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If you were to ask me to name my all-time favorite Parks & Rec character, no matter how minor or short-lived, I would hem and haw and slowly but surely work my way through the merits of Ron (meat!) vs. Leslie (feminist ambition!) vs. Ben (calzones and nerd pride!) vs. Andy (fun and goofy) vs. April (the misanthrope with a heart of gold) vs. Donna (chill as fuck) vs. Dave Sanderson (adorable!) vs. Jean-Ralphio (not! HE IS THE WORST!) before settling on the obvious choice, the character who stole my heart without uttering a single line: Champion, April and Andy’s rescue dog.
Ben: That is a three legged dog.
Andy: Yeah, his name is Champion. Because he is the world dog champion.
Ben: I’m sorry. I have to ask this, but how many legs did that dog have when you found him?
Andy: Three! That’s what makes him the best. He can do more with three legs than most dogs can do with four.
April: Except for digging. He’s really bad at digging.
I’m with April: cats and dogs are infinitely preferable to people.
Going home! I love Kaylee’s hysterical smile in the top photo,
and her funny little body, all stretched out across the cage, in the bottom one.
Oh, if only there was a way to bottle up feelings!
I’d let this one age like the finest of wines.
Eight years! It’s been eight years since I met the love of my life (sorry, Shane)…and 497 days and 2 hours since I lost her.
I’m doing okay, mostly. The foster pups help to distract me, and also give me the sense that I’m doing something real, something concrete, something useful that means so much more because I do it in Kaylee’s memory. Sure, it hurts to let some of them go – I can’t deny that I’ve let myself become attached – but it helps to know that there’s always another dog or two around the corner. And each one brings me a little closer to my girl.
I’ve been sitting at the keyboard, staring, trying to think of something meaningful to write; how best to convey just how much this little fifteen-pound marshmallow meant to me. Nothing really tops last year, when the loss was still fresh and acutely painful. I still feel her absence, all these days and months later, but it’s mellowed into a sweeter sense of reminiscence. I’m still not sure which I prefer.
Christmas 2007. Giving Kaylee a gift from grandma Wendy – made out to Kaylee in her rescue name! (Gracie! It was Gracie! And Jayne was Penelope.
Also, forgive my dopey expression.)
So here’s what I wrote back in 2013:
Seven years ago today – this very minute, in fact; I double-checked the time stamps on the photos just to be sure! – Shane and I were headed home from Lexington, Missouri, with dogs number four and five in tow. I can still recall (vaguely, but the feeling is there) the sense of excitement the day we brought our girls home – excitement which was only heightened by the one month gap between the day we first met Kaylee and Jayne, and the day we were able to liberate them from the no-kill shelter in which they’d been staying for the previous six months. I took 54 pictures of them – bouncing around their crate in nervous anticipation – just on the ride back. Hundreds of photos those first few days and weeks.
That morning, I snapped a few quick pics of Ralphie, Peedee, and O-Ren playing in the yard. I called the series “three lonely dogs” – a reference, I think, both to the fact that we’d just gotten back from visiting my parents in New York, where the dogs had enjoyed spending time with their new friends Shadow and Copper; but also that their lives would never again be the same after that morning, when our family expanded from one of six to eight. Looking back, I wonder if I knew then how radically my life would change with Kaylee in it? If I knew what great friends we’d become? Probably not. I was just silly happy to have two more dogs to love. I don’t think I had an inkling how hard I’d fall for Kaylee, though.
We weren’t the first ones to take an interest in Kaylee and Jayne. Apparently another woman had met and adopted them – only she couldn’t take them home right away, on account of she was going away on a cruise. She promised Gina, their foster mom, that she’d return for them after her vacation. She never did. So I can only imagine Gina’s skepticism when we told her the same. But that woman’s loss was perhaps the greatest gain of my life. Because of her, Kaylee found her way to me. (And Jayne. Can’t forget Jayne!) For that, I’ll forever be thankful.
Walking around Smithville Lake on Kaylee’s thirteenth birthday.
Sadly – tragically – Kaylee’s not here to celebrate her 15th birthday. She passed away in May, just twelve days after her older brother Ralphie. I haven’t quite recovered. I suspect I never will, not fully. Kaylee meant so, so much to me – more than words can ever convey. It’s difficult to define our relationship – friends, sisters, confidants – but I think the word that comes closest is “daemon.” Kaylee was my daemon – an external manifestation of part of my self. Not a moment goes by that I don’t think of her; she’s with me, always, and her presence is a source of comfort as much as it sometimes hurts. I welcome the pain. I often imagine that the ache in my chest is her: rooting around for tasty, tasty slugs; doing the Kaylee quick step; lawn dancing on my heart. As long as I hurt, she’s there. It’s the not-hurting that I fear.
