I’m serious here!

1 Comment
if it falls on the floor, it's mine!

if it falls on the floor, it’s mine!

I often joke about our dogs in the kitchen.  Either their counter-surfing antics in the kitchen or their sneaky stealth of cookies and pumpkin bread off a cooling rack.  I add humor about Tiamo eating and then hiding the cream carton or the butter dish.  I laugh about Dolce doing a “drive-by” in the kitchen, searching for crumbs and tasty treats.  I jest about cooking and nibbles that fall to the floor.  As my cookbook title states, If it falls on the floor, all bets are off and it’s theirs!

My previous blog postings cite humorous and funny stories of Tiamo, Dolce and Amore fighting over food scraps.  I write about our life with three 100 pound Bernese Mountain dogs and attempt to inject humor, entertaining the reader.

But, on a serious note, there are many foods that are detrimental to a dog’s health and life.  I devote a whole page in the front of my cookbook on foods that should never, ever be given to your dog.  Today I want to emphasis the many foods canine need to avoid.   I’m serious here!

Please be careful when you allow your precious pets in the kitchen. With all the tasty treats we receive over the holidays from friends and family, it’s easy to leave something out on the counter, within easy grasp of a greedy muzzle.  Dogs believe in the two second rule.  You have less than two seconds (more like a nano-second) to recover anything that drops to the floor.  Once a dog has fixated on that treat, there is no stopping’em!  The smells, odors and scents of these treats are tantalizing to them.  In spades.  Have pity on our canine friends and remove the temptation.

You have my permission to re-post, and/or copy and paste the chart below.  I’m serious.  Pass it on!

1229972_312868178854220_1699019798_n

For delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

Questers of the Truth

Leave a comment

I was eight when I found myself at the crossroads of Christmas belief.  The perilous intersection where believing in Santa meets the acceptance of reality.  I hung on with child-like confidence that my schoolyard friends were mistaken, my older siblings were wrong, that there truly was a Santa and reindeer and the North Pole.   I didn’t like being laughed at for ‘still’ believing.  Santa had to be real.  I desperately wanted him to be real, but I definitely didn’t want to the last one to learn the truth.

My parents promoted the loud charade of Santa, giving credence to my conviction in Mr. Claus.  Candy filled stockings, milk and cookies for Santa, even hay for the reindeer were utter proof to my young years that Santa Claus was real.  Whispered, “better be good for Santa” rang in my ears, while Holiday carols spewed from the car radio.  Everywhere I turned was evidence that Santa existed.  How dare my classmates tease me that there wasn’t a Santa Claus!

Every member of our family had a red felt stocking, handmade by our mother, with our names sewn on the top.   They hung on the wooden mantle above the fireplace just waiting to be filled by the jolly ol’ man.  Even our dogs had specially stitched stockings that were bursting with rawhide treats by Christmas morn.  I certainly didn’t want Santa to go away, leaving me an empty stocking.  If I didn’t believe, would Santa skip our house?  Would our stockings be packed away, never again to be filled chockfull of candy and toys?

On the eve of Christmas, my mother would assist my sisters and I in placing a tall glass of milk and a plate of homemade cookies on the hearth, our carefully handwritten wish lists arranged by its side.  Snicker doodles, Russian wedding cakes, candy cane cookies piled high on a large red platter, tasty treats for St. Nick.  For weeks, Mother could be found in the kitchen, baking the most wonderful holiday confections; letting each of us kids select our favorite cookie to make.  If I didn’t believe in Santa, would mother quit baking sweets, my eight-year old brain frantically wondered?  Would the warm cinnamon scent waffling through the house fade away?  Would there be no special dessert served after our Christmas Day dinner?  Would we still celebrate Christmas?

A few days before Christmas, Father would bring home a huge bale of hay.  “Fodder for the reindeer”, he’d grunt, as he was hefting the heavy bale from the back of the pickup truck.  Under the bright outdoor Christmas lights, he’d scatter the flakes of hay about the front yard.  Eight large hay mounds tagged for the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh and a special one for Rudolf.  Once he directed us to place apples on top of the alfalfa claiming they needed extra energy for their long night delivering presents around the world. If I didn’t believe in Santa Claus, who would feed the reindeer?  Would Christmas go away? Would anyone care?

For forty some-odd years, I’ve sat at the junction of believing and not-quite believing.  Do I continue on the magical journey, keeping my faith in the magic of Santa?  Do I take a sharp right turn, jostling the memories of filled stockings, homemade cookies and hay for the reindeer before packing them tightly away in the trunk?  Last year the decision was taken out of my hands.

My husband and I were asked to play Mr. and Mrs. Claus for a large family Christmas gathering.  We were given a beautiful Santa suit, specially selected presents for the children, and directions on where and when to show up.  My husband practiced his “Ho Ho Ho’s” while I made a list of all the “good” children’s names that would be attending.

The bright red Santa suit was fur trimmed and embellished with tall black boots, a wide thick belt, and a red velvet hat.  White woolen gloves, a snow-white beard and hairpiece, old-fashioned wire-rimmed glasses along with a padded under belly pillow completed the costume.  As my husband was dressing for the part, our two Bernese Mountain Dogs came in to investigate, sniffing at the strange red velvet material and pristine fur adorning the edges.  I grabbed the camera, begging my husband to sit with the dogs for a brief photo op and quickly snapped some pictures before we needed to be on our way.

It was weeks later that I remembered to upload the pictures to the computer.  January was getting ready to turn into February before I had the time to flip through the shots I had taken.  Christmas had long passed, the tree taken down, the holiday decorations put away.  The spirit of Christmas had disappeared into worrying about paying the bills.  I sat at the computer and pulled up the pictures from Christmas.

questers of the truth

questers of the truth

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson once said, “Questers of the truth, that’s who dogs are; seekers after the invisible scent of another being’s authentic core.”   I looked at the first photo on the screen, seeing our two Berners with Santa.

The opening photo revealed our dogs, Dolce and Amore, nestled beside Santa, glazing up at him with wonder.  They were enchanted with Father Christmas, enthralled with his inner spirit, his big heart, his jolly laugh.  The adoration in their eyes shone with true belief.  Santa’s authentic core was laid bare by the truest of seekers.   And, there was Santa, eyes closed, basking in the joy of unselfish affection, unconditional love.

