Monday, February 19, 2007

New Associations

To quote an author friend of mine,“Small things change a life.”

And so it was one evening, after returning from coffee with a friend, that I received a call from some friends to whom I had mentioned my recurring thought of getting a puppy. “The puppies are upstairs!” came the announcement. I had mentioned a few months ago that I was once again considering "the puppy idea". This is a recurring theme for me and the idea floats to the top of my awareness with regularity – so much so that I have a file on Bichon Frises, years old now, as my early research had indicated that this is a good breed for someone with allergies.

“The little boy is still available,” said my friend from the other end of the phone. I wasn’t sure if that was the “right” dog to have. Should it be a little girl? Are little boys tougher to raise? I was waffling again as I bumped up against the edge of an opportunity...errr commitment. “Why don’t you just go take a look and see if you like them.” Hmmmmm...a reasonable idea. And so, within 5 minutes I was climbing the stairs to the apartment where the puppies were waiting. I stepped inside the door and two puppies greeted me. Ah! But one of them immediately caught my attention...a bit shyer than the one peeing on the floor in front of me, I found myself hoping that this was the little boy who was still available. Yes...the one that locked my attention was indeed the little boy and as they say: the rest is history. As he tucked himself into the crook of my arm, it was clear that I was adopting a puppy...or perhaps it was the other way around.

And what a story to accompany this little one: the local legend of the quartier is that the owners of the female bichon were at the apartment in Aix one weekend (in from a little village outside of town during the week). She slipped out the door and down the stairs and the male bichon belonging to the coiffure in the building next door had a “love at first sight” kind of experience when he saw her. They would then take their romancing all over the quartier – all three owners following the amourous couple in urgent pursuit. The legend ends, as it turns out, on my very street, where conception is thought to have taken place. So it’s kind of an “all in the family” - or at least all in the ‘hood - kind of thing!

A bit of preparation was needed for the arrival and aided by friends Nathalie and Wayne who had first made the encouraging call to “see the puppies”, I put together a little waiting nest complete with a kitty box, litter and sleeping basket to tide me over until I figured out what was needed to have a puppy around the maison. The owners delivered him to me with his toy from Noël and a few packs of puppy food until we could get to the vet and get all the details filled in.

As to a name for this new association: In France there is a tradition of naming a dog according to an assigned letter in order of the alphabet for the year of birth. This puppy was born on 22 november 2006 so it was a “B” year for naming puppies. I wanted a name that would honor his French roots, so Baudelaire was the chosen French “official” name that would be shortened for daily reference. As it turns out, upon learning what a dandy M. Baudelaire was and that he did not consider photography to be art at all, I did a bit of readjusting and Bodhi became the moniker for this little one – short for "Bodhissatva", a reference in Buddhism to an enlightened soul who agrees to return lifetime after lifetime, working ceaselessly for the enlightenment and liberation of all sentient souls. (May seem like a lot for such a little soul to carry but he seems to be managing rather well.)

Until he has his second vaccination, he is not supposed to walk on the sidewalks in our fair ville. There is a lot of dog dirt to navigate and I’ve often wondered if I didn’t need shots before I walk out the door! So Bodhi is carried like a prince in my large leather travel bag and tucks himself in quite nicely taking in the view and all of the attention that he gets from passers by. Not to mention the adoration from the students at the institute! He goes with me to class daily and sleeps soundly during class time, takes breaks when the class takes breaks and has become a bit of a mascot from the classes to the library to the courtyard…even picking up a couple of babysitters along the way for the few evenings that I’ve gone out for longer than the couple of hours that he is now accustomed to staying quietly in his crate. All in all, it’s all working rather well!

Although he now sleeps in his crate, the first few nights he was chez moi he slept in the corner of my bed with me. He wakes up slowly in the morning and instead of the tail-wagging excitement that many dog owners are greeted with in early dawn hours, he stays quiet and calm and stretches his way into the morning light. As I was joining him in those morning stretches in a pink-grey light, I noticed that like many puppies, he has a “new puppy” smell, but this is something rather unique: Bodhi smells like banana bread!

I think I’ll keep him!

Bon Appétit!

Bodhi’s Banana Bread
Adapted from Bon Appetit

With a moist, dense crumb, this banana bread is a favorite of mine replacing an old standby many years ago. Perfect with a cup of tea, a spread of nutella or apricot confiture...or all by itself while you watch your puppy play!

2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch pan; dust with flour. Using electric mixer; beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick and light, about 5 minutes. Mix in smashed bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over mixture; beat until just blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake bread until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes and check for longer baking. Turn bread out onto rack and cool.

Makes 1 loaf.


Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

What a beautiful blogspot!! I enjoyed your spot-on comments about Minnesota. My Dad grew up in the land of Lake Wobegon and my grandpa was the superintendent of Anoka High School when Garrison Keillor went there. Here is the school song:

Anoka, Anoka,
Anoka, Minnesota.
Come and do the polka
In Anoka, Minnesota.

Talk about high culture! We miss you! Keep creating your multi-faceted beauty.

David in SF

la fourchette said...

Dear David, Thank you for such kind words...and for the words to the school song! One more little reminder that "...the children are all above average!" Thanks for stopping in...encouraging words are always welcome.


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