must love dog….. hair!

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When Malcolm and I married, we knew we wanted to move out of California, only we didn’t know exactly where.  My only condition: it had to be west of the Mississippi.  Malcolm’s only condition:  it had to have home-delivery for the New York Times.  The dart landed on Santa Fe, New Mexico, a southwest tourist mecca.  Tucked in tight against the Sangre de Cristos Mountain Range, Santa Fe is host to a wide range of culture, several museums, great restaurants, outdoor sports and lots of shopping opportunities from expensive art and indian jewelry to cheap T-shirts with silk screened scenes depicting the Southwest.  The lure of Santa Fe not only brings thousands of travelers and visitors annually, it also brings lots of family and friends, guests who arrive for mini get-away vacations.

And while we open the doors of our home, welcoming our friends, we always need to preface their visit with a few words of warning:  YOU MUST LOVE DOGS…… AND DOG HAIR!  Oh yeah, and a very fat cat named Gordita.

What we really mean is, you must love OUR dogs and not be allergic to cats.  House guests are not allowed to be upset if their kicked off shoes ends up outside in the dog pen, if they discover they are missing a sock days after they go home, or if there is black dog hair clinging to their pants leg and to their shirt and to their jacket and to everything else they own.  Throughout their stay, the odds are high they will pull a stray strand of dog hair from their wineglass, or see a puff of canine curls floating down and around.  Malcolm and I chuckle to ourselves when we catch sight of a guest discretely pulling out a hidden hair off their lips.  We advise our friends to shut their bedroom door tight at night or they could very well end up with one to three animals curled up next to them, sharing not only the soft mattress but more dog hair.  We regularly invest in lint rollers,  placed in every room for convenience.  Even I do a roller-run-through on my slacks every morning before leaving for work, checking for dog hair.

from dog - to couch - to the back of the shirt - dog hair!

from dog – to couch – to the back of the shirt – dog hair!

After several years, we have filtered our guest list down to three categories:  Those that LOVE our girls, keeping their bedroom door wide open, hoping for a midnight cuddle and don’t mind the stray dog hair; those that don’t mind our dogs, but are careful with their shoes and keep the lint roller in hand; and those that stay in a hotel.

Hair of the Dog
The old saying “hair of the dog that bit you” is a common theory for curing a hangover.  The Hair of the Dog cocktail is a great alternative that serves the same purpose: a little bit of alcohol, sour citrus and the hot digestive aid to calm the stomach.
Pour the Gin, lemon juice and Tabasco into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake generously.  Strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a colorful chili pepper.  Be sure to wash your hands well with soap (especially before touching your eyes) if you handle the chili pepper.
Yield: 1 Cocktail

Santa’s Resolutions

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Holiday Love!

Holiday Love!

I know, I know, its January! Everyone spins some words on the past 365 days and all they accomplished, their travel adventures, job changes and family additions. They write about their plans for the next 365 days with an equal number of bucket list items, check boxes next to their dreams, wishes and hopes. Ever wonder what would be on Santa’s bucket list? What would Santa’s New Year’s resolutions be? What would his travel and vacation plans be for the next year? What would Santa do? What would Santa write about? Umm……?

