mud

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Dog doors are a great invention and ours was one of the better remodel decisions Malcolm and I made…

When Tiamo was still a puppy, we added a large coyote-fenced enclosure that wrapped around the back of our New Mexican styled home.  Aesthetically pleasing for the neighborhood, it fit in with the landscape.  We carefully planned the gate placement, the amount of  shade provided by the Pinon trees growing around the perimeter and size of the pen around Tiamo’s needs.  The one thing we didn’t plan, was installing a dog door for entrance from the pen to the house.  Mistake number one – however a moot point since we only put Tiamo in the pen when we left for town and couldn’t bring her.  Tiamo’s new playground was over 1,800 square feet of soft sand and shade.  Made just for her – and she hated it!  She hated being left alone outside, barking excessively.  She hated being separated from us and most of all she hated knowing Thugs, our cat at the time, was indoors while she was suffering outdoors.  She dug deep holes under the gate and tunneled out to freedom, magically appearing at our back door to come inside.  She scratched, clawed and budged her way out through any opening she could find, bending the gate frame, ripping the wiring.   We added reinforcements, new gate latches, heavier gauged wire, and still Tiamo would find a way out.  One week after we christened our new dog pen addition, we abandoned it.  Tiamo happily trading the pen for all the comforts of pillows and couches found inside our home.

For two years Tiamo’s dog pen sat empty – until the puppies were born.  The pen was the perfect dog park for eight little pups to explore and discover their new life.  We would bring the kids out to the pen during the late hours of the afternoon, when the sun’s heat was less severe. Tiamo had finally accepted the pen, enjoying the fresh air as she tenderly watched over her rambunctious brood.  The little ones romped and tumbled for hours until we brought them back in to their make-shift pen set up in the garage.  Tired and exhausted, the puppies would settle into a fast sleep for the night. 

As each puppy left for their new life with their new caregivers, Malcolm and I came to the conclusion we needed to add a dog door to the pen for our remaining three; Tiamo, Amore and Dolce.  However, our careful planning of the pen placement several years past, failed to appoint a common wall for a dog door.  Mistake number two.  We concluded after a careful study of where to place the large rubber flap, to install the dog door in our bathroom’s linen closet.  I know, it sounds weird, but our thinking was (and still is) if there came a time when we needed to close off the dog door, we could re-install the linen shelves back in and the large, unsightly dog hole would  “disappear” behind bath towels and sheets.  Plus, we could close the closet door to keep the girls in or out depending on what we wanted.

Installation day was on a Friday, right around the first of July.   We wanted to have the door installed and finished before our Monsoon season started so the girls could come in out of the rain.  Training was easy.  A little nugget of ground hamburger was all it took to entice Tiamo through the opening, with Amore and Dolce  quickly following.  It wasn’t long before each dog was barreling through the flap looking for a meatball.    The girls immediately used the outdoors as they should, doing their duty discreetly outside.   No more getting up to let one of dogs out, no more waiting in the freezing cold as Dolce sniffed for the perfect spot, no more chasing after Amore as she sensed freedom.  Life was just made easier.

Five days later, the rains came. Blessed drops of liquid fell on our parched acreage.  Never lasting very long, the afternoon showers can alternate from a gentle pitter-patter to hard torments of destruction.  The dry land will soak up the moisture like a sponge, filling its cracks with water, letting the excess wash over into arroyos and gullies creating flash floods and hazards.  Not only do our summer storms bequeath us with fiery sunsets that paint the sky with vibrant colors, they also leave us with clay dirt that quickly becomes slick, clinging to our shoes, dragging your steps with the extra weight of the mud.  It was on a day such as this, that I came home from work to find mud, lots of mud, strewn from one end of the house to the other!  There were muddy paws prints in every room, every part of the house. On the sofa, on the bed, everywhere.  The girls came running to greet me, each with a wet, muddy underbelly, each filthy and dirty, mire and sledge oozing from their paws.  and each with a huge happy grin on their face.  The new dog door was a gateway to mud and muck.  Mistake number three!

Luckily, we have brick floors.  And, we have a house cleaner.

Dolce washed up after mud wrestling with Amore

Dolce washed up after mud wrestling with Amore

 

MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE

an ooey-gooey delicious mess!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6 oz Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan.  

To prepare the crust:  place Oreo cookies, nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until fine crumbs are formed.  Add the melted butter and mix until just moistened.  Do not over process.  Press the cookie mixture over the bottom of the springform pan, pressing the mixture up the sides of the pan about 1 1/2 inches.  Cover and chill until filling is ready.

To prepare the filling:  add butter, chocolate, corn syrup in a medium sauce pan over low heat until melted together.  Let cool.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then the finely chopped Macadamia nuts.  Pour filling into the chilled crust and smooth the surface.  Bake for 30 minute or until just set but still soft in the center.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Serve a room temperature with homemade whipped cream.

 

Bobcat’s

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Traditionally, when family and friends visit, we treat our out-of-town guests to Bobcat Bite, an old trading post-turned-gun shop-turned-burger joint located halfway between us and Santa Fe.  A family owned business since 1953, Bobcat’s sits off of historic Route 66, so named for the wild bobcats that came down from the surrounding mountains and were fed meat craps and leftovers at the back door. Owned by Bonnie and John, Bobcat’s has only 5 small tables and a long counter for singles and one-sie’s, you pay with cash or check, are given a Tootsie roll pop for dessert, and those waiting for a table get restless if you linger too long.  The name at the top of the chalkboard gets the first available table.  Those names under them impatiently toe-tap, waiting to be moved up.

The menu has changed little, except perhaps they don’t serve homemade fruit pie anymore.  Burgers, steaks, pork chops.  Salad, garlic bread and country fries.  Cole slaw, potato salad and skillet baked beans.  A simple menu, but I can guaran-damn-tee you, it is and will be, the best burger you will ever have.  Bar none.  Ten ounces of ground daily choice sirloin and chuck, cooked to order on an old cast iron griddle, it’s a two-fisted burger, bookend by a specially baked sourdough bun and served with potato chips.  The first bite is a jaw-bender.  The last bite is an assembly of hamburger pieces, broken potato chips and green chili that fell out of the burger into the paper-lined burger basket.

