Lessons from Dog

It’s OK to be happy.  Let yourself.  Sit in the sunshine, hear the birds, let the wind rustle your hair. Exhale.  Just be.

Not everything needs to be mulled over and over and dissected and examined into infinity.  Not everything needs to be understood.

I think I decided to up and move in the time it took me to blink.  It was one of those “why not?” kind of moments that just came out of nowhere.  But it made so much sense.  Once that train started rolling, it all happened pretty quick, at least in retrospect.  I mean, some things felt like an eternity (waiting on the appraisal, for example) but in the end, everything just fell in place.  Like it was meant to be.  And now, here I am.  Sitting on my back porch on my own little piece of Texas.  Spring has arrived… the bluebonnets are popping up all over, and everything turned green almost overnight. (Well, except for the dust-bowl that I call a backyard… but working on that!)  There is sunshine, and birds, and plenty of space for dogs.  I call it… wait for it… the Dog Ranch!

My first foster dog arrived last week. His name is Elroy, and he is a hot mess.  You know that’s just how I like them.  He doesn’t have much hair,  he’s shy, and he’s skinny.  His face looked like concrete when he was rescued, but he looks better every day.


He is hella goofy and a little unsure about me, but he took right to my girls.  Novella has taken him under her wing – she’s so good like that.  She’s teaching him about Tug and Chase and about really good naps.  About feeling the wind and the warmth of the sun.  About chasing birds and scavenging for the bird seed that falls from the feeder.  About just being happy.

He didn’t know about soft beds, but he does now. He just found out that he likes squeaky toys.  It takes me 10 minutes to coax him into the house every single time I let him out, but he eventually comes to me.

I packed up my house 2 months ago, and I left Houston for the hill country.  I walked away, and I packed up the broken parts of me in a box and I taped it up so good.  I still haven’t unpacked that box, and maybe I just won’t.  That stupid box of shards and tears.  Not everything has to be dealt with.  Not right away, anyway.

For now, I am just letting myself be happy.  And it feels good.  I hope you can be happy, too.

Let yourself be happy.


Pepper Crack

Pepper Crack

If you had visited this space before, you might notice that I deleted my entire blog.  After not finding the time to post for nearly a year, I just deleted the whole thing and didn’t even keep a backup.  Of course, then I had a change of heart within just a few days.  So, here we go with a whole new start!

I was a little sad to lose some of the stories, but they aren’t really gone.  If you’ve met me or anyone in my family, you will know that one thing we never do is let a good story die.  If it was worth telling once, it’s worth re-telling a thousand times!  Just stop by any family gathering and bear witness to the 35th annual retelling of “That time Granny Gran got arrested for stealing a beer”.  Stick around a little longer, and you’ll probably catch my brother Robert re-enacting (in slow motion) “That time Granny Gran copped a squat on I-10.”  Fun times!

And so, for my inaugural post… behold Pepper Crack:  The best stuff to ever grace a pizza,  breakfast taco, sandwich, or guacamole!  It’s like Chicago Style Giardiniera, but with a shit-ton of garlic.  Make a big batch, because it takes a few days to become just right, and you wouldn’t want to accidentally run out. We’ll skip story time and get right to the recipe because some people have been asking.

You ready?  You’re gonna need a lot of peppers…


My first rule:  Don’t cheat on the knife work.  It’s a lot of slicing, but it’s so much prettier when you don’t hack it up with a chopper.

Pepper Crack

Second rule:  You really should share. (But, the big jar in back is all for me!)


Pepper Crack

Hot Pepper mix that goes with everything! Try on pizza, eggs, sandwiches, and in guacamole. … Continue reading →

  • Yield: About 7 jars


  • 2 pounds Serrano Peppers
  • 6 Celery Stalks
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 6 cups Water
  • 40 Garlic Cloves
  • 12 ounces Spanish Olives (stuffed with Pimiento)
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano (dried)
  • 2 cups Canola, Avocado, or Grapeseed Oil
  • 2 cups Vinegar (white, cider or combo)


  1. Rinse peppers and cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick. (WEAR GLOVES!) Dice celery. Dissolve 1 Cup Kosher salt into 2 cups warm water in a large (non-metal) bowl. Add the peppers and celery and additional water as necessary to cover the peppers. Refrigerate at least overnight, or up to 3 days.
  2. After the peppers have brined, rinse and drain well, and return to the bowl. (I rinse a couple of times, shaking out some of the seeds.) Chop the garlic (I like not-too-small pieces), slice the olives, and add into the bowl with the peppers. Add the Oregano and about a 1/4 cup of oil, and mix together.
  3. Transfer the pepper mix into clean jars, and then top off with vinegar and oil (approximately half and half, or more vinegar if you prefer.) Let the pepper mix sit for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, gently shaking the jars occasionally. Use within 2-3 weeks.


There are endless ways to use up a jar of Pepper Crack.  My mission is to find them all.  My new favorite is Pepper Crack Avo Toast.  Yummmmmm!

Pepper Crack Avo Toast