I knew without a doubt, weeks into the new year when Christmas was a long past remembrance, it didn’t matter whether you are a just turned eight year old or way past the half-century mark, Santa was real and would be forever.

pawing

1 Comment
tuckered out

being famous is soooo exhausting!

Book signings, book tours, book readings.  Amore and Dolce would rather chew a book than attend a book fair.  They are tired of being paraded around, having to be on their best behavior, putting their white paw in it-doesn’t-wash-off ink to initial one of my cookbooks.  They are worn out from all the ‘meet n’ greets’ they have attended, from all the paw shaking, all the tail wagging.  They are fed up with pawing.  Put a fork in it, they are done!  Fini.  Through.  Over.

They are especially annoyed with the numerous showers they have suffered through in preparation for their appearances.  The strawberry scented shampoo (the store was out of un-scented), the loud fur dryers, the cute little red kerchief that I tie around their necks.  If they see me in my bathing suit, if they get a whiff of shampoo and see a huge pile of towels, if they get locked in the bathroom once again, I have no doubt they will revolt.  Stage a canine mutiny.  Quit the book-signing show.  Though there is nothing more precious than a fresh-from-their-bath dog, nothing more huggable than a clean one, but I think the girls have had enough.

Secretly, I know they enjoy the attention while pawing at the book signings, the extra love they receive from fellow dog lovers and cookbook lovers requesting a signed book.  They love showing off for us.  They are definitely not bashful when it comes to grabbing the spotlight.  I’ve seen Amore push Dolce aside when she wants center stage.  I’ve noticed the nose nudges from Dolce, reminding those petting her, while waiting in line, not to stop, there is plenty of light left in the day for them to continue rubbing her.

Nevertheless, they know the Holidays are here, and they know a signed cookbook is a much better gift than an unsigned one.  If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook makes for a perfect holiday present.  Personalized or left unsigned, Amore and Dolce will even dog-tag their favorite recipes for you!  Order yours today!

It's almost here!

Order your cookbook now – just in time for Christmas 

Print

For delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

snowflakes and mud

2 Comments

A tired dog is a happy owner!  And nothing tires out our girls more than snow.  Play time in the snow is probably Dolce and Amore’s number one favorite doings.  In the life of a dog, there is nothing better than a full belly, a warm bed and a romp in the snow.

A week after our big snow dump, most of the snow has melted but there are still patches to be found, snow angels to be made and fun to be had!  On the lookout for fresh snow, Malcolm and I took the girls on a new trail at the Galisteo Basin Preserve this weekend.  We knew the snow was getting thin, but certainly didn’t anticipate the amount of mud we would encounter.  Snow melt brings slush, and then comes the mud.   And more mud.  And then more mud.  As we swished down the trail, accumulating thick mud on our boots, Dolce and Amore took off like the wind.  They smelled fun!  They got a whiff of excitement and ran ahead like a bunch of banshees, barking for the sheer joy of dawggy play time!

Dolce immediately sniffed out a sizable plot of snow and began her rattle, roll and shake.  Angel time!  Amore followed suit, building her own snow angel.  Then it was a race to the next patch of powder.  They ran through Juniper and Pinon, leaping over small gulleys and rain carved-out arroyos in search of more snow.  They found it – along with a lot of mud, returning with mud capped paws and more.

The mud and the muck is worth it.  The look on their faces, the expression in their eyes – there is nothing more joyful than watching them play and seeing unadulterated happiness shine back at you.

Amore and Dolce - perfect angels!

Amore and Dolce – perfect angels! (not)

the race is on

the race is on

muddy paws and all

muddy paws and all

twist and roll!

a twist and a roll in the last of the snow

happy dawg

happy dawg

grins and smiles

grins and smiles

SNOWFLAKE COOKIES – a favorite at Christmas!

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into springs, these are a few of my favorite things!

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (do not use self-rising)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips – melted (and a few extra to nibble on)
  • Star shaped cookie cutter
  • powdered sugar

Mix sugar, butter, egg and vanilla well.  Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the butter mixture.  Let chill in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out the chilled cookie dough on a floured board and cut into star shapes.  Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.  Remove from oven when lightly brown.  Completely cool.

Place some melted chocolate in the middle of a star cookie.  While chocolate is still warm place another star cookie on top with the star points alternating with the bottom cookies.  Add a small dab of chocolate on the top cookie and sprinkle powdered sugar lightly over the finished cookie.

Keep under lock and key – husbands and dogs are  known to swipe one (or two!)

shake, rattle and roll

5 Comments

Sunday morning we awoke to a good nine inches of snow.  Throughout the night, a blanket of pristine white had covered our southwestern landscape.  The girls loved it – especially Dolce.  Her favorite winter sport is making snow angels.  She has perfected the art of finding the perfect spot to drop and roll, wiggling her paws for more leverage, then leaping up to shake off the snow dust.   Shake, rattle and roll, or I should say, rattle, roll and shake.

The girls played until Malcolm and I couldn’t handle the cold any longer.  Our cheeks rosy from the below freezing temps, our fingers near to frozen from the numerous times we had to take our gloves off, we lasted a mere 60 minutes before heading in to the coveted warmth of a roaring fire and some hot homemade soup.

searching for the perfect spot

searching for the perfect spot

dropping in the snow

dropping in the snow

the rattle and the roll

DSC00241

the shake

the happy snow angel maker

the happy snow angel maker

Salute to the first snow of the season!

WILD RICE WITH SMOKED SAUSAGE

perfect for cold snowy days – serve with a savory herbed scone or biscuit

  • 13 c chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1¼ c wild rice
  • 6¼ c frozen corn kernels (about 2½ lbs.), thawed
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. cooked Kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into ½ inch cubes/slices
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (or minced)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1½ c half and half cream
  • 1 c fresh parsley, chopped

Bring 5 cups of chicken broth to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Add wild rice and simmer until all the liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, about 45 minutes.   In a food processor, take 4 cups of the corn kernels and 1½ cups chicken broth and puree. Continue until smooth. You might need to do this in batches.

Heat oil in heavy, large cast-iron pan. Add sausage and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Add onions and carrots and cook another 3 minutes. Add remaining chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add cooked wild rice, corn puree and rest of corn kernels. Continue cooking until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Soup can be prepared up to this point two days ahead. Refrigerate.  Reheat soup over medium heat. Once heated, add half and half.   Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle chopped parsley over top.

