Goodbye to Him

He was gone by Monday evening.  He was determined to die in his own way, and it's been understood by us all that it had to happen.  It's always inevitable, isn't it?  The way seasons come in confused rushes, the way you're never quite nostalgic enough to move back home.  He died on his bed with his family next to him, with his breathing heavy, then soft, then not at all.  He panted and looked my mother right in the eyes, probably apologizing.  Probably wanting her to hold him tight through it all. The last picture I took of him.  Two years ago, on a polaroid.

My childhood dog died.  His name was Charlie, he passed away of natural causes.  He was fourteen and my family had him since I was nine.  Three months before my brother had cancer, a year before I started middle school, a decade before I left for college.  I thought he was a girl at first, so delicate and beautiful.  He was bought in the rain and was scared of the thunder.  He was special, different than our dog, Humphrey.  He was needy and my sister would dress him up in baby doll clothes.  She painted his nails.  He ate a library book and a hundred dollar bill once.  He had a developmental disorder where we had to baby-talk to him for years and years, so he felt safe and understood we loved him.  He had a scratch under his right eye where it always cried a little.  He was beautiful, strong.  He was afraid of the basement and never went in there.  Not even when there was a storm and the television said to go somewhere safe.  He refused, that stubborn dog.

He one time starved himself to bones when we left him at a kennel, when we went to Florida for a week.  We were charged $200 to fix the fence he broke trying to find us.

He one time starved himself when Humphrey died, too depressed to play ball.

He loved the snow and even when he was arthritic, he still jumped head-first into the first fall of December.

He was special, he was different.  He was delicate like a girl dog.  Beautiful in his own way.  He was blonde, he shed a lot.   He didn't know any tricks.  He was stubborn.  He was perfect the way all dogs are perfect and special the way the small quirks of age make you special.

He was home to me, but he had creaks in him, too.  He stumbled, he fell.  He growled if you touched him when he was sleeping.  He would kiss your hand, then ignore you.  He couldn't walk down steps, so they built him a ramp to go outside.  He couldn't walk up steps, so my parents moved their bedroom into the library on the first floor.  Every morning, my mom would walk him around our fenced-in yard, the whole circumference so Charlie could smell and hear and remember he was still loved.

He died in his sleep, he wanted it to happen.  He panted, then slowly let go.  He lived for fourteen years, and it was greedy to ask for any more.

My mother called me the other day and said she was lost in the mornings, with more free time.  She said she wasn't going to get anymore dogs.  She said they would move the bedroom back upstairs when it didn't hurt so bad.  She said she's waiting for a sign that he's happy now.  I asked her what the sign would be and she said it was too soon to know.  She'll know when she sees it.

I don't think the dreams I've been having are a sign that he's happy.  I keep dreaming he's in pain, that we had to make the choice ourselves.  I dream about being a senior in high school and holding onto Humphrey as we put him down.  I remember crying until I threw up.  And I wonder why I haven't cried this week.  Why Charlie was different.  I'm waiting for a sign now, too.  To know it's okay that I haven't cried yet.  And when that sign comes, I hope this dam inside me breaks.

A Very Necessary Weekend


Weekends are moveable feasts for me, working in the hospitality industry. For the last six months or so, every Tuesday and Wednesday have been my respective Saturdays and Sundays. It was nice to grocery shop when there wasn't a crowd around the red-ticketed clearance sections, the checkout cashier and the turning lanes both empty save for a car or two. It was a nice routine while it lasted, a steady stream of relaxing days spent with chores and without Nolan (who would work on the days I had off).

But weekdays are pointless when you want to make plans. No one was ever doing anything, everyone was always busy, except for Murphy of course. It got boring--quick.

I'm in a transitional period with my job, going from sales into the administration department (more steady pay, more growth with the company), and so I have had most of the week since Thursday off. I finally got a weekend, a real-life one! To commemorate the occasion, Nolan and I have been spending much-needed time together, enjoying each other again, stealing kisses in the twilight of these San Diego nights, and discovering who we have become this Spring.

On Saturday, we woke up with promise of a good day, and it delivered us well. There is a flea market that I have wanted to go to for a while. Back home, my parents tend to a small table of good from our house, silly trinkets and collected country crafts my mother sells for twenty-five cents on Sundays. I wanted that feeling of home, that welcomeness of collecting unnecessary goods for the sake of having them in the house. We went to the swap meet and spent $37 dollars. We went to the swap meet and looked at old Members Only jackets, old vinyls and books, hand-woven blankets and tattered bibles sitting in a cardboard box. It was exactly what was expected, it was everything it needed to be.


We left with a lemonade (the "ballpark" kind, as Nolan calls it) and a bag of kettle corn. My mouth still burns from a cappuccino I had that morning, and the salt and sour formed a small canker.

