Heartbreak, Family Bliss and Molten Chocolate Lave Cake

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I can’t believe I still haven’t finished my Indochina Travel Diary, more entries to come. I am interrupting the Indochina diary to catch up with the last 4 months. Lots has happened, the good, the bad and the ugly.

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The Ugly first…We had to put down our dog Kodi, which was heart breaking. I have never been in the situation where I had to make a decision about someone’s or somebody’s life and to take it from an animal who can’t tell you how bad it really is was the most horrible decision I ever had to make. One day Kodi just collapsed but got back up after a couple of minutes and so I drove to the vet, told her about the situation and after some tests we got the grim news that Kodi had a heart issue and a tear in his heart and fluid was leaking out. We had planned at that time to have a heart specialist look over the results and Kodi’s heart but everything went downhill really quick and Kodi had trouble breathing even though he looked like a normal dog and got spunky when the mail man came up the driveway and Kodi run up to him and barked. But then he would go back into the house lay down on his side and breathe super fast and shallow. After watching him an entire night struggling to breathe, the decision had to be made to put him out of his misery, February 1st was a very sad day and I am still missing him a lot.

Personally I can not recommend having a dog put down by a vet, yes you can drop him off and not be there but seriously who can do that to their dog and leave him/her alone dying? But being there until the end is very brutal too as you will never get rid of the look in their eyes that are staring at you until the end sets in, they still haunt me in my dreams. The vet told us he will get two injections and the first one would calm him down and make him sleepy; and yes that injection did make him sleepy but he was pacing between Mike and I for quite a while and it seemed…I am sure I am making this up in my mind…but it really seemed like he knew what was going down and was looking at us back and forth, eyes wide open, scared – try to forget that in your lifetime. Why can’t they just give him a pill and he falls asleep like a normal dog who would fall on his side and closes his eyes, not pacing around then eventually lay down straight onto the paws and lay there with your eyes wide open immobilized? All I can say it was horrible and will haunt me for my entire life.

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Rest in Peace Kodi – you were such a kind soul and all you really wanted was love and belly rubs, you didn’t even care about food if you would just get petted a little bit longer. Sky is also missing you, she was sad for quite a while just laying lethargic on your dog pillow next to me. She might be following you here pretty soon ….

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This is the last picture I have of Kodi, it was taken just a couple of hours before we had to put him down and this is how I will keep him in my mind, a beautiful, loving, protecting cuddle bug who 10 years ago didn’t even want to spend the night in the house and turned into a couch potato loving to watch TV with us and if possible didn’t want to spend any time apart from us.

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The “Good” in the past 4 months started off with a visit of Mike’s daughter Vanessa and boyfriend Tristan to say good bye (well that’s a bit of a sad part) prior to their big move to Australia.

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After that Mike’s other daughter Brittany and her friend visited us in December,

followed by our New Years celebration in Cle Elum with Beatrice and “The Irish”. Highlight of the trip was a day spent in icy cold but beautiful weather on the snowmobile.

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ICle Elum collage 2In January Mike treated me for my birthday to a get away on the San Juan Island at the beautiful Island Inn which is located right at the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor with view onto the water. The Sudore’s joined us and so we drank our way through the small town and at the end of the night every single person in Friday Harbor knew it was my birthday. So how could we ever celebrate a birthday without them when we are always having so much fun and interesting things happen?

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The beginning of February then started off really bad with Kodi’s aforementioned death and even though we thought we wanted to just stick with our other cattle dog Sky, Mike got weak and started to look at Heeler puppies and of course I also got weak once I saw this little bundle of joy.

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We named him Murphy and mid February he joined the family and since then has destroyed pretty much everything he can get his teeth on but we still love him very much. And even though he terrorizes Sky, she has also found a liking for Murphy.

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March and April were very busy months for us. My parents finally came back after 1,5 years of absence and stayed with us for 6 weeks. Its amazing how much time gets absorbed when you are caring (or trying to do so) for 2 somewhat elderly adults who do not speak English, do not drive and don’t really like typical American food. I couldn’t just let them sit in the house every day and wait until Mike and I are done with our work, so we planned quite a few excursions and vacations to keep them busy, which kept us very busy but also was a lot of fun and my parents really apprecited all the new experiences they made and things they saw.

We celebrated my mums 70’s birthday in San Francisco with a full day sightseeing tour, visited Alcatraz, Chinatown, Pier 39, took a very amusing cable car ride, saw Lombard Street and of course the very famous Golden Gate Bridge as well as Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.

After a little bit of rest in Seattle we then took off for Mexico, which also was a first for my parents. My mum loved the ocean, white sand and Mexican food, my dad was a little bit struggling with the food but he just is a hard core German and loves his Pork Roast, Sausages and Deli meat, which is hard to come by in Mexico as well as in the US.

But Alfred didn’t had to live of steaks and ribs alone, my parents cooked me a lot of German food, like my favorite “Shopperle” as well as a Ham Shank with Sauerkraut and we got Alf and Linda accustomed to Pho soup – which they now like very much – and traditional American Breakfast.

After we came back from Mexico, I decided to quit my job at Microsoft (that’s kind of the “bad” in the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and take a step back to re-think what I really would like to do and also gain back some work-life balance, so that I can travel more often to Germany and visit my folks who are not getting any younger. Well I guess its actually more good than bad that I left Microsoft…for right now.

It was heavenly bliss spending so much time with my parents but of course time goes by way too fast and now Alfred and Linda are back in Germany and Alfred is enjoying sausages, deli meat and his beloved pork roast – German style.

For me its now time to start planning my next getaway for my big 50th birthday in January – New Zealand is the plan – we will see if that will work out.

So many blogs about traveling and no more recipes you might ask. So I thought I post my favorite chocolate dessert recipe and are thinking of making it for myself tonight, chocolate lava cake makes everything better.

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Molten Lave Chocolate Cake – dedicated to my friend Michelle who my parents also got to meet while Michelle visited Seattle; onboarding for her new role with AWS.

Ingredients for 6 individual cakes:

  • 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter six ¾-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted. Cool slightly.
  2. Whisk eggs and egg yolks in large bowl to blend. Whisk in sugar, then chocolate mixture and flour.
  3. Pour batter into dishes, dividing equally. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
  4. Bake cakes until sides are set but center remains soft and runny, about 11 minutes or up to 14 minutes for batter that was refrigerated. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Immediately turn cakes out onto plates. Spoon sauce around cakes. Serve with ice cream.

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Give your family a hug and Guten Appetit!

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