I like the green chili cheese burger, rare-to-medium rare, onions, no chips.  Malcolm orders the green chili cheese, medium, onions, two tomato slices, lettuce, yes on the chips and the potato salad, but only if Bonnie made it.  Dolce and Amore enjoy the leftovers minus the onions and green chili.  We’ve learned to flip the burger as soon as it arrives so the juices gravitate into new territory, spreading the succulent flavors.

Best damn burger! Ever!

Best damn burger! Ever!

When it was just Tiamo, we would bring her with us, sitting outside at a small bistro-styled table on the portale.  Tiamo would lay under the table at our feet, occasionally handed scraps of hamburger when Malcolm wasn’t watching.  Tiamo learned at a young age, if we turned left at the blinking light, it was a Bobcat night, and a sure bet she would get a treat.  She would go from zero to wildly excited before we could even round the corner.  Should we turn to get on the freeway, Tiamo sulked in the back corner of the car all the way into town.  When Dolce and Amore came along, we would leave the three dogs in the car in the parking lot while we enjoyed our meal.  Every so often, we would hear loud barks from the girls, encouraging us to hurry it up.  They knew Bonnie had wrapped up our leftovers and there were meat scraps to be had.

Typically, repeat house guests will request a Bobcat burger upon their return to Santa Fe, telling us they’ve been craving Bobcat’s since they started planning their trip.   On occasion, they will demand to come back for a second round of burger before they leave town – sort of a  “one for the road” talisman.

Dolce and Amore certainly don’t mind, they get the leftovers.

RECIPE (strike that) RULES FOR A BOBCAT BITE BURGER

  • Drive fast, dangerously fast to Bobcat’s to arrive before the other patrons, believe you me, this is serious business
  • Run, don’t walk, to the chalkboard to write your name down before the out-of-town-never-been-to-Bobcat’s-before folks have a chance to get out of the car and figure out the system
  • While waiting for a table, stare through the windows, intimidating those slow pokes eating inside into speeding up their meal.  This isn’t Paris, they don’t get to dawdle over coffee
  • Once seated, read the menu quickly and know what you want – don’t dilly-daddle.  There are people waiting for your table – like us – plus, you don’t want to delay that first bite of your burger
  • Inquire who boiled the potatoes that morning (just kidding John)
  • Order and enjoy the best damn burger ever, ever, ever!  This is no ordinary burger – hold on to your socks, you’re in for a treat!
  • Ask for more napkins, you’re gonna need’em – now ask for another one
  • Discreetly undo the snap on your jeans, pulling your shirt out and over to cover the opening.  Okay, now you have more room to indulge in your burger – oh, yeah, and you can breathe
  • Eat, pay and grab your Tootsie pop as you exit, you can enjoy it in the car on the way home
  • Start planning your next visit to Bobcat’s
  • http://www.bobcatbite.com
Bonnie with one of the buddy gang

Bonnie with one of our repeat offenders

Goldilocks

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Growing up, our father had a big ol’ over-stuffed leather chair and ottoman positioned just so — enabling him to watch our black & white at just the right angle.  That was HIS chair.  All the dirty rubber bands from the evening newspapers, his toothpicks, his torn-out magazine articles, his dog-eared paperbacks, collected on, in or by his chair.  If one of us girls happened to be sitting in HIS chair when he came in the living room to watch TV or read the paper, we had to vamoose out that chair lickety-split, forfeiting all rights to the seat.  Saturdays we would dig through the chair sides under the seat pillow, searching for loose change and coins that had slipped out of his pockets throughout the week as he sunk further into the chair.  On a good week, we could net a hefty profit, easily tripling our paltry allowance.  Most times, it was a bust.  The years brought longer afternoon naps and more cracks to the aging dried out leather,  the worn seat sagged way below the equator, the arm rests wiggled but stayed put with extra nails to the frame, and it was still HIS chair.  Worn down, broken-in, and mighty comfortable, that chair was dad’s and always would be.

Tiamo had a special seat as well.  Our kilim covered ottoman-slash-coffee table on steroids.  As a puppy, the ottoman was the only piece of furniture low enough for her to climb up on.  All of 10 weeks old, Tiamo would put her front paws on the top edge of the large oversized ottoman, her short little hind legs furiously working to gain purchase as she would pull herself up to the top where victory lay.  And there she lay, eyes sparkling from her achievement.  From the day she reached the summit, that ottoman has been hers and hers alone.  That was her spot, her place, her chair. If someone happened to be encroaching on her ottoman, a bark and a paw nudge was usually enough to get them to move along to another spot.  We have experienced her literally pushing us off her spot, leaning with all her body weight until we gave in and let her have her ottoman back.

When the puppies were born, her ottoman became more sacred and Tiamo became more territorial with her special place. Momma had staked her claim to the ottoman years prior and no little whippersnapper was going to poach on it. Amore and Dolce eventually learned to leave the ottoman to Tiamo.  The only trespasser allowed on the ottoman, was Thugs, our cat at the time, whom Tiamo grew up with and had always been protective of.

When Tiamo passed, Malcolm and I wondered who would be the first to take over the ottoman. Dolce or Amore?  Both had tried repeatedly, but to no avail when Tiamo was alive.  My bet was on Dolce, as Amore has always preferred the cold brick floor under her belly.  So far, neither has shown any desire to acquire the ottoman as “theirs”.  Amore has jumped over it, Dolce has used the ottoman as a launching pad to chase after Amore, but the girls have yet to enjoy their afternoon nap, stretched out with the sun warming their belly, on the ottoman. In their minds, it will always be Tiamo’s ottoman.

And, perhaps Gordita’s, one of the few intruders Tiamo allowed on her “spot”.

Gordita

Gordita

moms and meatloaf

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Growing up, I would cringe when I heard the words, “you take after your father”.  Or better yet, “you look just like your mom“.  At fifteen, I did not want to be compared to either parent.  I only saw dad as hosting a big nose and a larger belly.  And mother, well, suffice to say, I did not want to grow up to be like my mother.  Only now do I understand those words were sweet compliments full of promise of what was to come.  Their moral fiber was imprinted on me in my early years, their love and emotional support has stayed with me even with their passing years ago.  Now, at full maturity and with a clear mirror, I see a bit of both my parents in me, from sharing my father’s gift of gab to sharing my mother’s propensity to uphold her Scandinavian heritage – being a stubborn Swede on occasion.  I’ve borrowed my father’s coloring, with fair-hair and blue eyes, and copied my mom’s easy-going manner.  I find myself mimicking their mannerisms, their habits and their likes and dislikes.  And, buying only French’s mustard and Best Food’s mayo and using only real butter, cuz that’s what mother did.  Like mother, like daughter.