For three hours we napped when we got home, and forgot the troubles we create for ourselves.

Living in that same euphoria, the promise of promises, we took the dogs to the beach yesterday. It was a beautiful day (and today's even more beautiful) and we wanted to share the opportunity for sunlight with Murphy and Elsa (it was her first time). We woke up bleary-eyed and the decision on our minds and left without even a comb through our hair. We packed a bag with granola, a Pendleton beach towel Nolan had gotten me for Christmas, and water for the puppies. We left in twenty minutes and stayed for an hour.


There is something outside of the linear fashion of time when you go to the beach. It's the crashing waves that meander at their own pace, the sun at high-noon and nothing else to tell time with. It's the way that both man and beast are enthralled at the crashing sounds, the deep horizon of grey-blue water and the equally cavernous, cloudless grey-blue skies. It's peaceful and nonthreatening. It's relaxing and spiritual to live in this golden state.


And you could feel the sensation come over Elsa and Murphy. He ran up and down the shore, chasing gulls and flies that buzzed around the bulbous seaweed. He chased me and I chased him back, but we always came back to Nolan and Elsa, who sat sleepily on the beach towel.

And the rest of the day was spent in relaxed silence, peaceful quiet. A Sunday that I had craved for a while. It reminded me why we moved to far away, it reminded me to stay grateful. I think I needed reminded, anyway.




PS, new recipes coming soon!

Mornings and Rituals (and donuts!)

I've always been a morning person, and I enjoy that about myself.  I think it all began when I would sleep in my parents' bed and they would wake up for work, leaving me sprawled in bed and aching for attention.  I think it's the promise of a new day, a new opportunity to make decisions that either enhance my life or fuck it all up.  I like that, the sublime wonderment of choice of indecision.  How they intermingle to create discontinuation in the plans we make ourselves as children.  It's hope, it's nascent disregard for obligations.  It's a half hour of freedom before hot showers and coffee that's cold by the time you're out of traffic. This week has been especially enjoyable for mornings because I've been sleeping in the living room, under fleece blankets from Christmas, under an I Love Lucy woven blanket, under a quilt that was hand-stitched by a great-aunt named Naomi, called Noni.  Everything is gifted, nothing bought.  I'm sleeping in the living room because of Elsa, the tiniest member of the family.  I'm sleeping with her cradled in my arm, curled in a ball to keep warm and comforted by my drumming heartbeat.  They say a ticking watch reminds puppies of their mothers, and so I keep one on all night to help her sleep.  And in the late, dark, ash moon midnights of this April's beckoning, that sigh of puppy-breath and the thunderous metronome of timekeeping are my only companions.  The things that keep me warm and sane.  I pray to the rhythmic god, a space-time confusion of faith and disaster.

And in the mornings, when it is cold and I'm too tired to press the coffeemaker button, I sit with a cradled puppy and my thoughts.  I watch the sunlight thread through cloud eyes, I watch the birdsong swell up in the robin jays.  I watch it from the bay window of our kitchen, through a tangle of dying tarragon leaves.  I watch it until I can make the decision to keep going, to fulfill a prophecy unbeknownst to me.  I brush the sleep from my eyes, have my morning coffee with cream and two sachets of sugar, stir it with a wooden rod.

And I eat one of these amazing donuts.  And I know life is good, that life is doable.  That it's all worth it.




Sweet Corn Donuts with Honey-Sugar Glaze (makes a dozen mini donuts)


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoon applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Prepare donut pan with cooking spray or butter
  3. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl
  4. In separate bowl or in liquid measuring cup, measure and mix all remaining ingredients
  5. Pour wet into dry, mix with rubber spatula (here, I refrigerated mine overnight and preferred it, as the liquid gets into the coarse cornmeal, but it is not necessary)
  6. Pour into pan 3/4 way full
  7. Bake 10-13 minutes, until browned and springy to the touch
  8. Glaze while warm (recipe below) and serve (they're so good warm, I microwaved mine back up after they cooled!)

(For the glaze: whip 2 TB room temperature butter, mix with 2 TB raw clover honey, spread on warmed donuts with butter knife. Dust with confectioner's sugar)


Banana Donuts with Hot Cocoa Glaze (makes one dozen)


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease donut pan
  3. Mix butter, applesauce, sugar, and eggs with hand mixer on high until blended
  4. Add flour, mix until blended
  5. Add juice, soda, and bananas (one at a time)
  6. Mix on high for two minutes. Mixture should be glossy
  7. Fill donut pan 3/4 way full with mixture
  8. Bake 8-11 minutes until browned and springy to touch
  9. All to cool before glazing (the "hot cocoa glaze" is 1-1-1 1/2 ratio of Hershey's cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar and heavy whipping cream) 


I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

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