SANTA’S 2013 TWELVE RESOLUTIONS

  1. It’s January – In one word, January is perfect! January’s resolution is just that – PERFECT. It’s Santa’s Birthday month! A present under the tree unwrapped a cuban and a perfect bottle of Port. A perfect combination for a cold winter’s night, sipped along with a warm, crackling fire, the dogs asleep at my feet, my honey beside me. What could be more perfect! Georgia Tech just stomped USC’s ass in a perfect win at the Sun Bowl! It’s a perfect month to sleep in and take some naps. Yes, January is perfect! Life is perfect!
  2. It’s February – 28 days of love – We all should resolve to spread some of Cupid’s arrows. I hereby resolve to LOVE and be loved. Tiamo arrived in February, loved from the first moment we saw her, stumbling over her front paws as she investigated her new home – from day one, she had us wrapped around every one of her paws. She added much love to our lives, unconditional, unwavering. To be loved is a wonderful feeling.
  3. It’s March – Raise your glass to little men in green and rainbows, pots of gold and lucky charms. We’ll be out West, in California, raising our glass to newly wedded bliss and new beginnings. Toasting to PROMISES.
  4. It’s April – The soft, little green buds bursting out on the barren tree branches to push the cold away, opening to the gentle scent of apple blossoms with the freshness of spring. I met my wife in April and my LIFE has never been the same. Good bye city life! Is not spring about new life? To LIFE!
  5. It’s May – We HONOR our moms, our heritage, our deceased. We honor those who brought us life and those who have passed on. We honor with parades, pinatas, and pinned on flower corsages. We will be honoring our marriage, vows made over ten years ago. We will honor Tiamo, who passed away a year ago. Honor – a special word for those individuals who are in our lives and hearts, and in our memories.
  6. It’s June – ESCAPE! School’s out, vacations starts, summer’s on! Escape with beach reads, Blue Hawaiian’s, sun burns, and summer romances. Dip your toes in the sand, sip a margarita, forget the worries sitting heavily on your shoulders. Enjoy today and tomorrow and all the next days to come. Go ahead, I double-dog dare ya! Yup, it’s time to escape on a cruise, where crystal clear blue waters abound, little pink umbrellas float on my drinks and we can escape life’s troubles and worries.
  7. It’s July – Another celebration, another birthday, another beautiful sunset. Let’s CELEBRATE! Democracy! Monsoon season! Rain! Freedom! 50 + candles on the cake! Company’s coming! Fireworks! Nordstrom’s shoe sale! Yeah, baby! Let’s Celebrate!
  8. It’s August – What was planted in spring is ready for HARVEST. Corn, tomatoes, and squash, lots of squash. Cabbage, radishes and squash, more squash. Peas, onions, squash, squash and leftover squash. Squash omelets, squash casseroles, squash cake. Squash in the salad, squash in the sandwich, squash in the trash – harvest is over.
  9. It’s September – Summer’s end, school is back in session, Labor day weekend is upon us. We labor at work, at home, at life. Tiamo went into labor over Labor Day Weekend, delivering eight little wagging tails. LABOR. The fruits of her labor gave us Dolce and Amore. Labor. Look back at all you have done, accomplished, labored, toiled. Look around you and see the fruits of your labor.
  10. It’s October – Days filled with a nip in the air, nights cooling down to brrrr, it’s cold. Nature’s colors shifting from varying shades of green to bright yellows, burnt oranges, deep reds. October fests and beer fests, ghosts and goblins, Breast Cancer Awareness month. FEEL the changes as the days shorten, the soft leaves falling into brittle brown pieces as they scatter on the ground. Feel life’s tempo slow as it readies for hibernation. Feel each breath taken. Feel the embrace of Fall.
  11. It’s November – THANKS! It’s a given in November. We give thanks for our family, friends, our good fortune. We give thanks for our health, full cupboards and our good luck. We give thanks to our individual gods, our country, our communities. Give thanks to our parent’s children. They deserve it.
  12. It’s December -Ahhh, December, that magical time of the year where snow glistens and children listen. Good cheer is all around us. The little kid in all of us shines bright through smiles and twinkling eyes. A special time when, Malcolm, attired in a red suit, black boots and white beard, and toting a heavy red bag filled with presents and toys, brings wonder and awe to eight little children who still BELIEVE in magic.

What would Santa do? I think Santa would say, “2013 is a perfect year to love and to promise, to honor life’s joys. 2013 is a perfect year to escape our troubles, our problems, our heartaches and celebrate the harvest of our labors. 2013 is a perfect year to feel our thanks and not just say them. 2013 is a perfect year to believe in the magic.”

