Friday, December 4, 2009

5:00 Fridays

Don't be fooled by my shoddy photography. That's no regular barber shop candy cane you see there. I have something way better in store.

Some of you regulars out there already know that I am the only Indian in the world who is bad at math and science. What you might not know is that I also have the world's worst sweet tooth. The. World's. Worst. One time Mac Daddy and I tried the South Beach Diet, and I'd hide in the pantry scarfing down packets of Splenda just to taste sugar (fake or otherwise). It's an illness. I'm telling you, it's hard to satiate this sugar crush I have.

I have been delighted to work with a new store in town called The Lollipop Shop. Can you imagine a more fitting gig?! All the cliches about being a kid in a candy shop would not be lost here. I went there to load up on lots of old skool treats before my brother came for a visit. Bottlecaps. Zotz. Those wax bottles filled with sugar syrup. Pixie Stix. Mallo Cups. Bird and Deal tagged along and filled their bags with the rainbow mix n' match smorgasbord of Jelly Bellys and M&Ms. Our dentist just might retire to Bora Bora if we keep this up.

Today's cocktail was inspired by perhaps the greatest marriage known to we non-teetotalers. Candy meets Cocktail.

The candy geniuses at Hammond's created the cocktail candy stick. The stick looks like a run-of-the-mill candy stick that used to cost a nickle at the Hickory Farms store at the mall and came in flavors like Horehound and Sassafras. Wow, those sounds pretty hoochie when coupled like that, eh? The cocktail stick not only makes for a lovely garnish (and you know how I feel about the importance of appearances), it flavors your drink.

The candy comes in a variety of flavors that I am totally going to try. I swear there's a perfect one for each season.

Fresh mint: This will be great in Hendrick's gin on the rocks when the first dogwood buds start poking out their weary little heads this spring.

Lemon Lime: Oh, this just might make it very difficult to leave the hammock come summer when paired with an ice filled Tervis Tumbler of Rain Organics Cucumber Lime vodka.

Sour apple: Luscious in a caramel martini by a fall fire.

Pomegranate: Hint...read on...

This makes for a fetching Christmas drink can that you can totally repurpose for Valentine's Day. And if you want to add these delightful candy cocktail stirrers to your bar, just contact The Lollipop Shop on their Facebook page. You can order some for way cheaper than I found them online. And for the record, just because the FCC cares about bloggers these days, this is a totally unpaid endorsement. I'm just sharing my amazing find with you, my cadre of happy hour pals.

With no further ado...drum roll please...

Ra Pa Pom Pom

Pomegranate juice
Hammond's pomegranate cocktail stick

Pour about 1/2 ounce of cold pomegranate juice into a champagne flute. Top off with chilled Lambrusco. Add pomegranate cocktail stick.

The stick will flavor your drink, cutting the tartness of the pomegranate juice with a tish of sweetness. The natural air bubbles in the sticks make for a fine straw. Beware the danger of sucking these down.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

On a Lark

Meet Lark.

He is one and every bit a toddler.

He is more affectionate and sweet than any pet I have ever known. Truly.

He is an 18 pound beagle/corgi mix. This means that we are part Charlie Brown, part Queen of England.

We got him on a lark.

The SPCA had given him his moniker.

He is aptly named.

Did you see that face? Those ears? The ever-so-slight cock of his head?

While Deal is the self proclaimed animal lover, Bird has turned out to be the real Dr. Doolittle. All he wants to do is sit next to Lark with his hand or head in contact with his new pup. Deal loves when he gets Lark time, but I'm afraid he is feeling pangs of jealousy when we are all home together cooing over him.

Lark is still getting used to us. He is the consummate lap dog who revels in our presence. He is sweet, affectionate, peaceful, and gentle. All the things we want our companions to be yet rarely are at one time. Lark is humble, grateful, pensive. My friend Lisa noted that those eyes are filled with a dollop of trepidation and a dose of mischief. He is not a banshee who insists on hopping from lap to lap. Lark is much too loyal for that.

The boys are having a grand time taking turns walking Lark, though Deal has some leash skills to hone. He's only four so I'm not being hard on him. In the two days Lark has been a part of our family, we have already spent even more time together, gabbing on walks, frolicking in the yard, snuggling on the couch. I'm certain the novelty won't wear off. This kind of love, while novel, doesn't get stale.

I remember Skip and Toto and Sambeau and Adam from my childhood. Dogs who graced our home when I was a kid. Each one mysteriously disappeared, and all these years later I have no idea the fate they met. We weren't dog people. We weren't pet people. Hell, we were barely kid people. I am thrilled to share the joy of a pet with my boys.

They are too young to really remember my beloved Casey and Capote, the cats I had for 16 years. Bird and Deal remember that they used to hide under foot when a storm blew in, and that they were our meteorologists foretelling wind gusts and thunder before we even heard a thing. The boys know I get weepy time to time, and that reading "Cat Heaven" is cathartic. I never even blogged about finding Casey in the guest bathroom, curled up as if she were napping from a tuna juice hangover. I'm still numb from saying goodbye to Capote, his liver failing, his weight dropping. It's still too painful to conjure up the words to do them justice.

And now, more than a year since Casey's passing, I am filled with love again. I am admittedly facing Guilt just a tad. I don't want my Casey and Capote thinking they are replaced, for that is impossible. All this time my heart gaped a tish, pulled at the corners from losing my sweet kitties. Bird and Deal are painfully aware of that. They know how much I loved having a pet. They know that Mac Daddy grew up with dogs. They know that pets graced our lives once upon a time.

What they don't know is how our house was filled with love when pets shared our walls. I knew unconditional love from my pets. And I'm hoping Lark will in turn teach Bird and Deal that lovely lesson.

"The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic." ~Henry Ward Beecher

We adopted Lark from the SPCA. I urge you to save a pet's life too. Your home and your heart are the best gifts in the world. And your home and your heart aren't full until you let a pet share a piece.
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