 

For more delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

Victoria’s Secret

1 Comment

How do you break the news to your wanna-be-dog-model that she is not quite ready for the runway?  That those angel wings all the VS models wear at the fashion shows are going to other bitches? That jowls are not cheek bones, the dog paw crawl is not a cat walk and cleavage on a dog is so very unbecoming?

How do you enlighten your canine that dog shows are not fashion shows and she plays chase with Ralphie at the community dog park not Ralph Lauren.

How do you explain to your precious pet that sharing the cover of a cookbook is not the same as flying solo on the cover of Elle, Cosmo or Marie Claire  (however on that note, I highly disagree!)?  Try telling your beloved dog that while her body size is perfect for Purina, it’s not a size 2.  Nor is her deep-chested frame svelte enough, tall enough or waif-like enough to be a Ford Model (although it is perfect for counter-surfing and crumb-chasing).

But, boy is she cute!  You should see all the adorable pictures of her in her debut modeling portfolio called If it falls on the floor, it’s mine!  a newly released cookbook found on Amazon.

DSC00205P.S.  Dolce would love to sign your cookbook – with a little mud, a few drops of dog drool and a big paw print!

For more delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

 

our paper boy

7 Comments

I’m of the belief that dogs, especially those that belong to the Working Dog Group,  need to feel important.  They need to know they have a valuable function within the family dynamics, a job to perform  that is essential to their caretakers.  Dogs such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, were bred to pull small farm carts loaded down with heavy milk cans for the dairies.  Their deep barreled chest made them an ideal breed to work on a farm, driving goat herds to and from their pastures and drafting farm supplies from the villages.  While we don’t have a dairy for the girls to work on, I have tried to find appropriate chores for them to perform to feel useful.

On that note, I looked no further than our own paper box. newspaper-graphic-for-web

Tiamo was barely a year old when she started to fetch the daily newspaper.  At first she would just walk up the long drive with me to get the morning paper.  She would prance her way up the driveway, excitement shining in her eyes, hoping for a glimpse of a cottontail or a low flying bird she could chase.  I’d call her back, reprimanding her for leaving my side.  She’d hang her head, giving me her sorrowful look that was just shy of forgiveness and pretend to be good for the rest of the walk to the paper.   With the misbegotten belief that she was exonerated for misbehaving, Tiamo would try to play the “grab the paper and run” game on the return trip back to the house.  I had a habit of tucking the rolled up newspaper under my arm, leaving my hands free, usually in my coat pockets to keep warm.   Thinking of the paper as the golden prize to be had, Tiamo would jump high to nip at the paper under my arm, hoping to grab it and sprint her way to triumph.  She recognized my hands were otherwise occupied, staying warm beneath the folds of my jacket.  On the days Tiamo was able to lock onto the paper, she would run a victory lap around the house, many times dropping her precious load somewhere in the back forty, where I would have to go search for the paper under wet, dew soaked weeds  and stickers – not so much fun at six in the morning.  I knew I had to teach her respect for the printed word or we would have shredded bits of paper throughout as she tore into her prize.

And so our training began…..

Our paper usually arrived wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect it from the elements, I figured the plastic would also shield the paper from Tiamo’s drool, if I could just teach her to carry the paper back to the house.  Using a leash to keep her close and her favorite treats to reward her, I trained Tiamo to carry our newspaper from the paper box at the end of  the drive, down to the house and drop it on the floor by the couch.  It took one week.  She had such a gentle mouth, she never tore the plastic protector, keeping the rolled paper pristine.  After a successful month of transporting our paper, I started unleashing her.  Tiamo never once strayed away from my side.  Fun and games was over, she knew she had a job to do.  A few more weeks of free range paper hauling and I taught her to reach into the bright yellow paper box, pulling out the newspaper herself.  I was no longer allowed to remove the paper from the plastic holder – that was Tiamo’s responsibility.  Doing so would result in a barking frenzy and a strong nose nudge under my arm to release the paper.  I was forever banned from getting the paper, nobody was going to do Tiamo’s job.  It didn’t take long before I didn’t even have to walk up the driveway with Tiamo.  I’d let Tiamo out the front gate and stay behind, keeping an eye on her as she ran up the drive, grabbed the newspaper from the box and jog back down to me, the paper gently clutched between her jaws, pride sparkling in her eyes.

Tiamo kept her job, even after her litter was born and Dolce and Amore became part of our household.  That was her task.  I never tried to teach the girls to fetch the paper – I always considered that Tiamo’s duty.  Besides,  I know for a fact, Dolce and Amore would have fought big time over who got to carry the newspaper.  With Tiamo’s passing, I walk the drive alone, grabbing the morning paper out of the now-weathered yellow paper box.  I’m back to tucking the roll up under my arm, my hands warm in my pockets.  Sweet memories of Tiamo attempting to snatch the paper out from my control often come to mind.  I miss our morning ritual – now a-days, the paper just doesn’t read the same.

Reading the newspaper with a strong cup of coffee seems to go hand in hand, and perhaps a slice of freshly baked coffee cake to sweeten the news.

RASPBERRY CREAM COFFEE CAKE
  • 2 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. Amaretto
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 1 pkg. 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom of a pie pan or springform pan.

Mix all the cream cheese filling ingredients until smooth and set aside.  Mix flour and sugar in large bowl.  But in butter, using a pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.  Stir the next six ingredients in with the crumb mixture.  Spoon batter over the greased bottom of the pan and up the sides 1-2 inches.  Pour cream cheese filling mixture over the batter.  Carefully spoon the raspberry jam over the filling.  Mix the reserved crumb mixture and the chopped macadamia nuts and sprinkle over the top.

Bake 50 minutes or so, or until filling is set and the crust is a deep golden brown.  Let cool 15 minutes and removed from the pan.  Serve warm or cool.  Keep in the refrigerator to store.

Enjoy your morning!