DSC00641

like mama, like daughter

With dogs, all traits and characteristics are individual.  They might share looks, the same blaze on the forehead, the same white-capped paws, but all similarities end there.  Their personalities are all their own.  I once had a dog trainer tell me, “Dogs do not learn from other dogs, they learn from repetitive learning and rewards”.    I used to believe that, now I’m not so sure……

When Tiamo was just a puppy, she would prance a little jig as we walked her.  A special spring in her gait, unique to just her.  I’d never seen another dog with the same perky step.  Until just the other day – I noticed Dolce dancing a little jig, as we walked the loop, so like Tiamo.  Tiamo had a habit of holding her head up, tucking her muzzle in, and looking up at you with a shy, Princess Di glaze.  She was so graceful, like royalty.   Recently, I saw Amore lift her head and tuck in her muzzle, as she peered up at me.  In that instant, she looked so much like Tiamo.  Tiamo had a special spot under the table, where she would lay as we ate dinner, her front paws draped over my toes, just to let me know she was there.  Now Amore lays there, in the exact spot as Tiamo, her right paw touching my left foot,  so like Tiamo.

Is it genetics?  Is it environment? Or is it just being a dog?  Malcolm and I find ourselves saying, “Dolce acts just like Tiamo” or “She is so like her mother”, something every teenager hates to hear.   Amore has always “looked” more like Tiamo – Dolce has always behaved more like Tiamo.  Both have taken on traits only Tiamo possessed.

MEATLOAF AND LOAF

All moms have a special recipe that spells out M-O-M.  My mother’s was meatloaf.  I make it just like hers.

Mama knows best!!

  • 1 sourdough bread loaf (un-sliced) – hollowed out, saving the bread filling
  • 1  –  3 oz. can sliced mushrooms and liquids
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs from sourdough bread loaf
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine liquids, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and bread crumbs.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in ground beef, mushrooms, and onions.  Fill the sourdough bread loaf with the meatloaf mixture.  Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for one hour.

Canine cuddles

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Nothing says “romance” better than a dozen long-stemmed red roses.  Nothing says “love” better than a sparkling diamond.  And nothing says “sex” better than chocolate!

Unless you are a dog!

canine cuddles

canine cuddles

Dolce has always been our little cuddle-bug, our little sweetheart, our little lover.  She’ll sidle up besides you, nudging your hand to get her ears idly scratched, she’ll sit next to me (or rather on me) in the passenger seat for some extra pets and pats.  She’ll roll over in front of you, stopping you in your tracks, for a belly rub, kicking her back feet in happiness that she got you to stop and rub her.

But her favorite is to cuddle on the couch….

She’ll stretch and slowly crawl up on the leather lounge, keeping to the south end of the couch, patiently waiting for you to get settled in and comfortable.  She’ll then snuggle up against your side, burrowing in, pushing aside pillows, newspapers and blankets to make way for her.   Little-by-little, between her wiggling and leaning, pushing and tugging, she’ll end up with her furry frame wedged between the back of the sofa cushions and your own stretched out body.  Less than five minutes later, she’ll be draped across your torso, her soft head tucked up under your chin.  Instinctively, your arms will reach around her, holding her to you  as you automatically start rubbing and massaging her shoulders.  In due course, her gentle brown eyes will lower in ecstasy, savoring the moment.

There are moments when Dolce will lift her big head and gaze at you, softly starring with pure love in her eyes.  Sometimes gentle, sometimes intense, always with loving sentiment shinning through.  She’ll tenderly drop her head back down to rest on your collar, nuzzling closer, so content.

Nothing says “I love you” from a dog better than a couch cuddle.

CHOCOLATE ADULTERESS

Nothing says ‘sex’ like a taste of chocolate!  Serve with a port or Cognac.

CAKE MIXTURE

  • 1 lb. sweet chocolate
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. flour

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.  Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat.  Meanwhile, place the un-cracked eggs in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes.  Crack and combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high-speed for 8 to 10 minutes, or, until tripled in volume.  Sift the flour on top.  Fold into the eggs.  Stir 1/4 of the egg mixture into the chocolate.  Carefully fold the chocolate into the remaining eggs until thoroughly combined.

Pour into the prepared cake pan.  Bake for 2o minutes.  The cake will still be slightly soft int he middle.  cool completely in the pan.  Cover and refrigerate in the pan overnight.  May be frozen for up to two weeks.

RASPBERRY SAUCE

  • 8 oz. raspberries, fresh
  • Superfine sugar to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish
  • Mint sprigs for garnish

Puree the raspberries and strain.  Add just enough sugar to sweeten.  Pour the cream and vanilla  in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until firm.  Invert the cake onto a serving platter.  Cut into wedges and place on a pool of raspberry sauce, garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

100 lb. lap dog

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When our litter of Berner puppies were barely two days old and just under two pounds each, we bundled them up in a padded, warm carrier, and along with mamma, brought them in to the vet’s to have their dew claws removed. If removed in the first week of life, dew claws are still soft like a fingernail and can be removed relatively easily with no stitches required.  I sat in the back seat to keep an eye on the pack as Malcolm drove into town to the clinic.  Tiamo kept an eye on me,  not trusting and unsure of the process, she was an anxious mamma, agitated we were moving her pups.  Three hours later we were back home, the lit’ tykes happily nursing, Tiamo calm now that she had her puppies under her care.

