Art, affogato, friendship and Henry...

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I've already updated my blog once today and this has nothing to do with tea but I just had to share!

I left Tea and Chi (thank you Randy and Jaci) just before 1 pm today to go pick up my friends Stephanie and Nancy. We were to meet at my friends' Carmelo and Melinda's house for lunch and to see his art.

Stephanie has not been well and when I arrived she asked if I would put a leash on Henry, her 14 year old fox terrier, and take him out for a minute to do his business before heading out to collect Nancy at the Art Museum (she teaches a ceramics class on Thursday morning). Going in and out of the house is always a challenge because Henry likes to bolt out the door but we went for our walk and returned and left again without incident. We collected Nancy and arrived at exactly 1.30 pm at Carmelo and Melinda's where Sherry, a sixth friend, and the organizer of the event, met us at the door.

At this point I'm not sure if I should rave about Carmelo's cooking, Carmelo's art or Melinda's friendship and hospitality. I own two pieces of Carmelo's jewelry, which I dearly love and wear most of the time but the larger pieces were just magnificent. Don't take my word for it, Carmelo has his own website and you can easily take a look http://www.carmelopampallona.com/index.html

Carmelo is Italian, very slightly built and talks with his hands. He has a passion for life that I've rarely encountered and it extends beyond his art and into everything he does. His cooking is no exception. Steamed asparagus in a tangy sauce, a cold smoked salmon on organic field greens, sautéed shrimp and rosemary bread... Then came the affogato. I just had to look this up because I've never heard the word before. It apparently means "drowned" in Italian and in this case consisted of a shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla Hagendazs. Anyone that knows me will tell you I don't drink coffee. I used to but it didn't agree with me. It makes me jittery, hyperactive and destructive. But how can you pass up on affogato made by a real Italian, surrounded by friends, art and good conversation?

We got back to Stephanie's just before 4 pm and Henry was nowhere to be found. My heart is already racing from the cup of coffee I shouldn't have had and I'm trying to imagine how Henry could have gotten out of a locked house. Then we hear the noise. It sounds very much like the "thunka, thunka, thunka, thunka" of a badly loaded washing machine. Except no one loaded the washing machine and it is in the garage not in the kitchen. Stephanie has a narrow, tall, stainless steel, touch-less trashcan and the sound comes from inside. Henry is inside, wedged, nose up, ass-end down, lid closed, over-heated, dehydrated, glassy eyed and unable to move as much as a muscle beyond panting, which was, it turned out, the cause of the thunking. We briefly toyed with the idea that someone broke into the house, put the dog in the bin, left and locked the door behind them. I had to tip the can over and un-wedge Henry who just lay on the tile floor unable to move or focus. The next half hour or so was spent slowly dripping water into his mouth trying to rehydrate and cool Henry down. Shortly before I left Henry had recovered enough to be able to lift his head and drink water by his own accord and I had stopped shaking, for the most part. Every attempt at a scenario that would explain how Henry got in the bin failed both with Stephanie and for the rest of the afternoon at Tea and Chi with staff and visitors. If you have any thoughts or are interested in performing a re-enactment I'd love to hear from you and I promise to get back to tea related stuff in the next posting. I wish you all a calm and uneventful evening.

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