Posted on May 12, 2010
It was a rainy October afternoon… I couldn’t tell what was falling harder, the rain pouring down on me or my own tears as I kneeled next to the lifeless body of my beloved Pudge. Only five minutes ago he was looking at me with those golden brown eyes, pleading with me to let him stay outside. Since, I was only going to be a few minutes I gave in with an uneasy feeling. It was a decision I would come to regret.
I felt my heart stopped the moment I heard the frantic knocks on the front door. Only strangers would use the front door. I yanked open the door and without speaking to the panic looking woman, I ran past her and out to the road. There lay my beautiful Pudge on the side of the road with his golden eyes open. “Don’t leave me Pudge…” I cried. “Please, don’t leave me… you can’t die… we still have a lot of Frisbee time… we have many more mountains to climb… and walks to do…” I continued crying out to him hysterically. “Oh God, this can’t be happening! Pudge, wake up… please wake up… don’t die on me… we need to play Frisbee…” I cried into his ear. Frisbee was one of his most favorite games. Whenever I needed a good picture of him with perky ears, or to get his attention, all I had to say was the word Frisbee. I kept telling him we would play Frisbee hoping he would hang on. For a moment I could see his reaction to the word Frisbee and I felt some hope. But, I was lying to myself… he was hurt badly. By the time my friend came with the car, Pudge took his last breath. I knew I had lost him. When I looked up, I saw the woman who hit him… her panic face replaced with guilt and tears. I’m sure my being a hysterical mad woman might have something to do with that. I wanted to tell her it was okay… it wasn’t her fault. It was my own irresponsibility. Unfortunately, I never saw her again…
It only took a few minutes for the doctor to come out and informed me what I had already knew. To say my heart was broken was an understatement. Never in my life have I ever felt the kind of pain I had experienced with Pudge’s death… not even when my favorite aunt had died or when I got a divorce after 8 years of marriage. I was totally inconsolable… my friend just held me and didn’t say a word. A few days later, Pudge was cremated. He was killed on October 17th, 2005 and was only 3 years old.
When we got back to my friend’s house, I told him I wanted to go see the couple who we bought Pudge from. I didn’t know why but I had this urge to see Pudge’s parents. It had been three years since we bought Pudge from the couple. We didn’t know if they still lived there. But I was insistent… I just had this urge that wouldn’t go away. My friend told me he would take me first thing in the morning.
The next morning, it was rainy and gray. I was glad for it because I was all out of tears and yet still wanted to cry. The ride seemed too long… and when we got there, a Spanish speaking woman told us in broken English the couple had moved away a year ago. We asked if she knew where they moved to but she didn’t understand what we were trying to say. Disappointed, I felt it was hopeless. But my friend didn’t give up… using what few Spanish words he knew, he was able to convey to the woman what we wanted. Luck was with us that day. She knew where the couple had moved to and told us to follow her.
The couple remembered us. I asked them if pudge’s parents will have puppies soon and once again was disappointed to learn his parents were too old to breed. However, they told me someone who had purchased a puppy from the same litter as Pudge and she just had a litter of puppies. It wasn’t my intention to replace Pudge so soon… no one could ever replace him. I guess I was just in such pain and wanted to stop hurting. When I called… I was told they had just sold the last puppy. Tears ran down my cheeks as I realized my hope of having a part of Pudge was gone forever.
Well… I always believe miracles have a way of presenting itself when the time is right. On Christmas Eve, I received a call from the couple who told me they gave me the wrong information. The litter of puppies that was sold out was not a descendant of Pudge and the litter from Pudge’s sister was still available. To make the long story short, my friend and I went to get a puppy the next day… which was Christmas Day. I had bought Pudge on Christmas Day 3 years ago. I knew this had to be a good sign. My friend had asked me how would I know which puppy to pick. I told him “I will know somehow.” When we got there, I was taken to the garage where 6 cute puppies were playing in a kid’s play pen. I walked up to them and only one came over to me. He had a little white star on his head and those golden brown eyes… well, I had seen them before. I picked him up and he just snuggled into my arms as if he had been there before. I asked the woman when the puppies were born and she answered “October 20th” Needless to say, I was amazed and stunned to say the least. The puppies were born on the day I had Pudge cremated. I know some people will think I am crazy for feeling this way but it doesn’t really matter to me. I could tell the puppy I held in my arms was going to be another rare and special gift for me. Now 4 years later, I was right… Max is a rare and special gift. This time I know not to take him for granted…
Posted on May 11, 2010
My first experience with the artichoke was love at first sight. It was the most oddest and yet beautiful looking vegetable I’ve ever seen… and being the curious kid I was, I insisted on buying one. Of course my mom tried to talk me out of it because she didn’t know anything about this strange vegetable and didn’t know how to cook it. It didn’t really matter to me, I was just eager to find out what was under all those leaves. After much pestering, my mom finally bought it for me.
First discovery, I didn’t know about the little thorns on the tip of every leaf. As I proceeded to peel back the leaves, with every prick by the thorns my excitement for this vegetable diminished. I kept peeling back the leaves hoping to see something interesting and tasty looking. In the end, all I got was a big pile of leaves and sore fingers. My discovery of the artichoke was painful and a big disappointment. Needless to say, my love relationship with the artichoke was short and not so sweet. I did not touch another artichoke again until my positive rediscovery of it years later. When I finally learned how to eat an artichoke properly and discovered its many health benefits, I fell in love again.
The artichoke is actually not a vegetable but a flower bud. It is a perennial thistle originating in Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. The edible buds with numerous triangular thorny leaves are formed from a stalk. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the “choke”. The flower bud becomes inedible as it matures and when it blooms, the individual florets are purple.