Dibs on the front seat

Dibs on the front seat

Eight weeks later we brought them back to the vet’s for their first set of shots – DHPP which includes Distemper, Parvo, Parainfluenza, and Heartworm prevention.  Malcolm had prepped the SUV, back seats laid down and lined with a tarp for “accidents”, he loaded up eight roly-poly, tail-wagging, wiggling puppies, each weighing from the low-to-high twentys’, into the car.  To the puppies, it was their first official car ride, a new adventure in a new setting.  With Malcolm driving, I rode shotgun, half-turned in my seat to keep an eye on the little souls.  Eight little noses immediately started sniffing and exploring the inside of the car.  Tails straight up, their little noses wrinkling as they would catch an unfamiliar new scent, they searched out every nook and cranny in the car.  Dolce was the first explorer to find her way up into the front seat territory.  She started with two white-capped paws on the hard plastic console, wobbling between the padded edge of the back seat and the middle arm rest as she tried to advance.  Stretched out and stuck fast, I caught her just as she was about to do a backwards tumble into the black hole called the floor and placed her on my lap.  Safe and secure, she nestled in between my legs, occasionally standing to peek out the window, only to plop back down on my lap with a contented sigh.  It was the start of Dolce’s fascination with the front seat and sitting on my lap.

Bigger and heavier by many pounds, by week twelve, most of the puppies had left for their new homes, leaving Amore and Dolce, the two puppies we kept.  It was time for another round of shots, their DHPP booster and their Bordetella, Lepto and Lyme vaccines, requiring another trip to the vet’s.  Once again, Malcolm folded the back seats down, laid a tarp over the back-end and loaded up the girls.  As they muscled their way around the car, excited to be on another car ride, I climbed into the passenger seat.  I had barely clicked my seat-belt when a cold wet nose nudged my elbow.  Wiggling under my arm, Dolce had barreled her way onto my lap.  35 pounds of determined canine snuggled up on my lap, her paws hanging over my knees, her tail happily whacking Malcolm as he drove.  Dolce had found her spot – my lap.

As Dolce and Amore continued grow, so did their love of travel.  Using the 65 rule, the equation is simple:  6 months old = 65 lbs. = 65 mph.  =  a 65 minute trip in the car + Dolce sitting at a sixty-five degree angle on my lap.  As soon as they hear the car keys jingle, they are out the door and in the car, with Dolce readily claiming dibs on the front.  All under 6.5 seconds.  I’d have to scoot Dolce over just to sit down, she’d wait for the click of the seat-belt and be right back on my lap two seconds later.  There is no such thing as “sneaking out” to go to the store.  Words such as “CAR”, “STORE” and “TOWN” have to be spelled out or written down.  At 65 pounds, Dolce does not fit on my lap.  Though uncomfortable and cramped, she is bound and determined to park herself between the console and the passenger door with me sitting underneath.  There are times when I purposely sit in the back seat, allowing Dolce full acreage on the front seat.

Full grown at 98 pounds, Dolce still wants to sit with me – scratch that – on me,  in the passenger seat.  Head scrunched down, rear end sitting on the arm rest, paws dangling down to the floor board, drivers passing us look with open mouth awe as they look through into the front window and see the sight.  A 100 pound lap dog as happy as can be.

Friday nights

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Friday. 5:00 p.m.  Time to close up shop.  Time to shut down the computer, turn off the copier and printer.  Time to head home to the hubby and dogs and start the weekend.

About two years, on a Friday in early summer, I was doing exactly that, shutting off lights and grabbing my keys to head out the door, when the phone rang, a distraught member on the line, frantic that their entire brokerage was unable to access the forms library.  To a REALTOR, this is bad –  really bad –  especially with the weekend looming in the background.  I dropped back down into my office chair and began damage control.  It was two hours later before I was able to correct their “user” error.  In the middle of their crisis, I phoned home to let Malcolm know I’d be late and to hold off on dinner.  It had been a long week just made longer, but I was able to keep 200 brokers in business for the weekend.  I locked up the office and headed home……

A half-hour later I walked in the house.  I was tired, hungry and grouchy and there was my sweet, wonderful husband, waiting for me at the door, a blended margarita with salt in his hand, the dogs eagerly awaiting to be allowed to hug me in their welcome home attack, a platter of appetizers (okay, cheese and salami with salsa) sitting on the kitchen counter.  Malcolm grabbed my purse and handed me my drink with orders to go outside and sit on the lounger on the portal.  The girls followed me outside and waited for me to get comfortable.  Once settled, Dolce immediately crawled up on the long wicker lounge, curled up between my legs and put her head on my lap.  Tiamo sat by my side, getting her ears gently rubbed as Malcolm and I caught up on the week’s happenings.  One margarita led to two, cheese and salami ended up being dinner,  we watched the sun set over the Sandia’s while the tension eased and I was able to relax.  Dolce never lifted her head from my lap, Tiamo never left my side.  Amore would amble over every so often throughout the night ensuring all was well.  Malcolm and I talked until well after all the stars were lit and sparkling.  It was one of the best nights ever and the start of our “wine nights”.

The following Friday, I was able to head out for the weekend without any phone calls or delays.  On my drive home from work, I called Malcolm and asked that he uncork a bottle of red wine and pour two glasses, I’d be home soon.  Summers in Santa Fe are gorgeous – it’s our monsoon season, afternoon showers help cool down the day’s heat and create some spectacular sunsets, showing off the colors of the sky as it opens the door to the night.   Malcolm had put together another tray of hor de oeuvres which we nibbled on throughout the night.  We sat outside on the portal, the dogs at our feet, content in hearing our voices as we conversed, sipping on our wine.

We have continued  our Friday night wine nights ever since.  On occasion we invite friends and neighbors over to join us, but mostly it the two us and the girls.  On cold winter nights we will light a fire while we enjoy a warm toddy, Dolce always by my side.  Since Tiamo’s passing, Amore has taken to laying down at my feet, keeping them warm, letting me know she is right there.   She’ll lift her head when she hears a car drive by, check out what’s happening when Malcolm gets up to add another log on the fire and come right back to me, leaning up against my feet.   Eventually, she’ll roll over and start to snore, relaxed and at ease.  I believe the girls enjoy the evenings as much as we do.   I believe they hear the cadence of our voices, the low tones of our words and know their family is all right.  All’s well.

Start your own Friday night tradition with these Blackberry – Poblano Margaritas.  The deep purple color is a stunner!

