy's owner down our cul-de-sac a few times. I loved those moments!! Alas, to our sadness, Sammy's owners moved away, leaving this house on the end of our cul-de-sac vacant. Lifeless. Like a haunted house inhabited by ghosts, witches, and goblins. It broke my heart to see this. For No home should ever be abandoned like that!! However!! Recently, my inner Sherlock Holmes noticed something different about this vacant house. Immediately!! In its front window, broken-down blinds had been replaced by brand-new ones. Yes!! Then, I noticed a vehicle in the driveway. Yes!! Following this, some sort of "housewarming party" was being hosted. Yes!! Next, I noticed this middle-aged bald man. My heart grew excited. Do we have a new neighbor?! I cannot wait to welcome him to our little cul-de-sac!! The other afternoon, I was granted this chance!! Only, it was not just one new neighbor. This middle-aged bald man has a wife. And, if I counted correctly, five daughters!! Wow!! I was walking Rose when I noticed the wife driving home. We exchanged smiles. Then, to my surprise, a few of their little girls were running towards us, Dad following closely behind!! Toward home. Rose, of course, grew excitable. She let out her high-pitched bay. Her happy sound!! One of their small daughters reminded me so much of this curly-haired, glasses-wearing, animal-loving little girl who we once knew. Her family recently moved away to Alaska. I introduced myself, and gave these neighbors a friendly welcome. They each mentioned their names, one by one. Then, the little girl who reminded me of my "Alaska" friend asked: "What's your doggie's name?". In all the excitement, I forgot to introduce Rose!! Well.... Rose would have spoken for herself, in uncontrollable, happy, high-pitched bays.... If I allowed it!!                      

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not "Spook-Proof"

Blogging Friends.... Thank-you from the depth of my heart for all of your sweet comments!! What an incredible Community I have!! You are all so awesome!! The other day's Blog post was very, very emotional for me to write, so support from such wonderful Friends is nice....

As for writing Robert Downey Jr.? I think I'm going to partake in such a task!! I am freaking out!! After all, that will be far more meaningful--and less permanent--than having "It's a... terrible privilege" tattooed on my left forearm!! Correct? Besides. Heedless of contrary opinion, Robert Downey Jr. lacks self-esteem!! He always has. Thus, according to my "Sherlock Holmes at heart" sense of observation!! Which, is sometimes accurate!! Perhaps I can touch Robert Downey Jr. emotionally through my letter, and make that former "bad boy" cry....? Hmmm....

I am not "spook-proof". Wait. What? Spook-proof. Last year, I read the 2012 American Girl Of Today books. In them, there was this horse "character" named Dusty who was not spook-proof. Meaning that some items--such as a simple plastic bag--could frighten him. And, eventually, one did!! I am not "spook-proof". Nope!! Not when it involves minuscule eight-legged creepy-crawly spiders. Or nighttime ebony darkness. And I am definitely not "spook-proof" when somebody unexpectedly sneaks up on me!! At. All!! During such occasions as that, I usually scream first, then angrily snap at whoever snuck up on me!! I am bad!! But. I am working against that shortcoming!! And, it is one which my youngest brother has helped me overcome. Purposefully!! And, apparently, so has Rose!! Because, every time somebody walks in our front door. Or when the UPS deliveryman drops off a package. Every time Rose hears some car door slam shut. She barks ferociously. Then I leap out of my skin and scream!! However, one night it was different. Very different. I was in our "girl's bathroom". Then I stepped out the door. And, to my utter surprise, there was Rose!! "Dancing" in the hall. Because she, too, had to go!! My reaction? I screamed, of course!! Then, I said: "You. Scared. Me!! Do you need outside?" Still "dancing", Rose compete against my scream with a little "Beagle" bay, as if answering the question!! But, I already knew her answer. I linked Rose's red leash, and, because it was pitch-dark out, walked through our backyard alongside my mutt. Perhaps someday, I will be "spook-proof". Or not....