It’s about doing the thing that is made up of lots of things.

I like projects, I especially like projects that have me learn something new. But ‘projects’ is vague and could mean climbing all the way to the top of Windley Key (I drove by it once) or finding trash bags that fit in my kitchen garbage can (I’ve tried, I can’t). I’ve had projects where I dye up wool, spin it into yarn and crochet it into sweaters. That’s a good, solid project that lasts many months. I actually have a couple more of those projects in the queue, but the flyer on my spinning wheel is shot and needs to be replaced. Also, I will do a thing where I make every single part of dinner from scratch. Like making a falafel dinner where I grind the chick peas and make the falafel, make the pitas, the yogurt, the feta, the tabbouleh, the hummus and everything else from beginning to end. But those only take up a day or two of my time. After I pull my food coma’ed ass out of bed the only project I face is cleaning the kitchen and then I’m as directionless as a high school student who thinks he understands Camus (but Sarte is smartre).

Well, my next big project is bread. I’ve never particularly cared for baking. There’s a sort of precision that makes me shy away from it. But I love bread and I do really need to have a project, so what the hell. Did a little noodling, asked my friends for advice, got a hell of a lot of advice! I also got some sourdough starter from a friend. I think that’s my favorite part, using a starter from a friend who get hers from another mutual friend.

New Mega Project

I want to learn about bread in general and sourdough specifically, so that’s what I got. I literally read The Bread Bible from cover to cover. It sounds a bit tedious but all that repetition smashed all kinds of techniques right into my brain. This is a good project because I’m thinking it will be a solid 3 years from now until croissants. That’s the goal, croissants and I want to get there the long way around. I want to understand every damned aspect of what I’m doing.

How am I doing now after about 8 weeks? I am a bread weenus.

First sourdough

First sourdough

Well, there’s my first sourdough. I was so proud. And oh holy shit did it suck. It was terrible. It had a nice crust and the inside was a bit tight but mostly okay. But it was so sour. It was inedibly sour. It was as sour as your mom when your dad tries to use fart jokes to flirt with the waitress. My guess? I think at some point between making the starter sponge and one of the rises I ended up killing the yeast and the lactobacillis took over. It wasn’t even good for croutons. It sucked and it had to be tossed.

Soft white sandwich bread

Soft white sandwich bread

That’s the soft white sandwich loaf from The Bread Bible and it was awesome. It was so damned perfect and we made sandwiches on it. It was soft without being mushy, the crust to crumb was balanced just right. I loved it, David loved it, Ted, the guy that lives in my attic and spies on us, liked it! I think even Paul and Mary would have liked it.

Sour cream and ginger scones

Tonight it was sour cream and ginger scones with mango curd (seriously, make this. I make it all the time and use the leftover egg whites to make meringues but this time I didn’t feel like futzing with meringues so I gave the egg whites to Chester and made scones instead). They’re a tad dense but not too much and I could just keep eating them. To be fair, there’s a lot of stuff I could just keep eating including off brand cheesy poofs and Necco Canada wintergreen lozenges. I’m not picky.

A friend told me that my flour budget is going to go through the roof and she was right. I need a few different flours for different things and they get used up so damned quickly. But also my butter budget is creeping up there. Our new grocery store is 47 miles round trip (it’s a short, stupid story that isn’t at all interesting) so I end up having to buy a lot at once.

Next up, sourdough cheese crackers made with discard starter, popovers, brioche and another sourdough loaf. I will make a good sourdough loaf or die trying.

It’s good, I’m there. I’m making bread.

And a shout out to David. He made a new dog bed for Chester and it also doubles as a good backdrop for my pictures. Thanks David.
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Other big projects on the horizon…..

Population small times

Oh small towns… they had fresh jalapenos at the market the other day, now there are none. Fine, we’ll use pickled jalapenos and see what that does. The bbq sauce from Pizza Luce had (still has? Did have? Haven’t been in years) pickled jalapenos in it and I loved their bbq sauce. My bbq sauce has almost a half pound of bacon in it.

The divorced parent kid exchange is happening across the street at town hall. I’m curious as to why this can’t happen at either of their houses but it’s none of my business and it seems to work out for them. Sadly, it seems that dad is not nearly as popular as step-dad. Maybe dad’s a dick, I don’t know. None of my business.