Blackberry – Poblano Margaritas

  • 3 tbsp fresh blackberries (ok to use frozen berries)
  • 2 tbsp finely diced poblano peppers (seeds and membrane discarded)
  • 2 oz silver tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz Cointreau

Muddle the blackberries and poblano peppers in a cocktail shaker.  Add a tablespoon of superfine sugar if the berries need a little sweetening, at this point.  Add the tequila, Cointreau and ice and shake.  Strain into two margarita glasses filled with ice.

May substitute with raspberries, blueberries or a combination of berries.  To avoid pulp or seeds in your glass, strain before serving.

 

 

 

 

The Buddy Gang!

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Shoulder to shoulder

Malcolm has a group of friends he has known since grade school – over 50 years of friendship and camaraderie.  Known among themselves as the Buddy Gang, their bonds of friendship has survived and grown throughout high school, college, marriages, kids, jobs and Saturday night poker games.  One or two members of the gang has moved out of the country, one or two has moved out-of-state.  Most have stayed in Atlanta, separated only by asphalt with yellow-dotted strips and  divided only by the Tech-Bulldog game. Game day is a bevy of phone calls, dog jokes and yelling at the television.   By 4th quarter, the Lipton Onion soup dip with Ruffle Potato Chips and the Pale Ale beer has been reduced to a messy bowl, an empty chip bag and several drained bottles. If Tech wins, it’s a good day in Santa Fe – when the Dawgs conquer, I get to hear about it for days, those bastards!

Gray hair and lack of hair is the beta test for growing older, wrinkles and beer bellies are now the norm.    Not only are their jokes locational and generational…. ERGER!  The repeated stories of their glory days and youth have grown longer and a bit more fictional.  On occasion, an old girl friend’s name rises to the surface of conversation, classmates are remembered, past teachers are read about in the obits.  Hot chicks and cold beer have been replaced with chicken wings and a slighty chilled Chardonnay, a night out at the pub has become less expensive, arriving home earlier in the night,  wire-rimmed 1.50+ readers adorn their foreheads instead of headbands and Malcolm’s rockin’ Volkswagen bus is now a Toyota Prius.  Life has brought a multiple of changes to each one and yet, their friendship remains intact, solid and strong.  Unbreakable.  Undeniable.

Birthdays bring a round of emails and drinks full of best wishes and good cheer.  The youngest member of the gang reminding his elders of which they will always older.  A death in the family brings a shoulder, a hug, and a reality check to all of what matters most.

Emails and Skype connect the distance in their lives – phone calls and visits bring them together.  On the rare occasions when they are all together at one time, the conversation is reminiscent and loud… really loud!  An outsider would never know they hadn’t seen each other in months, or in some cases, years.  They pick up right where they left off, months and years later, pounds heavier.  Even with miles and time between them, there isn’t a doubt in any of their minds that the others are there for them and each other. A lifetime of friendship.  A friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Nelson, Murrey, Josh, Michael, Ken, David & Malcolm –  Shoulder to shoulder, the buddy gang will be friends for life.

 

 

 

 

Curfew

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Prior to Tiamo, we had Thugs.  A cat.  A big cat.  A big cat with black tuffs on his ears and beautiful green eyes.  He had gray, white and black swirls on his sides and strips on his tail.  He was a cat that was king of his domain and by gawd,  he knew it.  He was unusual and unique.  Born into a barn cat litter, Thugs was the “bully” of the bunch.  He was a little Thug in the true sense of the word.  As a kitten, he would pounce on his litter mates, playing rough and acting tough.  As an adult cat, he would sit on his perch and give us a look of pure disdain.  Thugs was a great mouser and lizard chaser.  We would find remnants of his hunt on our front door step.  He tolerated being picked up but loved being petted, He mellowed as he aged, he loved to sit on Malcolm’s firm six-pack abs (hee hee) as Malcolm read the New York Times on the couch.  Cold mornings would find him curled up on our down pillows next to us, basking the comfort of the blanket’s warmth, evenings he would follow us from room to room waiting for us to go to bed.

He was 14 years old when we moved to New Mexico, land of bobcats, coyotes, snakes,  and cactus.  Most felines in New Mexico don’t live much longer than a few years, especially if they sneak outdoors when the back-door gets opened.  Thugs had already outlived his life expectancy for New Mexico by many, many years and now he was now on the bottom tier of the food chain.  But he was savvy and smart and stayed safe and he had a curfew.  We incorporated the 10 and 4 rule.  Thugs could only be outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Luckily, he usually stayed close to the house or napped on the portal.

Thugs wasn’t too happy with us when we brought Tiamo into the family.  He let Tiamo know real quick who was the boss with sharp claws to Tiamo’s curious nose within 5 minutes of being introduced.  Tiamo learned to keep her distance and in the beginning wouldn’t come into the room if Thugs was already there.  Tiamo would sit in the doorway, waiting for Thugs to move far enough away for her to enter.  If Thugs was on the couch, Tiamo would give him a wide berth around, eyeing the distance between cat claws and her nose.  Once Thugs trapped Tiamo in the utility room.  Laying down in the middle of the entryway, Thugs calmly cleaned himself, while Tiamo was nervously trying to figure out how to get around him and out of the room.  Within three months, they were inseparable.  Where Thugs went, Tiamo followed.  At five months, Thugs was strolling underneath Tiamo’s belly and at 9 months we would find them curled up together, Thugs gently purring, Tiamo emitting soft snores as she lay sleeping.  When they both were on the bed, Thugs would knead Tiamo until one of them would tired of the motion and jump off the bed.

At 17, Thugs was still going strong, abet slower, he had some hearing loss, and his vision was less clear.  Tiamo became his protector.  If Thugs was outside, Tiamo was his shadow, following Thugs through the junipers and chamiso, keeping tabs on his whereabouts.  When Thug’s 4 o’clock curfew hit, we would call Tiamo to “go get Thugs”.  Tiamo would round-up Thugs and herd him into the house.  “Find Thugs” was one of Tiamo’s favorite games.  Come close to curfew time and Tiamo would be sitting by the door, tail wagging, eagerly waiting to go “Find Thugs”.

When Thugs was 19 years old, he was too old to be let out.  He slept most of the time but could still jump up on the bed and knead Tiamo.  At 21 years, our little bully was aged and tired.  Eating less, losing weight, Thug’s curfew was up.  He lived to the ripe ol’ age of 21, almost 22 years of age. Twenty-one years!  Amazing!

