When Licking the Coffee Table Becomes a Viable Option….

animal bear bored close up
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

I can tell when Oakley is getting ready to do it. He stares at me to get my attention. Then, while keeping his eyes on me, he unfurls his tongue and leans over towards the coffee table.

“NO!” Part of the fun is watching me react.

He gets in a swipe while I create a diversion with a stuffed Kong or a puzzle. Once diverted, he settles down and attends to freeing the tidbits stashed in the puzzle’s compartments or slurping away at the Kong.

Usually, I sigh both to release my frustration and to express gratitude that he stopped chewing stuff up a long time ago. After all, what’s a couple of harnesses and a few chunks of drywall when he turned out this well?

I can’t say as I blame him. The stay-at-home routine is getting to me, too, but I’m not quite at the point where I wish to put my tongue in contact with the furniture instead of using a dust rag.  Especially with the weather as it is this morning. Something like four inches of  wet snow fell overnight, then turned to rain and fog. I never thought I’d be salting the steps in mid-April, but there you go.

So I channel my energy into laundry, into routine tidying, and reading. Oakley will do nose work (also known as “find-it,” based on training exercises for contraband sniffing dogs) and get a couple of extra treats for amusement purposes.

And with some luck, no one will lick the coffee table today.

Pasta con Broccoli, Por Favore

Are you acquainted with MHz? It’s a less well known public broadcasting network that we discovered by the grace of our converter box. Most nights find Hubby and me watching their “International Mystery” rather than the offerings on network TV. One night viewers might find a procedural from Germany or a walk on humanity’s dark side from Sweden; another a look at cultural clashes through the eyes of an Australian police officer.  

This winter’s salvation arrived in the form of Saturday afternoons with our favorite detective, “Inspector Montalbano.” In addition to catching the culprit, Salvo and the gang from Vigata have likely kept us from wandering off into the swirling whiteness engulfing the fields around our house throughout this too-long too-drawn out winter. Here’s a taste in the form of a promo from a couple of seasons ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js74ASrRbxM. 

While solving the murder offers plenty of twists and turns, there are some guarantees for each episode: Salvo will get into an argument with Livia, his longterm lady friend, and throw a cordless phone; Catarella, the officer who handles the phones, will irritate Salvo at least once and mispronounce someone’s name ; and Salvo will enjoy his food. One of his favorites is pasta and broccoli.

It’s become one of my favorites, too. Easy to make and on the table in less than 30 minutes. Pour some good olive oil into a small pan and slice in lots of garlic. I use anywhere from three to five cloves depending on size and my attention span. Add a good shake of red pepper flakes. Place over a low flame and gently heat until the aroma of garlic fills the room. Don’t let the garlic get brown. Now, fill your favorite pasta pot with salted water and broccoli. The florets of one stalk usually do it for the two of us. Bring to a boil, and then add the pasta. I’ve been using brown rice fettuccini. Takes about ten minutes to cook. When done, drain and pour the lovely garlic oil over it, grate Parmesan or asiago on top of it, and you really won’t care what the weather is doing.

Unless the electricity goes out and you can’t watch Salvo and company. You’ll still have a lovely bowl of pasta, but it’s just not right without the music, the scenery, and the humor of daily life in Sicily.