I’ve started buying beer in cans because it’s easier to carry home.

My notes for my bbq sauce list 1 big can tomato. I’m going to assume I meant crushed tomatoes.

I’m using the running dishwasher as my excuse to not do anything important for another hour. Maybe it’s time for some Katamari.

Our Guts

We have mice, you know this. There are mice, they are all named Howard. They haven’t been coming out into the open for the last few months and I don’t mean that we just haven’t seen them, I mean they aren’t coming out. Because, I’ll be honest, I am not a tidy person and sometimes in the kitchen I’ll find Cheerios that I must have spilled weeks earlier still there under the edge of the cabinet or behind the recycling, completely untouched. They haven’t been around the dog food and the peanut butter filled traps are untouched.

But we hear them in the walls. They scuttle around and gnaw and gnaw and gnaw and gnaw on everything. We hear them, we smack the wall, they stop, they start again, we smack the wall. We’re like a shitty modern art slooooooow percussion band enlightening no one.

And again, AGAIN, again, Chester is terrified. My rat terrier/beagle (RAT TERRIER AND BEAGLE FFS) is terrified of the noises in the walls and alternates between digging a hole in my abdomen and hiding in the bathroom. He doesn’t even want to investigate. It wouldn’t matter, I’ve seen him lay on the floor and just watch a mouse run back and forth from his own food bowl. Every instinct in that dog is so wrong. It’s like he got the stupidest features of both breeds and is completely useless.

Goodnight my sweet girl

My Maddie has passed away.

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She beat auto-immune disorders and totally defeated bladder cancer. She was a tough little dog. In the end, though, she developed a brain tumor that we could not fix. She was old, she was 16 years old, she had a wonderful long life full of chicken dinner and dog ice cream.

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She was sweet and almost entirely without guile. She just wanted people to love her, to tell her how sweet she was and then give her a peanut butter biscuit. She kept me safe, she comforted me, she listened to my stories and complaints, her fur could absorb an almost infinite number of tears.

She put up with me

She was an accomplished community college professor, a princess, a butt doctor and tax assessor. With Chester they ran their own action news network. We played Huffle Huffle Belly and Good Time Spin Around. She loved the dog park and when we moved to Vermont she loved Vermont. All those hiking trails and mysterious things to quickly chew and swallow before I could get to her and pull it out of her mouth.

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She loved camping, protecting the campsite and snuggling with me in my sleeping bag, eating bits of marshmallows and hot dogs

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I love her. I love every single sweet, snuggly, soft, puff snuzz part of her. I miss her and my heart aches when I reach over to pet her and she is not there anymore. I am so so sad and the worst part is that it is usually her who comforts me when I am so sad. She’s the one that leans into me, pushes her head under my chin, and makes her quiet sigh. I need her comfort so much right now and not having her comfort is exactly why I need it.

I miss her so much.

Snuggling by the fire

Chester misses her

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David misses her

Maddie Snooch

Anyone who ever met her misses her.

My sweet and beautiful girl. She passed quietly and calmly and I held her throughout. I wrapped her in my Pantsghan, all of my friends were with us in spirit.

This pain in my heart, it hurts so much but every single second of it is worth it.

Election 2016

Meet The Candidates:

Maddie Boombalattie: Maddie is running as a candidate for the Safe Lady Party. She supports complete safeties for the lady and promises to initiate programs that all dogs can use to keep their ladies safe. Maddie also supports large scale availability of chicken dinner and getting snugs in the morning.

Vote Maddie: She’s good.

Chester 12Pound: Chester is running as the candidate for the Peanut Butter Biscuit Party. He supports large scale legalization of peanut butter biscuits and an end to thunder storms and shots from the vet. He wants to make sure even the littlest of the dogs has a voice in today’s government.

Vote Chester: He’s the little dog that knows the thing that is all of the stuff.

 

The Issues
#1 Illegal Immigration – Where do you stand on illegal immigration of mice from the outside?

Chester: OH MY GOD!!! No! No mice! They come inside and they eat ALL OF MY DOG FOOD!! Can you even believe a thing? And they run around and do poohibbities INSIDE THE HOUSE!! You don’t do poohibbities inside the house. And my food is DOG food! It is not stupid mouse food. They don’t even know a thing and then they come inside! I support the total rounding up of mice and putting them outside but over by the train depot so they can’t come back.