Thugs was an amazing cat.  Tiamo and Thugs had an amazing friendship.  We should be so fortunate to have a companion to knead.

 

 

 

Sam

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Malcolm and I don’t have children – we have dogs.  Use to be three, now two huge, wonderful, sweet, spoiled brats.  Like most parents with real kids, Tiamo, the first one, was easy to raise and didn’t give us any trouble.  We spent hours training her, socializing her, correcting her, loving her.   Santa Fe is a dog friendly town, permitting canines on leash most everywhere and we took her everywhere that allowed dogs.  Tiamo would sit at our feet while we sat outside eating lunch at cafe’s and bistros. She loved to watch the other patrons, always hoping there might be other dogs around.  She was so well-behaved, little nippers would climb all over her and she loved the attention.  She loved people and other animals, especially cats. Most of all, she LOVED Sam.

Sam was our nephew and was loved like a son.  In many ways, he was the kid we never had.  One freezing cold January day Sam arrived in Santa Fe, shirtless and in flip-flops, for a short weekend visit.  He ended up staying.  He was 23 years, not even a quarter of a century old, and traveling through life, while we were both fast approaching the half-dollar mark and getting ready to slide down the other side.  One week later, Sam moved into our household.  I had someone new to spoil, while  Malcolm had someone new to impart wisdom and advise to.   Not having kids, we loved the fact he came diaper free and with manners.  He was trained.  The three of us became a family.

When Malcolm was turning 50, I surprised him with a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  Born on Thanksgiving Day, Tiamo joined our new family when she was 10 weeks old.  We all instantly fell in love with her, especially Sam, although I think he originally saw her as a chick magnet with four legs.  I mean, seriously, what female under 80 and not blind would not fall in love with a Bernese puppy!  Sam took part in Tiamo’s training.  He assisted in walking her, grooming her and teaching her to sit, along with other commands.  When Sam later moved into town, I think he missed Tiamo more than he missed us.  I know Tiamo missed him something fierce.  She would go absolutely nuts when Sam came to visit and wouldn’t leave his side.  Tiamo would have this goofy grin on her face when Sam showed up.  Her eyes would light up and she would prance around, showing off for Sam.  Sam always brought her a treat.  Something special just for her.  It got so, every time Sam came, she would go for the pocket, nosing her muzzle, sniffing for her treat.   Tiamo was the happiest when the four of us were together.  She would grab her toy of the week, gnawing on it while laying at our feet, listening to our voices as we caught up on our lives.  Her family together.

Sam loved the outdoors.  Even on the coldest of days, he and Malcolm would sit outside, watching the sun set, sharing a bottle of wine, discussing life.  They would pull up two wooden rocking chairs to the edge of the portal, facing west, and observe the day’s colors fade from blue to orange to black.  Tiamo at their feet.  They would still be talking as the stars turned on their lights.  Tiamo was content to be with her “boys”.  Some nights, they would light a small fire in the chiminea for warmth.  Other times, they would gently rock their chairs to the cadence of their conversation, low murmurs that eased Tiamo into a soft sleep.   During the summer months, Sam and Malcolm would take Tiamo for midnight walks when it had cooled down from the day’s heat.  Tiamo LOVED Sam.

Five years ago, Sam passed away at the young age of 27.  The first year, after Sam’s death, was the hardest.  Malcolm and I had to re-adjust our family back down to two with a dog.   Along with Tiamo, we had to re-adjust to never seeing Sam again.  We all mourned.  We all missed Sam.  Like barbed wire wrapped around our hearts, we felt every razor-sharp prong squeezing into our sorrow.  Our hearts were sad, bruised and beat up.  The following spring after Sam’s death, I started a memorial garden.  West of our portal, in full view of the day’s end, I planted shrubs and flowers in every color of the sun’s wink good night.  It is a continual work in progress.  I have since laid flagstone, moved the chiminea to the middle of the stonework and added birdhouses and yard art to commemorate the joy of life.  Bright colors surround the garden, flowers edge the stone’s perimeter, pine trees and junipers provide shade and add a wind break.  It has become a happy place.

Five months ago, we had to put Tiamo down.  Cancer.  Heart-wrenching.  Sad.  We had two weeks to prepare for the finality of losing her.  Malcolm chose an area in the memorial garden where Tiamo loved to lay while Sam and Malcolm solved the world’s problems.   He started to dig her burial plot.  As Malcolm dug, Tiamo laid by the deepening hole and watched, silently giving us her acceptance of what was to come.   She was ready.  We buried Tiamo in her favorite spot, shaded by junipers and surrounded by color.  She is deeply missed.

I would like to believe Sam and Tiamo are in their happy place together.  Tiamo has her “Sam” to play with, sniffing out an endless supply of treats from his pockets, prancing around in a field of soft green clover.  Sam has Tiamo, keeping him company while he enjoys the outdoors.

Sam at sunset

Sam at sunset

 

Happy Birthday! shasta, cherry, butterfly, tough guy, big apple, little apple, pinkie & polka dot

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Today our little liter puppies turn 28 years old, or for those that aren’t good at division – four years old!  I remember when we bred Tiamo….

A very pregnant mama!

We had located a male Berner that was intact and waited until Tiamo was two years old, we had done all the tests and sent them off to OFA for evaluation. The wait was on for Tiamo to enter into her heat cycle.  Right before 4th of July she was ready!  Talk about fireworks, we brought her to her new boyfriend and it was love at first sight.  Five weeks later, I brought Tiamo to the vet for an ultrasound to confirm her pregnancy.  I was told she would have four pups and she should have her little ones around Labor Day. After the vet visit, I stopped at the pet store and bought 4 little collars wrapping them in tissue.  When we got home, Tiamo carried the tissue wrapped collars right up to Malcolm and dropped the package onto his lap.  She then nudged Malcolm in the leg until he unwrapped his gift.  It only took a nano-second for Malcolm to figure out it was official.  Tiamo was pregnant!  Both Malcolm and Tiamo had huge grins on their faces!