 

For more delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

clean sheets

4 Comments

Fall is always a busy time for me.  The just-starting-to-turn-nippy months on the back side of the calendar are penciled in with conferences, meetings and annual conventions.  All requiring travel. This past week I attended the CMLS Conference in Boise, Idaho – land of the potato and the famous blue field.  A State enriched in western history and culture, Idahoans have earned the right to boast about their beautiful state.  From the Snake River that weaves it way throughout Idaho, leaving rich, fertile farm lands in its wake, to the mountainous peaks in the pan-handle, Idaho is an enchanting parcel of land.

Away for a full week, it goes without saying that I missed my husband and our dogs while I was gone.  A lot.  A lot, a lot.

But not on the first day.  Day one was reserved for enjoying the huge king-sized bed all to myself – no dogs pinning me under the covers, no dog hair adhered to the down pillows, no cat stretched out along side of my back hotter than a furnace cranked on high in the middle of summer.  Nope, day one was spent luxuriating between clean 600 count Egyptian cotton sheets with my toes curling and flexing under the crisp freshness that comes with a four-diamond rated hotel.  Its pure bliss just to stretch out without being blocked by a dog.  Pure heaven to have a minimum of four down pillows to pick from.  Yep, on the first day, I didn’t miss one single dog hair.

And I didn’t really miss ‘back home’ too much on day two and three and sort of on day four.  These days were just extensions of the first day – Egyptian sheet heaven.  These were the days I kept busy with meetings, speakers and sessions, starting early and ending the day late.  By day three I realized I hadn’t once used the ‘dog-hair-lint-roller’ brush I always carry with me.  I’d been dog-hair free for three whole fantastic days.  My white sweaters were still white, my business dress pants were drool free.  I didn’t smell like dog.  I didn’t have to wipe my hand on my pants legs before I shook hands with an acquaintance.  And best of all, I had the king to myself.

On days five through seven, the scales started to tip.  My 600 count utopia was losing its charm.  I had stayed some extra days to enjoy Idaho with some old friends who summer in Boise.  I was missing Malcolm, laughing over silly things, commenting over the day’s events, kissing him good morning, his welcoming hug in the evening.  I was missing my girls, their sweet love, their tender nudges, their crazy antics. I was missing the dogs on the bed – on their backs, paws in the air as they sleep, gentle snores washing over them, their weight leaning against my legs.  Good gawd!  I was missing dog hair!

I flew home on day eight, asking Malcolm to bring the dogs when he came to pick me up at the airport.  I embraced the thought of knowing I’d be covered in dog hair in a nano second once I climbed in the car.  I knew I would have two dogs clamoring to hug me, paw me, lick me,  once I had my seat belt buckled.  And I couldn’t wait!  Crisp, fresh clean sheets were just a dim memory.  The love waiting for me in the car far out-weighed and out-counted my 600 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets.

potato

In honor of my travels to Idaho….

The Best-Ever Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh chives (or green onions)
  • 1 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fill a pot with water high enough to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and cook until fork tender but still firm.  Drain the water and return pot to the stove over low heat to dry for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Add butter, Parmesan cheese, Chives, cream cheese, buttermilk, garlic and salt and pepper to the potatoes.  Using a potato masher, mash the potato mixture until smooth.  Serves 12.

For more delicious recipes and tails of the dogs, purchase If it falls on the floor, it’s mine! cookbook at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615869823

thunder

4 Comments

For years, New Mexico has been in a terrible drought.  With water rationing and water conservation signage throughout our restaurants and hotels, New Mexicans have learned to sip carefully.  This summer we have been lucky.  Deluged with a monsoon season that has been plentiful, the rains have brought buckets of precious water to our parched landscape and left knee-high weeds mingling within a plethora of wildflowers.  We have never seen our high desert countryside so green, so lush with foliage, so full of nature.  With each rain, the elevated fire danger alerts lessen, the fire gauge’s arrow slowly creeping back from red to orange to yellow to green. Earlier this summer, we saw fires in the Jemez Mountains to our west and fires in the Pecos Wilderness to our east.  Our mornings saw smoky haze creeping around Santa Fe, our afternoons showed us billowing smoke clouds topping the Sangre de Cristos.  We held our breath each time  we heard thunder, fearing a lightning strike against nature’s dryness.  When the monsoons arrived in July, our tension eased, knowing the pinon trees and grasses were soaking up the moisture, re-building their arsenal against the ever-present dryness.

Some time around the first part of July, we received our first round of monsoon showers.  The normal thunder and lightning came along for the ride.  Out of the clear blue, Amore decided she did not like thunder.  In fact, she decided she was downright scared of thunder.  So scared, and so unexpected, the first time she freaked, we immediately took her to the vet, knowing something was horribly wrong.  Shivering, shaking, not eating, agitated, up and down, insistent to be on us or right next to us, we were clueless to what was wrong with her.  Thunder had never bothered her in the past.  She slept though it, never giving the loud crackling noise a thought.  Even when the thundering storm was right overhead, like cymbals crashing together, she wouldn’t bother to lift her head, twitch her nose or jerk her paw.  Amore was oblivious to the thunder.  And now, she shivers and shakes with fear, sometimes for hours after the storm has passed.

New Mexico lightning

New Mexico lightning

We purchased a thunder shirt for her, hoping to lessen her anxiety.  The moment we hear the rumbling drums of thunder, we put Amore in her shirt, wrapping the fabric snugly against her.  It helps.  Not completely, but it brings her panic to a more manageable level.  For five years, thunder’s loud roll overhead never affected Amore.  Today, the distant reverberation brings  her to her knees.

Last night’s rain brought another round of thunder.  At one in the morning, Amore awoke in fear as the storm let loose above us.  Lightning, thunder, rain, and hail crashed through the night, pelting the land with more than an inch of moisture in less than fifty minutes.  Amore shook with terror as the loud booms of thunder were clashing over us.  She headed straight to Malcolm to calm her, jumping up on the bed and onto Malcolm’s sleeping form.  Malcolm woke to a trembling dog crushing him, breathing in dog hair, a dog tail flapping in his face.  Paws stepping all over him, Malcolm was Amore’s security blanket.  It was sunrise before Malcolm was able to fall back to sleep, Amore nestled up against his side, gently snoring, safe.

THUNDER & LIGHTNING CAKE

Best to make when a storm is approaching in the distance!