Getting to know Mags and Finnick.
It’s a little too soon this year, but in the future I think I’ll observe September 30th as a holiday: Kaylee Day, or perhaps The Feast of Kaylee Garbato, Patron Saint of Exploited Motherhood, in the style of the God’s Gardeners. We’ll lay a blanket out in the sun and nap all day; graze on all our favorite foods, licking the plates clean; and at night we’ll go the the drive-in and gorge ourselves on popcorn. I draw the line at bug-eating, though. Peedee and Jayne can eat enough insects for all of us. (Oh, Peedee. Will this year never end?)
And then there’s Jayne. Dear, goofy Jayne who, even after seven years with us, is wary of human attention and affection, even as she craves it. Jayne, who is my link – one of many! – to Kaylee. Jayne, who deserves her own day of celebration too. Jayne, who turns nine years old today. Man, how time flies.
Looking back through old photos, it struck me how much Jayne – well, all of us – has aged, and with me hardly noticing it, too! Whereas I’ve come to see the white circles around her eyes as “normal” – how things have always been and always will be – they’re a newish development: when we first met Jayne, most of her face was hard-to-photograph black.
I’d totally forgotten. Damn.
Last year I started the “little things” tradition with Kaylee and Jayne. Rather than start from scratch, I’ll add to the lists. Both of them because, while Kaylee may be gone, she will never be forgotten.
Happy birthday to my ladies. I love you both so much.
Forever and always. Ramen.
- RT @maria_hassell: #IDontNeedFeminism cause girls can just date super heroes and avoid messing up their hair and makeup (via @digiwonk) htt… ->
- Enter to win a copy of I Like Toast by Stephanie Strowbridge (@MsBettyBlueEyes) from @Chic_Vegan! http://t.co/JlrRR2flGp ->
- Killer Bunnies is making me crave cookies like whoah. http://t.co/Y5bm7j6Kpc #veganmofo #VeganMofo2014 ->
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- 44% done with Ice Massacre, by Tiana Warner http://t.co/jEHT1u6gEU ->
I promised myself I wouldn’t make any pasta dishes this VeganMoFo. Well, besides the Chicken Cacciatore. And that crazy deep dish mac & cheese pizza. Oh, and also the five-cheese macaroni and cheese I made for Mac & Cheese Monday a few weeks before that. YOU GET THE IDEA. I pretty much live on the stuff the rest of the year, and trying new things is part of the point of my themes. A minor one but still.
A copy of Sharon Gannon’s (then-upcoming; now recently available) Simple Recipes for Joy unexpectedly appeared in my mailbox.
(Thanks, Avery Books!)
And, in a fortuitous twist, I found a ton of recipes (okay, six) that call for pounds of zucchini (LITERALLY), which was really pretty great because at the time my garden was spitting out zukes faster than I could pick them.
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Originally I was going to whip up a batch of Maple Bacon Doughnuts for the very last Swanson Sunday of VeganMoFo 2014. Aaaaand then Shane made his annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas and returned with several dozen vegan donuts from Ronald’s. I didn’t think my pants would forgive me if I made even more baked goods, so. Real Men Eat Quiche Lorraine it is!
- On page 70 of 300 of Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet, by Jenny Ruden http://t.co/MPgWnGfEDc ->
- you will eat your family! http://t.co/EWtLF4eDMD ->
- Today on Carbs & Rec: I made crepes and did not cry! http://t.co/sTRmLugKoK #veganmofo #veganmofo2014 http://t.co/wPCLOAz3U0 ->
- RT @deray: Woman asks this officer if the body cam is on. He replies, "no." America. #Ferguson http://t.co/vIIDjxTS27 ->
- RT @TheDailyEdge: Grand jury: police justified in shooting black man dead for picking up toy gun in Walmart. Meanwhile in Kroger: http://t.… ->
We are getting down to the wire, Pawnee, and I am pulling out ALL THE STOPS.
(Just wait until you see what I’ve got planned for Tuesday.
Today on Carbs & Rec, I attempt to do something I never thought I would-could-should do: make crepes!