Tiamo had an easy pregnancy.  Every night while she was preggers, she would crawl up next to me, snuggle in, roll over and get her belly rubbed.  As August inched closer to September, Malcolm and I built Tiamo a whelping pen,  got towels and blankets ready for the big event,  and waited.  I counted the days off on the calendar so we could narrow down the date she should go into labor and prayed I would be home when she started.   Tiamo was getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  She was so uncomfortable that for the first time she couldn’t get up on the couch.  I resorted to laying down on the hard brick floor with her to rub her belly.  I wanted her to have a normal birthing experience.  I had read horror stories of dogs going into labor at 2 in the morning.  I read about emergency c-sections and puppies not making it.  I think Malcolm and I were more nervous than Tiamo was.

The first Friday of September, out of the clear blue, Tiamo crawled into her whelping pen.  She sniffed all the corners, rearranged the blankets and slept in the pen all night.  She knew the pen was for her!  The next morning, she started doing the nesting routine and at 9:00 a.m. her water broke.  Bless her heart, our sweet mama had waited until mid-morning on the weekend to have her little pups.  Within an hour, the first pup had been born, hale and healthy.  Tiamo instinctively did her job.  Every hour hence, Tiamo’s contractions would push a new little pup into the world.  At 1:00 p.m. she was done.  Four girls!  Licked clean and learning how to nurse.  Tiamo welcomed her little girls into their new world and settled into motherhood.  About three hours later, Tiamo started getting restless,  turning around in circles and being agitated.   Lord have mercy! she was having another puppy, and another and another and another!  Again, like clock work, every hour, another puppy would arrive.  Eight!  She had eight puppies!  Seven girls and one boy!  All this time we thought she was going to keep it at four!  Mother and puppies were all healthy and doing great.  They all were nursing, they all were warm, they were all clean.  The puppies were weighed and documented and were sound asleep.  We were exhausted.

Tiamo was the proudest mother.  She loved showing off her brood.  The neighborhood was so excited we had to set up visiting hours.  Tiamo stayed with her liter all day and night except for when she needed to go outside.   The puppies were rapidly growing and getting more active.  By week two their eyes were starting to open and by week three, Shasta (aka Amore) was trying to climb out of the whelping pen.  Life as we knew it was over!

tail count – 8

We had homes for the first four puppies, however, we were now scrambling to find placement for the others.  By the second week of November, the puppies were leaving for their next adventure.  All but two pups had families eagerly waiting for them. We had always planned on keeping one of Tiamo puppies and now we had two.  Shasta and Pinkie. Amore and Dolce.  We would find a family that wanted a puppy and for some reason or another, at the last-minute they wouldn’t be able to take her.  A week turned into a month, around Christmas time, Malcolm and I looked at each and knew we couldn’t give away our extra little girl.  We decided to keep two puppies! It was a Christmas gift to ourselves.  A type of  “to-me-from-me” present.   Three dogs:  Mama and her two adventurous puppies!  All spoiled!  Wow!  Little did we know the upheaval three dogs would bring!

Would we do it all over again?  may be not.  Would we change one second of the last four years?  Never!  Tiamo and her two little girls have brought so much joy into our lives, so much adventure, so many smiles to our hearts.  Malcolm swears if we ever win the lotto, he is going to get 10 Bernese Mountain Dogs and breed every one of them.  To Tiamo’s last day, she received a daily belly rub.  To this day – Happy Birthday Girls!

Peanut Butter Kongs!

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The best-ever puppy sitter!

It’s Labor Day weekend.  One last family gathering, one last BBQ, one last picnic.

It’s Labor Day weekend.  The last of the garden has been harvested, all the fruit has been picked, red, white and blue decorations has been replaced with pumpkins and foliage.

It’s Labor Day weekend.  The last weekend before the pool closes.  The last weekend of tourist season.  The last weekend of summer.  Summer homes and cabins are closed up for the coming of winter, shorts and swimsuits are put away until next spring, cool refreshing salads are replaced with hearty soups and stews.

It’s Labor Day weekend.  It’s potato salad, slaw and beans.  It’s watermelon and homemade ice cream.  It’s hotdogs and ribs on the grill, smoke curling up through the trees, the aroma of grilled meat lightly flavoring the air.  It’s dogs underfoot and under the table, hoping to score a dropped hotdog or a rib bone or two.  It’s three Bernese Mountain Dogs praying someone will toss them a bone.  It’s three dogs, each hoping to grab the bone before the other two dogs discover who has the prize.   It’s discovering dog bones might be good puppy sitters, but the vet bill is much, much more expensive….

Now, when we go over to friends for BBQ, and we want the girls to be on their best behavior while we are gone, we bribe them with Kongs.  Filled with peanut butter and placed in the freezer, Frozen Peanut Butter Kongs can keep the girls entertained for hours while we enjoy our night out.  Tiamo would grab hers and run for her special spot in the middle of the living room.  Amore takes her Kong into the bedroom to her dog pillow and Dolce jumps over the couch on to her blanket, the Kong clenched tightly in her jaws.  Not a peep is heard out of the dogs except the slurping and licking while mauling the Kongs to get to the cold treat inside.  About an hour later, Tiamo moseys’ over to Amore and Dolce, slyly investigating to see if they are still working on their Kongs, and unsuccessfully trying to steal their treat.  Amore covers her Kong with her paw, not letting Tiamo close enough to be in grabbing distance.  Dolce has taken to the habit of carrying her Kong with her where ever she goes, not willing to risk one of the other dogs taking her Kong.

PBK’s are our new puppy sitter.  It is the only time, the girls don’t care if they are left behind at home.  In fact, they are so excited at the prospect of a PBK, they can’t wait for us to leave.  And, let me tell ya, they know when there is a possibility of getting a Kong.  They know the sound of the freezer door opening and sound of rummaging around for the Kongs.  The minute we hand them their Kong, we don’t even exist.  Each dog is in their own Peanut Butter nirvana.

It’s Labor Day weekend:  BBQ, Ice cream and Peanut Butter Kongs!

PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2  cups chunky peanut butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • rock salt
  • ice

In a double boiler, bring the water to boil.  Combine sugar, chocolate chips, and whole milk in top of double boiler.  Reduce heat to low, and cook until sugar is dissolved and chocolate chips are melted, stirring occasionally.  Stir in peanut butter and eggs, remove from heat.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix until completely blended.