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (save whites)
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tbsp. cream
  • 1 tsp. Kaluha
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • cream of tartar
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pt. of whipped cream or Cool Whip (I prefer homemade whipped cream)

Preheat over at 350 degrees.  Grease two (2) cake pans and layer parchment paper on bottom of each pan.

Cream butter and 1/2 c brown sugar, slowly adding the egg yolks one at a time.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, cream and Kaluha.  Pour batter into prepared cake pans..  Spread out batter (it will looks like very little, but will rise up as it bakes).  Beat egg whites until stiff and gradually add 1 cup brown sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar.  Beat again until peaks are stiff.  Spread over top of batter, then sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Turn out on cake plate with the egg white side down.  Spread top of cake layer with whipped cream.  Place second layer of cake on top of first layer of cake, this time egg white side up!

If layers stick in pans, run a knife around the edge to loosen the meringue.

s.n.o.u.t. wrestling

4 Comments

The dogs love it when company arrives.  It’s even better if the visitors are over-night guests… a long weekend visit is nirvana.  They know additional people around the house equals more lovin’ and more lovin’ means more petting and belly rubs.  To Dolce and Amore, house guests equates to another unsuspecting victim foolish enough to keep their “petting hand” lowered at nose height.  Just low enough to fandangle a head rub from the gullible guest, or a scratch to the ear or if they’re lucky, a full body massage.

I tell ya, we have smart dogs…. multiplied by the number of guests, Dolce and Amore can calculate the amount of adoration they should be receiving, and for how long.  A gentle nose nudge to the hand, served as a courtesy reminder, is quickly given when a guest isn’t paying enough attention to their rubbings’, when the petting starts to be a bit absentminded, or when the caressing slows to a stop.  This soft nose nudge is usually good for another seven or so minutes of full attention.  A second tender nudge can easily add another two to three minutes on to their massage session.  The third nudge, given under duress once the petting hand has completely stopped all contact, no longer qualifies as a nose nudge – the girls are now into a full-on, no-holds-barred S.N.O.U.T. wrestling approach.

SNOUT wrestling occurs about 36-48 hours after arrival, just about the time when the novelty of the dogs has worn off.  It usually starts with Amore, eager for more lovin’ and attention, illegally using her muzzle to gain your attention.  It almost always ends with an upset, a drink tossed into the air, only to land back on you, after your arm has been jolted upright by a distraught hooch hooter.  Coined by one our favorite guests, SNOUT wrestling stands for STRONG NOSE ON ULNA and TIBIA and it means business.

At best, SNOUT wrestling might give the dogs a few minutes of rubbing.  Usually it just encourages our guests to move to higher ground – a tall bar stool, out of reach from Dolce’s strong nose,  or better yet, in a standing position with the stool arranged as a barricade from Amore’s attempt to mutt muzzle her way for more consideration, more ear scratching, more rubbing.  But at worst, SNOUT wrestling will bring irritated shouts of “NO!”, “STOP IT!”, and “QUIT!”, hopefully without someone tripping or falling after losing their balance from a brief SNOUT wrestle.  SNOUT wrestling begins with the nose, usually under your arm, sometimes behind your leg, lifting at a high rate of force, thrust, and energy.  The move is always unexpected, even when you’re expecting it.  It is always quick, with no notice, and always gets the pin, shoulders on the mat!

Insistent, intrusive and annoying, SNOUT wrestling is the dogs at their brattiest and way past the point of cute, but, on the flip side, it keeps the company from staying too long!

the parking lot

1 Comment

If your windows are rolled down, you can smell the spicy aroma blocks away as you wait at a stop light in your car.  Driving closer, you can actually hear the roar of the propane fueled fire as the flames nip at the lusciously curved, green and red fruit.  A peppery scent permeates the air as you pull your vehicle into the parking lot and step out on the black tarred pavement.  Your mouth has already started to water at the thought of eating freshly roasted chiles.  Hot off the grill and wrapped in a tortilla with butter and a little sprinkle of S & P, there is nothing better!

It’s August and every parking lot in New Mexico has a corner fenced off and reserved for an old, recycled 50 gallon metal drum cut in half and welded back together with additional hinges, vents, cranks, lids, and handles, standing next to stacks and stacks of large burlap bags stuffed with chiles – Hatch Chiles.  The absolutely best in the world!  For the next two months, vendors from the surrounding area work the chile roasters as locals flock to their favorite chile stand, waiting in line to buy 50 to 100 pound bags of roasted chiles – hoping to get enough for a year’s supply…. maybe.  In the mean time, family members are gathered back at home waiting in the kitchen for the return of the chiles, prepared to start the peeling and packaging process, usually, an all day family event.  In the Southwest, it is chile harvest time – the kickoff to Fall and football.

As Malcolm and I pull into the massive parking lot adjacent to our local grocery,  Dolce and Amore sense the excitement. They know this trip to the store is much different from the standard run to get more milk.  Their scent-sensitive snouts are poking out the half rolled-down car window, their noses wrinkling, sniffing at the fiery, piquant smells.  As we exit the car, I’m always reminded of the scene in the movie, Silverado, when the main characters walk into the local watering hole, the swinging saloon doors behind them, taking a deep and audible  breath at the entrance, ahhhhhh!  Breathing in the air of cigar smoke, alcohol and sweat, the tension leaves and the anticipation begins.  You know at that moment, they are at home.  That scene right there is the epitome of chile harvest – a deep breath, taking in all the fiery freshness of roasted green chiles, the anticipation of their spicy flavor, you’re at home.

Dolce and Amore get left in the car as we walk across the striped spaces to buy our chiles, the biggest decision we have to make is, do we buy one or two bags of peppers?  A mental checklist runs through my mind, do we have enough gloves at home to handle the peppers?  Did I buy plenty of Ziplock bags for the freezer?  Green or Red?  or Christmas? Do we have any Cerveza in the garage frig?  All important when peeling peppers.

Personally, I like green chiles for breakfast burritos and red for enchiladas.  Malcolm likes only green – period!  We get a bag of both.  Christmas!  The girls get neither!

WARNING:  Do not ever let your dogs eat chile peppers!

green_chile_roaster

Christmas!

CHILE CHEESE BAKE

For the tenderfoots, substitute green onions for the chiles!

  • 8 oz. roasted green chiles, diced
  • 1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 lb. Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked, diced

Preheat oven to 325 F.  butter a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.  combine green chiles and cheese in a large mixing bowl.  Place on the bottom of the baking dish.

