September 8th, 2007

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Of Mice and Mongrels

Ever since we adopted our young friend Beatrice in the early weeks of 2006, I've been puzzling out her lineage.

She is several years old, but she looks like a Labrador Retriever puppy with an underbite and a crimped tail. She is not a pedigreed breed, and yet she has the look of a dog "intentionally bred", if that phrase is not too eugenic for words.

I wondered to myself just what Bea might "be". Indeed, I've even been waiting for the new "DNA your mongrel" test to get on the market, because as frivolous as it sounds, I was tempted to have Bea tested for lineage.

Today I took Beatrice to the vet's office, because the vet said that the pills she takes for this chronic thing or that requires her to get something called a "T4". A "T4" is apparently blood work.

They led Bea off (I am too sensitive to her feelings to point out that she was skidding a bit rather than freely walking) and then brought her back. The vet pronounced her a "good girl" and she was happy to be through her medical trauma.

Then the woman behind the vet counter said "what a cute Puggle!".

I asked "what's a puggle?".

It turns out that a Puggle is a hybrid between a
pug and a beagle.

Life suddenly made complete sense in the way it usually only makes sense when, for example, I run out of gas because I drove the car on empty too long. I had long noticed Bea's waddle and her somewhat puggish body outlines in an otherwise small-houndish frame.

The website photos confirmed it, as little black dogs abound on that site who look an awful lot like Bea. It's true thta some of them have more wrinkled foreheads, and it's also true that Bea's tail looks more crimped through misfortune than bred that way.

Yet deep down, I have no real doubt.

We have ourselves a puggle.

I wonder if that's a Scrabble word yet.
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how to cook without really cooking

This morning, after eating a rare breakfast "out" at a Mimi's for a rich and tasty oatmeal with bananas and brown sugar and a fun fantasy novel, I stopped in at the Kroger grocery store. I've been doing the "fend for myself" routine for days, as my wife is on a business trip in Boston. But I have been doing more heating things up and stopping at Boston Market and eating cold cereal than actually cooking.

My belief is that all one needs to succeed in cookery is a crock pot and a stack of simple vegetables and meats. Therefore, I picked up some boneless and skinless chicken breasts,baby carrots, white potatoes, and a crookneck squash. I sliced the squash, and loaded it with everything else without ceremony or water into the crock pot. Tonight, some six hours of cooking on the "slow" setting later, everything turned out tender and well-cooked. I added a little sea salt and a McCormick seasoning called "Montreal Steak", whose label advises that it has "Flavor You Can See!". The resulting admixture was tasty in the extreme.

This afternoon I loaded my bicycle onto my car, and drove to a nearby park in Plano, where I rode the Bluebonnet bike trail. The Spring bluebonnets are long gone. I enjoyed the ride in the mid-afternoon heat.

This quiet day involved practical things like dry cleaning and laundry. I'm pleased it went so well.