Pour mixture into freezer container (3 quart size).  Place freezer in the ice cream bucket and add about 4 inches of ice in the space between the freezer and bucket.  Layer ice with 1/2 cup of so of salt.  continue laying ice and salt to the top of the bucket.  Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.  When freezer stops, remove the freezer paddle from the container and place container in freezer for at least an hour before serving.

 

WARNING:  Do not let dogs near peanut butter jar.  Has been known to disappear.

 

 

 

Counter-surfing: A Dog Burglar Sport!

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Licking the pumpkin can

Tiamo was taught early on not to beg.  We were especially carefully not to feed her table craps or human food.  She knew the rules and she obeyed them, or so we thought….

As soon as we left the room or our backs were turned, mischief happened. Leave something tasty on the counter and she’d be waiting in the wings.  Tiamo had an alarmingly keen sense of timing, so specialized and perfected, she could lift a whole loaf of pumpkin bread off the counter without dropping a crumb and be out the dog door before you returned.  She could transport a filled glass creamer 20 yards to the doggy door and out to the pen without spilling a drop of evidence.  Her specialty was cookies.  Since she only took one, most times I didn’t realize there was one less of a dozen.  And, if I suspected a thief, all I had to do was look to my husband – a likely culprit.

Tiamo was wise.  She knew not to look suspicious. No guilty look, no “if-I-can’t-see-you-you-can’t-see-me” covering of the eyes, no hiding in the corner.  She hid her crimes in the open.  Or, if she knew she might get busted, she would lay down on the goods, hiding them under her belly and poise innocently.  Her Oscar performances usually led me to scold Amore and Dolce.  Oh, she was good!  So good, she knew to paw the canisters back into position after shoving them out of the way to grab the hidden treasure.  We learned not to thaw out steaks on the counter, leave bread out or wait to wash the dishes until later.  Later meant the dinner menu needed to be changed.

A while back, I had asked my husband to pull out some hamburger from the freezer to thaw for dinner.  He placed the meat in the back of the counter well out of reach from sniffing noses and searching paws.  Unfortunately, he forgot to move the step-stool used to reach for items on the top shelf in the cabinets.  No surprise here.  Tiamo had climbed on the stool and was licking the frozen hamburger.  When she realized she was busted, she grabbed the frozen block of meat  in her jaws and ran through the dog door.  By the time, we had gone around the pen, she had gulped down the hamburger and was licking off the left-overs.

Her favorite was Pumpkin Bread.  Time and time again, she found ways to snarf the loaf off the counter.  The below recipe is in honor of Tiamo.

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

“yummm, pummmpkinnn, our favorite!” – Tiamo, Amore and Dolce

  • 2 cups Bisquick mix
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 – 12oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup solid packed canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the above ingredients and mix well.  Lightly grease a non-stick griddle and heat to a medium heat, about 375 degrees.  Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pancake mix onto griddle.

Cook until top surface is bubbly and edges are lightly browned.  Flip over and cook other side the same.  Remove from griddle and serve with honey butter and/or warm maple syrup.

Who’s who….?

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People often ask us how we tell the “girls” apart. Sometimes even we get confused.

Of course, this usually resulted in Dolce being accused of something Amore did or Tiamo getting away with a no-no. When they were puppies, we never knew which one had committed the crime. Today we know they are all in cahoots together.

Tiamo, the mother, had a deep-barreled chest and a more queenly stature. She had a prance in her walk, like a model walking down the catwalk. She will always be our “girl.”

Amore has a bit more spice in her personality. Always on the go, always has to run. She is the one who gulps her food down the fastest and the one who has seen the vet’s office the most.

Dolce is our sweetheart. With a thin white stripe on her forehead and almost no white on her tail, Dolce likes to hang with the old folks but is always first out the door and in the car.

… So, if you don’t know which dog is with you, just love the one you’re with.

Hello world!

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In my past life, I owned a catering business where people often asked me how I learned to cook.

My father, a cattle rancher from the central coast of California, was one of the originators of the “Santa Maria-style BBQ” back in the 1950s. He was fortunate to be able to combine his love of food with his gift for gab; weekends often included invitations to dinner for friends and neighbors. Dad would barbeque his famous beef tri-tips and mother would put us kids to work in the kitchen, making salads, beans and casseroles. It was the start of my cooking lessons.

Years later, I started catering on my own and opened my business, Divine Bovine. I custom-catered small cocktail parties, fancy galas, annual dinners, intimate dinners for two and fundraising events for 750 attendees. I catered lunch for Al Gore, then Vice President of the United States; other congressmen and political hopefuls; Steve Young, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers; and a very close friend of Julia Child. I gave cooking lessons to children and taught cooking classes for adults, all with standing room only. Rarely did I serve the same entrée twice.

Three file cabinets crammed with recipes and 237 cookbooks later, I closed my catering business, married the love of my life and moved to New Mexico. I swore I would never work nights, weekends or holidays again.

Little did I know how that would change the minute I gave my husband a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for his 50th birthday. Named Tiamo, the newest member of our family had us wrapped around every one of her paws within five minutes of bringing her home. Every day was an adventure for Tiamo: there were books to chew, magazines to rip up and wooden spoons to carry from room to room. Friends would fight over who held Tiamo’s leash on walks. Neighborhood kids would randomly drop by to pet her. She was the darling of the community and our hearts.

Tiamo knew not to beg for table scraps, but she was quick to lick up any tasty tidbit that fell to the floor. We learned Tiamo had a keen ability to counter-surf, quickly and quietly. Cartons of cream would go missing, only to be found empty in another room. Cookies cooling on racks would be one fewer of a dozen. Licked-clean butter plates would be discovered under couch pillows. Then she was busted — caught in the act with one paw reaching for the goods! At two in the morning, we were awakened by a big crash; Tiamo had crawled up on the kitchen table to lick up crumbs.Anyone who has ever owned a dog has had a similar experience: turning your back for just a few minutes, resulting in missing ingredients while cooking and a look that says, “Who, me?”

My love of cooking for family, friends, and my enjoyment of Tiamo’s humorous antics while sniffing for a fallen crumb has produced a cookbook designed to bring compliments to the chef and smiles from the cook … along with a tasty morsel for your dog.

Yes, cooking and dogs do go together. A stray dog hair never hurt anyone!

Tiamo

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Tiamo

the start of it all….