Add flour and evaporated milk to the egg yolks.  Set aside.  Beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold in egg whites to the flour mixture.  Spread mixture over the cheese in baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and arrange the bacon pieces and tomato sliced on the top of the cheese mixture.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

sneaky snake

5 Comments

We have a sneaky snake.  No, it’s not Dolce, who is usually our first choice to blame as she likes to double-back on the trail to sneak a bite at a road apple.  Nor is it Amore, a likely culprit however,  who likes to quietly slip into the kitchen undetected to counter-surf for any and all crumbs left behind.  Both girls have well-deserved and well-earned reputations of being sly, cunning, evasive, clever, crafty…  and, well, just down-right sneaky when it comes to some delicious little tidbit of food that they desire.  They are pros when it comes to measuring the distance between master (us),  the goal (food), and the trials and tribulations to obtain said goal.  They can recognize the challenge and process the steps necessary to achieve victory without being scared or turning back.  And, usually they are spot-on thieves, quick as a wink and unafraid of retribution from Malcolm or myself.

No, this sneaky snake is just that, a snake.  A real one.  Four to five feet long, I can only pray it is either a Bull Snake, Whip Snake, or a Red Racer.  Of course, by the time I finish this tale, the snake will be at least 6 to 7 feet long with a girth wider than Malcolm’s chest and has fangs to rival a vampire.  Unfortunately, the only evidence we have gathered is the skin.  A long, scaly, ugly snake-skin.  Uck!  Double uck!  Triple, quadruple, uck! Let me say it in plain English –  UCK!  I. HATE. SNAKES.  Big, small, skinny, fat, friendly or deadly, doesn’t matter, I hate’em all and it doesn’t help matters that I live in an area that is populated with such creatures.  Give me a spider or a mouse any day (more on the mice at a later date).  I know, without a doubt, if Dolce or Amore ever saw a snake they would think it’s play time, something to chase after, play with and perhaps bring into the house to show off to the folks.

With the frequent monsoon rains we have the past couple of weeks, the flash floods and the wash out roads, many rodents and reptiles have moved to higher ground.  We’ve seen more snakes in the last two weeks than we have in all the years we’ve lived in Santa Fe – bar none.  To year-to-date, the total count is:  4 Rattlesnakes, 4 Bull Snakes, 1 Whip Snake and 2 Red Racers – a zillion Kangaroo Rats, a couple dozen Pack Rats (imagine a mouse on steroids)  and at least 6 gophers.  Mice aren’t part of the totals, as they are beyond counting.

Even though, every spring we give Dolce and Amore a Rattlesnake booster shot, even though we are vigilant when we hike the trails and the green belt, miles from anywhere and no cell service, even though it’s often said, “they are more afraid of you” – I still fret and worry about snakes.  Especially when the below picture was taken 10 feet from our garage door.

sneaky snake

sneaky snake

Now that I’m examining the photo a little more closely, it’s evident this is probably a twelve footer with wings, can squeeze you in half, has a tail like a scorpion and can spew fire from it’s mouth.

internbern

2 Comments
the berner internet

the berner internet

the bowls

6 Comments

There are two kinds of bowls in our house –  the water bowl and the toilet bowl, both providing an endless supply of hydration for our dogs. Each dog has a preference, each has a favored style of distribution and each has a unique way of sipping their fluids.

DSC01437Dolce fancies running water, preferably from a hose.  She’ll crouch down, tip her head under the nozzle and “bite” the flowing water.  For the longest time, Dolce had the misfortune to have to use a standard dog water bowl, hoses not being the norm for the inside of our house.  I am now thinking she did so under duress….

On hikes, she’ll only drink from the bottle as we’re pouring the water into the canvas trail bowl, never from the nylon lined cavity.  Out in the pen, she’ll ignore the water bowls and the rain puddles and instead lap up the tiny drops of moisture emitting from the drip irrigation line stationed around the Pinon trees.  With me as I’m in the tinkering in the yard, she’ll eagerly wait for me to turn on the hose, anticipating immediate flowing water.  I chuckle over the puzzled look of confusion she gives me, as she waits for the water to run through the 150 ft. of hose, until the water shoots out the nozzle directly in her open jaws, turning her confusion into surprise.  It’s turned into a game with her as she awaits for that first shot of water to hit her, timing her mouth to open at just the right moment.

That is, until Uncle Dan came to visit and bought the girls their own running water BigDog bowl.  Dan is a long-time friend of Malcolm’s and adores the girls.  He always brings the girls a special treat when he comes to visit.  Toys, smoked bones, treats, he spoils’em rotten.  I, of course, love anyone who loves our girls, so Dan can do no wrong!  The minute Dolce heard the running water she ran in to investigate and immediately claimed the bowl as hers.  It took her all of 20 seconds to tip her head down and start biting the water.  She likes to stand to the right side of the bowl, crouch down and beeline into the fountain.  Dolce is in heaven!

Amore prefers the toiletDSC01441, also known as the 1) throne, 2) the shitter or shit box, 3) the great white porcelain god 4) the can, 5) the loo, or my favorite, 6) the library.  It’s just the right height, just the right temperature of coldness, just the right size of for delivery.  She likes the master bath’s porcelain the best, as it is closest to the dog pen and her dog pillow.  She’ll stand at the bowl for a good 4-5 minutes, slurping and lapping the cool water, sometimes, draining the basin.  Amore will drink some, think a’little, drink some more, think a’little more, and then maybe drink some more again.  She’ll take her time, stare off in space for a few seconds, then dip back down to the bowl for a few more sips.   She’ll then leave a 15 ft. trail of huge water drops into the bedroom and through the house.  Thank Gawd for brick floors!

Where as Dolce likes to bite at the water we pour from a bottle or hose, Amore would rather slurp her fluids from a standing still bowl. We’ve yet to see her drink from the BigDog bowl, not even from the wide basin.  We haven’t figured out if it is the noise of the trickling water, the ripple effect in the lower basin or if she just doesn’t like lowering her body to sip some water.  Bottom line – she refuses to drink from the BigDog bowl.