And – spoiler alert – it was not a total disaster. Not a tear was shed nor a crepe destroyed.
- Finished with Zenia, by J. Gallagher http://t.co/hhixM1LNsg ->
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You guys. I have a confession to make. I’m kinda sorta in love with Jeremy Jamm. The character, not the person, because that would be gross.
(Also, I may or may not have set the top image to my desktop background. Jump down to the botton of this post for a bigger, badder, Jammier version.)
As one of Pawnee’s council members and a local dentist/businessman, Councilman Jamm represents all that’s wrong with American politics: corruption, bribery, backroom dealing, $$$. He’s racist and sexist (though not as quaintly so as some of the older councilmen). He uses his public position for personal profit. He can frequently be seen trading his votes for favors (such as when Leslie had to promise to buy Invisalign from Dr. Jamm in exchange for his vote in favor of extending the community pool’s hours). He is unequivocally, unabashedly horrible: a petty, self-absorbed man.
And yet. He’s the kind of villain you love to hate. It’s like Robert McDonnell, Lindsey Graham, and Paul Ryan all rolled into one odious, fictional little package. (Emphasis on fictional.)
Remember that time Leslie and Jamm performed a karaoke duet of “Summer Nights,” but with the gender roles reversed? OF COURSE YOU DO!
This is easily one of my all-time favorite moments. Amy Poehler does a mean scumbag Travolta impression. I’m actually kind of pissed that I can’t find a full-length version online. NBC, get on that!
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- Finished with Wakulla Springs, by Andy Duncan http://t.co/sfN43ysaOi ->
If you don’t own a copy of The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, you are seriously missing out.
Exhibit A: this Bacon Cheeseburger from the Heartland.
“But where’s the (vegan) bacon and (nondairy) cheese?” you’re probably asking yourself. IT’S BUILT RIGHT INTO THE BURGER.
I just blew your mind, right.
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So today is officially Christmas in September as we observe this Waffle Wednesday with a heaping stack o’ Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch!
Actually, I write this post from the sweltering heat of July, back when I thought that VeganMoFo would fall in August; and while Christmas in July does sound better, it is what it is. A waffle by another other name is just as sweet. No really! I nearly passed out not ten minutes in to dinner. I don’t even think I made it through the first commercial break of The Americans.
Leslie Knopes what I’m talking ’bout.
These waffles are true to their name – they taste just like warm, cozy gingerbread, and are so yummy that you could probably eat ‘em undecorated with no regrets.
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- 20% done with Wakulla Springs, by Andy Duncan http://t.co/vS3VoIObUU ->
SALAD. If there’s a food more universally reviled in Pawnee, I’d be hard-pressed to name it. (Dog laxative waffles, maybe?) From the manliest of meat-eaters to even those government employees who ought to know better, the cast of Parks & Rec never misses a moment to hate on leafy green meals.
First, we have the usual suspect: Ron Swanson, who refuses to eat the food that his food eats.
Chris: Ron, do you like some salad?
Ron: (giggling) Since I am a rabbit, no I do not.
- RT @ChuckWendig: Also, learned of this novel tonight: HORROSTÖR. A horror novel written (kind of) as an IKEA catalog. Holy shit. http://t.c… ->
- http://t.co/ZU4WUHlFXu #veganmofo #veganmofo2014 http://t.co/3UffcpQ1Ml ->
- @GrndUpWellness made a peanut butter carrot cake for her pups! http://t.co/1yNGj8UjO9 #veganmofo2014 #veganmofo ->
- Also from @Connoisseurus – this Vegan Broccoli Rabe & Cashew Ricotta White Pizza looks amazing. http://t.co/RSaQ3YwSqe #veganmofo2014 ->
- Garlic Za’atar Baked Carrot Fries from @Connoisseurus? Don't mind if I do! http://t.co/W9HU1cFNuf #VeganMoFo2014 #veganmofo ->
You guys, this scene made me so happy – the reference is so random and unexpected, plus PIZZA. And not just any pizza; MAC & CHEESE PIZZA!
Leslie and Ben are officially my people.
Let’s see it again, in gif form:
Yup, I kinda sorta do.
So there was no doubt that I’d have to make a mac & cheese pizza this mofo.
- RT @veganoutreach: The best thing you can kd for the environment is stop eating meat #PeoplesClimate #PeopleClimateMarch #vegan http://t.co… ->
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- my father is an orca http://t.co/CfQ1s3zSMq ->
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