Maddie: This one time I was by the lady and there was a mouse that was in the bedroom and he was eating the food and the lady watched the mouse and then later the mouse was put outside. We don’t give chicken dinner to mice and also the mice don’t go on me or the lady.

 

#2 Foreign Policy – Where do you stand on relations with foreign nations?

Chester: For too long Fat Squirrel and Mail Man have trampled our borders, mocked our decency and shown that we can not do the thing that is trust them! Fat Squirrel and Mail Man want only to kill our freedoms and create a world that can have no happinesses for dogs. I have a plan that has 7 points and all the points will make it so Fat Squirrel and Mail Man will never be a threat to the thing that is our way of life.

Maddie: Fat Squirrel and Mail Man are just clowns without shoes. They can do things but they can’t come inside. The real problem is the cats because sometimes they are inside a place and they go by the lady and they have claws and teeth and I have to bark at them and let them know the lady is safe. I think we need to do the focus inward and deal with the cats.

 

#3 The Environment – What is your opinion on the proposed Kibbley-Chunk Dog Food Pipeline?

Maddie: Well, the thing is that I like dog food and I like to eat it but I think this pipeline should have chicken dinner in it because I like chicken dinner. It has chicken in it and also it has my special pill and the lady makes it for me except for the times when the Food Guy makes it.

Chester: A vote against the Kibbley-Chunk Dog Food Pipeline is like a vote against all of the things that are good. With this pipeline dogs can do a thing that is eat all of the times that they want and also it would be so good. There are the people who say the thing that the Kibbley-Chunk might have a break and go in the lake but then we can just go to the lake to have dinner! I love the things that are picnics because sometimes there is cheese and I get to run around a lot.

 

#4 The Media – Media coverage in this election cycle has been contentious, what is your opinion on the media’s role?

Maddie: Sometimes the lady takes a picture of me and she lets other people see it and they say nice things that like I am so sweet and that they like my face.

Chester: Do you want to hear a thing? I will tell you a thing that is Bick Stickerson of W-Peef-Poff-N is a super jerk and he thinks he knows all the things and that he can say things like I do nudity dances in public. I DON’T DO NUDITY DANCES IN PUBLIC!! Bick Stickerson is a 12jerk and his whole face is dumb and W-Peef-Poff-N is the stupidest place for dumb news.

 

#5 Education – What does the state of education look like in your future

Maddie: Oh! I know about this! I teach classes at the Greater Bathroom and Hallway Community College and people come to my classes and I teach them things like how to make peanut butter and how to do computer things. Sometimes Food Guy visits the classroom but mostly he does piwi and leaves.

Chester: The number one best part of education is the treats! One time I had to go to classes with other dogs and I got SO MANY TREATS that I puked in the car on the way home!

 

Final Words

Maddie: One time the lady was sitting there and she was quiet and then a spider when on her and she did so many screams. She sounded like a baby caterpillar that was pooping out 2 new caterpillars that were the same size as her. That was weird. But what is important is that one time a cat went to the lady and hit her and I yelled so hard at that cat and now the lady is safe. I know how to make a lady safe and lady safety is a fundamental constitution. We can do this. Sometimes I get egg dinner and not chicken dinner and once I got stuck behind the table in the living room and a lamp got knocked over. My leash is red.

Chester: How many times a day should you get a peanut butter biscuit? Some people with smartnesses say twice a day, another person said 3 and Bick Stickerson said he should kiss my muscularly taut ass! That’s right, Bick Stickerson! When I get elected I’m going to pass a law that is that W-Peef-Poff-N SuperNews can’t say any more lies about me!! You hear that? See how many Flaming Biscuits for Journalistic Excellence you win next year!! NONE!! Because I am Chester 12Pound. A vote for me is a vote for Bick Stickerson to shut his STUPID MOUTH!!

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Thank you to everyone who followed last night’s PSANN election coverage. The Puff Snuzzle Action News Network had a lot of fun and we hope you did, too. Votes are still being counted and the results are murky at best. A roll of toilet paper has got a high number of write in votes and one ballot doesn’t have any candidates marked off. It is covered on both sides with a poorly constructed rant about Bick Stickerson and W-Peef-Poff-N SuperNews.