Now Malcolm goes around the house flushing clean toilets, just to refill her bowl and release some “fresh” water. AND, I leave a towel close by to “wipe” the seat for later.  How spoiled is that?

goofy girl

1 Comment
goofy girl!

our goofy girl!

Amore is a goof ball!  A total clutz.  A true ditz. A ham for the camera.  A jester for the court.

There are times we think for sure she hit her head on the side board of the whelping pen as she was dropped into being.  She has fallen off the couch more times than not, thunking to the floor as she was stretching while on her back, surprise lighting her eyes as she tries to pretend that was her intention to begin with.  She has chased after phantom bunnies and the shadows of high soaring hawks only to run into low-hanging juniper branches.  She would rather have her throat scratched than her belly rubbed and would rather run than walk, even if it is just to move from one favorite spot to another, five short feet over.  If you say “sit”, she hears “shit” and will begin the triple-axel spin to find the perfect spot.  Give Amore the signal to “go to her pillow” and it’s a sure bet it will be your down-pillow that she lies on.

She has no idea how to cuddle, coo or be calm.  Wild-eyed, Amore will stare at you, and stare at you, and stare at you, never blinking, not moving, just stare at you.  Intently. Don’t try to out stare her – you won’t win.

One of Amore’s favorite antics is waking us up on weekends. The first attempt is a strong paw to your most extended limb poking out of the covers.  The next try is a wet, and cold, nose nudge, usually on your neck or face, many times on your mouth.  The final act is a jump on the bed, normally with your sleeping body softening the landing as her front paws hit your stomach.  At this point, Amore will typically sit on you, and the bed covers, trapping you underneath her.  I don’t mean sitting on one of your legs, or leaning up against your side.  I mean a take-your-weight-off-your-paws-park-yourself kind of stay awhile sit.  By now you might be awake, but you ain’t going anywhere til she decides to let up.  It’s best to get up at the first pawing.  You can’t help but chuckle to yourself as you spit out dog hair off your lips while pushing her off you.

Her latest gimmick is scouting for lizards.  She’ll stand at attention, staring for hours waiting for a lizard to crawl up our portal wall.  Upon sighting a scaly blue-tail, she’ll  run and take cover, barking for one of us to come and see her find.  Occasionally, Amore will actually catch a lizard, only to bring it into the house so she can play “search and seizure” with the now let-loose and tail-less reptile.  Not that I want a loose lizard in the house, but at least Gordita (our fat cat) will catch the lizard once Amore starts to fatigue from the game.

Goofy? Yes!  Silly? Absolutely!  Hyper? Undoubtably! But our goofy girl is one of the happiest dogs I ever seen.  And, we are the lucky ones to have her adventures in our lives.

sunny side up

2 Comments

Unfortunately, our dogs are conditioned to enjoy breakfast at the crack of dawn.  Most days, we will find a cold, wet nose sniffing for some activity, checking to see if we’re alive, usually on my still warm from sleep neck and usually when it is still dark outside.  And if there is one nose nudge, there soon will be two.  The down side is having a cold nose (or two) poking and prodding you while you still have ten minutes before the alarm goes off.  The up side is being greeted in the morning by two very happy dogs!  There is no way you can wake up grumpy with two in-your-face exuberant dogs impatient to start their day.  Always in good humor and with shiny bright eyes, Amore and Dolce embrace each morning like a Bridgestone on pavement, wanting the day to unfold like a stretch of road opening up wide from a tight curve, at full throttle, gaining traction as they hit the ground running. They have yet to learn the meaning of “sleeping-in”.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are the type of dog that wants to be with you – constantly.  Where you goeth, they want to goeth.  If they are ready to begin their day, they want to make certain you are there with them.  And once up, they  will follow me throughout my get-ready-for-work rituals just for the company.  They know when the hair dryer shuts off, it’s count-down to breakfast. And, once full from breakfast, they get to race up the drive to fetch the newspaper, always with the hope of a Cottontail crossing their path.

For Amore and Dolce, there is only one way to greet the morning and that is sunny side up!

 

Cheesy grits

Cheesy grits

Cheesy Grits with Ham and Eggs

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup quick grits
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1   –  1/2 ” thick ham steak approx.  1 1/2 lbs.
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

In a 2 – quart saucepan, combine milk, broth, cayenne, and thyme, bring to a boil over high heat.  Slowly whisk grits into liquid and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.  Remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1/4 cup green onions and cheese.

While the grits are on the stove cooking, heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Pat ham dry with paper towels and coat both sides with the brown sugar.  Add to skillet.  Cook ham 5 minutes or until heated through and glazed, turning once.  Remove ham and keep warm.

Leaving  the skillet on the stove , add the butter to the hot skillet and melt.  Coat the skillet with the butter, tipping the skillet until covered.  Add the eggs, keeping the whites from touching the each other.  Fry the eggs until cooked to the desired level.  Sunny side up

Cut ham into serving sizes and arrange on individual plates with a serving of grits.  Place a fried egg on top of the grits and garnish with remaining chopped green onions

 

cherry tomatoes

3 Comments

Damm!  A whole carton of cherry tomatoes on the floor! One of those fangdangle bowl-shaped cartons with the snap-on-lid that holds a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes just came unsnapped, flinging its contents all over the kitchen.  Three red orbs land in the sink, a bunch hit the counter and the majority are rolling all over the brick floor.  Dolce and Amore perk up when they hear me cussing and immediately come running into the kitchen to investigate, muzzles to the ground, checking for spillage.  In Amore’s eagerness, she grabs a little red sphere before Dolce can, and quickly bites into it. Just as quickly, she drops it back on the floor, her jaw working furiously to remove the acidic taste from her mouth.  There’s not enough water in the toilet bowl for her to rinse out the flavor.  Apparently, Amore doesn’t like cherry tomatoes.

Now Dolce on the other hand, comprehends real quick that Amore has the lead in eating the lit’l delicacies.  She only sees Amore getting the drop on the tomatoes before she can.  Dolce immediately turns her focus to a pile of tomatoes nestled in the kitchen corner,  swiftly scoops up five tasty morsels into her mouth and promptly heads to her special pillow in the living room with her coveted stash.  In her rush to grab the most, she doesn’t see Amore heading to the bathroom to guzzle down some water, she only knows she grabbed more than her sibling.  Sensing victory, Dolce chomps down on the juicy lit’l guys,  squirting seeds and sticky tomato juice in all directions.   Faster than you can say the word “ta-mah-tau” the look of triumph that had entered into her eyes turned to horror as she realized she didn’t like what was in her mouth.  Hastily, she spit out the tomatoes.  UCK! Chunks of tomato carnage go flying through the air, landing on chairs, couches and pillows.