Welcome home attack!

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My job requires some travel, mostly around the state, but on occasion, I attend conferences that cross state lines.  This past week, I attended our state association’s annual Fall Conference and while the location of the conference was only an hour away from Santa Fe, I still needed to stay at a hotel for a few nights.  My wonderful hubby usually stays home with the dogs on most of my travel trips, saving us a lot of $$$$ in boarding costs and subsequent vet bills from coughs and other ailments the girls pick up at the doggy motel. This trip was a get-away from dog hair and dogs in the bed.  It is pure joy being able to stretch across the King-sized bed with crisp, fresh sheets and sink-your-head onto soft downy pillows.  As much as I love having the bed to myself, I still miss my girls! (and my husband!).  I usually call home frequently thorough out the day checking to see how they are.

It so happened on this trip, we received some rain while I was gone.  Those wet drops from heaven are a rare event in our drought stricken state.  We live among dirt roads that turn into mud roads with the slightest moisture and as a rule, we don’t usually walk the dogs when it’s raining or if the roads are muddy.  Not only because of the mess of the mud, but because of our arid landscape and our many arroyos, flash flooding from the rain’s surface water is common and very dangerous.  The torrential flood waters come from the higher ground, usually starting as a trickle and turning into a roaring river in seconds, crashing through junipers, chamiso and cacti.  We just don’t take the risk of getting caught in a flash flood.  Consequently, Dolce and Amore didn’t get their walk for three days while I was out-of-town.

The first day gone, I called Malcolm, checking to see how the girls were doing.  Malcolm reported that from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. they waited by the window, looking for my car to pull into the drive way from work.  Up until 10:00 p.m. they went tearing through the house every time they heard a car drive by, thinking it might be me returning home from my conference.  Day two was much the same but with more edge.  It had been 36 hours since their last walk, mom’s not home and the peanut butter Kongs are outside in the rain.  Dolce is bored and Amore has way too much energy bundled inside her 100 lb. frame.  Malcolm is starting to go nuts from dealing with the dogs, wet dog smell is permeating the house from the dogs racing back and forth from the dog pen, tracking in mud and dirt  and Malcolm still has 24 hours to live through.  Amore wants company and to be entertained by day three.  She whacks her tail by the headboard at 3:30 a.m. to wake Malcolm up, barks at every car headed into town starting at 5:30 a.m. and resorted to jumping on and off the bed wanting Malcolm to get up.  There is no rest for the wicked,  Malcolm still has til’ the evening before I’ll be home.

While the rain has abated to a slight sprinkle – the roads are still muddy.  This will be the third day in a row without a walk.  Malcolm hasn’t talked to an adult in 72 hours and wants only to drink his Coca-Cola with pure cane sugar and read the newspaper in peace.  Still in my business attire, I arrive home early evening…

The girls hear my car come down the driveway and immediately start to bark, alerting Malcolm to the possibility of my return.  Malcolm becomes the stereotyped housewife who hands the baby over to dad as he walks into the house from a hard day’s work.  He clicks open the garage door, letting two one hundred pound super-charged and super-hyper canines out to greet me.  I call it the welcome attack!  Dolce has literally jumped in my arms – mud and wet dog hair attaching to my once clean trousers and suit jacket.  Amore has pawed her way between Dolce and myself, inserting her body between, over, and under any arm that could and would pet her.  Nylons are shredded, purse is dumped into a shallow puddle of left over rain water, briefcase now has a muddy paw print on the left side, my eyeglasses are a skewed from being bumped by Dolce and Malcolm has barricaded himself in the den, armed with the newspaper and a glass full of shaved ice and Coca-Cola – door locked with a “do not disturb” card stolen from a hotel on the door knob.  It takes me 10 minutes to make a path inside the house, dogs in tow and another 45 minutes to calm down the heathens. Welcome home!

Malcolm didn’t surface for an appearance for three hours.