Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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A Very Good Dog

We took Pepper down to the animal hospital.  It is the nicest facility I have ever seen.  The cardiologist and his staff chatted with us about Pepper and her history.  They gave her a dog biscuit but she did not even have the energy to eat it.  Then he put her up on the table for the ultrasound.  They shaved a bit of her chest fur and turned the machine on.  Right away he could see a pericardial effusion which is when fluid fills up the sac around the heart.  Then he showed us where her aorta was not able to contract and expand and push blood very well.  And then he found the tumor.  It was pretty sizable and right on her heart.  It was made up of a mass of blood vessels and they were probably leaking and causing the fluid buildup.  It was most likely hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive form.  The options were to leave her as she was, drain the fluid but it would most likely re-accumulate in 2-4 weeks or have it surgically removed and put her though chemotherapy which may extend her life 9-12 months.

Tom and I got Pepper from a shelter in PA when she was 8 weeks old.  She was my first dog that was all my own.  The following May she watched as Tom stopped in the middle of a trail in Shenandoah and proposed to me right in the middle of a trail.  I remember when we took her white water canoing and we went over these rapids.  We looked where she was between us and she was gone.  When we looked back up the river there she was clinging to a rock with her life jacket on waiting for us to come back and pick her up.  She also used to walk into the tent netting because she couldn't see it but she kept trying to get through the zipped door.  She moved north with us and loved the snow almost as much as we did.  And she was with Tom when he died.

She deserved to end her life with dignity and as much comfort as possible.  So we made the incredibly heart wrenching decision to put her asleep.  We debated bringing her home one last time to say goodbye but decided it would be too difficult to then bring her back the next day.  We told them we were ready.  They placed a catheter in her and let us have some time.  Then the vet sat on the floor with us and did the injections as we held her and told her what a sweet wonderful dog she was.  It was over in seconds.  We had time afterwards to kiss her and hug her and say goodbye.  Fortunately I have a very sensitive husband who loves animals and was upset right along with me.  So we were able to comfort and support each other.  It was just so quick and sudden and we had a hard time accepting the reality of our choices.

Tonight was quiet without her and we worry that her sister will miss her.  We will miss her for a very long time.

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