It seems Dolce doesn’t like tomatoes either.

Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

TOMATO & MOZZARELLA SALAD

A great summer salad and perfect for company!

Slice the tomatoes and then slice the mozzarella.  On a serving platter, alternate the tomato slices and the mozzarella.  Tuck in the basil leaves between the tomato and mozzarella.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill. In the blender, mix together the remaining ingredients until well blended.  Keep at room temperature.  Drizzle over the tomatoes and mozzarella when ready to serve.

the mutt mobile

Leave a comment
DSC00772

Dolce riding shotgun

Mutt mobile.  Canine car.  Pooch Pick-up.  Datsun Dog.  Honda Hound.  Berner Bus.  Names, throughout the years, we’ve christened our more mature automobiles.  Autos that have seen happier days and in the days before dogs,  cleaner ones.

Our mutt mobile was a Chevy Blazer, grey with matching Corinthian leather seats, back seat air conditioning, a great sound system, and it came with every button, lever, and knob, right down to the MAGPIE plates.  It was the BOMB!  It moved us to the high desert of New Mexico, carrying Thugs, our cat, 1,300 miles from California.  It hauled all of our “crap” cross-country through valleys, mountains, streams and rivers.  It cleaned up real nice, handled the road well, got good gas mileage, and was just an’ all-round good ol’ car.

When we brought Tiamo into our family, MAGPIE was our puppy Porsche.  We didn’t notice the wrinkles at first, the first strands of gray hair were few and blended in.   At 10 years old, Ol’ MAGPIE was still stylish.  The scratches from Tiamo leaping on the car door were barely visible.  And, what’s a little dog hair along the floorboard – we’ll have the car wash attendants vacuum it out real good the next time.  The broken vent for the back AC went undetected for several weeks, as did the cracked cup holder and the chewed middle seat belt.  Malcolm and I both ignored the teeth marks that perforated the back seat – it added character we said.  The fuse blew out on the passenger door window from Tiamo hitting, and holding, the up/down button with her paws when she stuck her head out of the window, and the overhead dome light cover had disappeared months earlier, no telling where to.  All fixable and all re-breakable.

Slowly, over time, MAGPIE’s age started to show.  When the little pups arrived, MAGPIE was the Berner Bus, hauling eight squirming, wiggley BMD puppies to the vet for their shots.  As the litter whittled down to Amore and Dolce, along with Tiamo, MAGPIE was known strictly as the dog car.  Each dog had their spot:  Dolce riding shotgun, Tiamo in the middle back where she could have the air conditioning full blast on her face, and Amore on the back driver’s side seat, one paw on the window.  Pealing paint, ripped leather seats, and a cracking dash-board, in dog years MAGPIE had already turned eighty-three and was going on ninety.  After years of hauling Tiamo and the girls around, the interior was trashed, covered in dog hair and reeked of dog smell.  And yet, we still drove the Dog car, Dolce in the front, Tiamo middle back, Amore on the back left. It was our car of choice, allowing us to bring the girls with us.

When the government came out with the CASH for CLUNKERS program, we jumped at the opportunity to scrap it.  Dog car was worth more dead than alive.  We traded in Dog car for a more “economical” vehicle.  Something that was easy on the road.

But still, we needed a Dog car – and sadly, that meant we elevate our Pilot to the next Honda Hound.  We’re at the dog hair on the floorboard stage.

 

memories

Leave a comment

No story tonight.  No cute antidote of the girls.  No humorous tale of Dolce sitting on my lap or Amore stealing the kong.   No recipe at the end of my ramblings relating to the storyline.  No deep meaning words of wisdom, quip, or quote.

Tonight, it’s just about memories of our Tiamo.  Remembering the softness in her eyes, her tender nudge with her muzzle to get our attention, her gentleness when she would tend to her litter.  Tonight it’s about reminiscing how she would con me into giving her nightly belly rubs, every night, for 6 years straight.  It’s about her joy to be with us on road trips and trips to the grocery store.  It’s about her companionship to Malcolm and myself and her unconditional love for her “pack”.   It’s about her protectiveness with Thugs, our cat at the time, following her at a close distance to keep her safe when outside.  It’s about how she would flirt with the big male Berners, and show disdain to the little lap dogs, though she was a lap lover herself.

Malcolm and I often play the “remember when” game.  Remember when Tiamo would counter-surf and steal the cookies.  I would blame Malcolm for sneaking a cookie off the cooling rack, when all the time it was Tiamo.  Remember when Tiamo would start barking at 5:10 p.m. on the dot, wanting out the front door to wait for me to drive in from work.  She knew I was due home soon and wanted to wait for me in the front portal, running immediately to the car door as soon as I turned the engine off.  Remember when Tiamo would bust out of the dog pen and run around to the back porch, pawing  at the door to get back inside – how she hated being separated from us.  We abandoned that pen for two years until the puppies were born.

Other times we play the “remember how” game.  Remember how Tiamo would lay her head on my lap, her paw on my leg when she was tired, and other times she would lean so close to us, we were supporting her full weight.  Remember how Tiamo would give us big bear hugs, her huge paws wrapping around our waist, squeezing us hard.  We knew better than to have her jump on us, and yet, we still let her, even encouraging her.  We just loved her hugs!  Remember how we swore we would never, ever let her on our bed.  And, for two years we didn’t, until I broke down and literally picked her up, placed her on my side of the mattress and cuddled with her.  From then on, Tiamo slept with us.

Our “remember whens” and our “remember hows” usually ends with a saddened, “oh, how I miss her”.  Malcolm and I will share a tender smile full of Tiamo memories.  Once in a while, a tear drop will slip past my armor, Malcolm nodding in understanding, silently acknowledging our bitter-sweet memories.  I miss her hugs. Our cuddles, Our belly rubs.

Oh, how I miss her.

 

DSC00740

TIAMO

it’s here! (almost)

Leave a comment

if it falls on the floor, it's mine!

COMING SOON!