notes to myself...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What we do for ourselves dies with us.                                
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.  
Albert Pine


Interesting Times

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lots of interesting things came into existence in 1946.

the first microwave oven- weighing in at 750 pounds.

ENIAC, the first computer- which weighed 60,000 pounds.

The first bikini - which weighed less than 16 ounces


me... who was born on this day in 1946 weighing 6 lbs 4 oz.

Welcome, little Bev, to the first litter of Baby Boomers and hang on tight to that puppy, girl. It's going to be a long, strange trip!

1946 Baby Boomers of note include...

Kathleen McMahon LaPier... Suzanne Van Duyne... Barry Gibb..
Susan Sarandon... Candice Bergen... Tommy Lee Jones... Tyne Daly
Sally Field... Cher... Jimmy Buffett... Donovan... Uri Geller...Ted Bundy
Freddie Mercury... Ilie Nastase... Dolly Parton ...Steven Spielberg
Cheech Marin... Donald Trump... Slyvester Stallone...Michael Milken
Karen Silkwood... Ken Starr...Gianni Versace...Gene Siskel... Lafitt Pincay
George W. Bush...Peter Popoff...Mean Joe Green...Dick Covey

We all had parents who had seen the entire world at war. It’s interesting
to think what else we all had in common in our early years:
The advent of television, Howdy Doody, Hula Hoops, Polio, The Cold War,
Sputnik, the birth of Rock and Roll, Elvis, Racial segregation/integration,
the Beatles, political assassinations, the War in Viet Nam, protests, hippies,
pot, pop art, LSD,  Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock and the Summer of Love
that ended our childhood in our 21st year.

As responsible adults, we moved into professions and/or marriages, families
and mortgages and we were looking at a man on the moon, no more Beatles, Disco,  no more Elvis, the Moral Majority, no more Berlin Wall, Star Wars (from both Lucas and Reagan) VCRs, no more USSR, Punk Rock, the Gulf War, Ozone holes, the Internet, Rap Music, Personal computers, Terrrorist attacks,
War in the Middle East, cellphones, Harry Potter, tattoos, Enron, global warming, bank bailouts, Avatar and an economy heading south. In a blink of an eye, we're ten years into a new millenium, where tradition tells us we should be spoiling our grandkids, planning retirement and looking forward to our “golden years.”

But...across the country, retirement funds vanish over night. The price of oil and airfares and tomatoes climb. Businesses fail. Unemployment and foreclosures hit double digits. I wish I could be more optimistic about these Golden Years but this economic spiral scares the hell out of me. 2009 was a no good, very bad year for a lot of people- me included. In spite of everything, I still have hope because, as my favorite cousin Jim, reminds me  "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you." and so I remind Him daily (God- not my cousin Jim) that so many people in this country need His help. "Um.. excuse me Lord, can we get this train wreck back on the tracks, please?"

Today, looking back at the past 64 years, it has indeed, been a long, strange, but wondrous trip and I think I've been blessed/cursed to live in interesting times.

The Sad Passing of a Noble Animal

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Cesar Millan, all his family and friends, his staff and volunteers, and dog lovers all around the world today will mourn the passing of one of the most loyal, trusting, well-balanced, and influential pit bull ambassadors the world has ever known. DADDY, Cesar's longtime friend and partner in canine rehabilitation, died peacefully surrounded by family on Friday the 19th of February. He was sixteen years old.

From Millan's memorial page for Daddy:
He lived each day of those sixteen years happy and fulfilled as Cesar’s right-hand-“man,” helping to shape the behavior of entire generations of dogs by showing them the way to balance. He stood as champion for calm-submissive pit bulls everywhere, and was instrumental in helping to repair their image as violent, savage, uncontrollable beasts. He successfully battled cancer and weathered chemotherapy, and even got the opportunity to present at the 56th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards!

Note: I ended this post here but the very first comment posted speaks volumes on the subject of loss so I thought I'd bring it here and share it with you.  Thanks, Luck Luke.

There is never enough time to spend in the company
of those we love.


I Love A Happy Ending

I found a wonderful story during my daily blog reading this morning. You can find it on Paul Luvera's Journal and it felt good to start my day with a smile. I've brought the news video here but Paul's article is really better. Paul's journal entries always leave me full of thought and today was no exception. It's definitely a "goosebumps" story and it also hit home because it's about Blue, an Australian Cattle Dog who protected his family's little girl during a long, cold night in an Arizona arroyo. Since our Gracie is a Red Heeler it immediately piqued my interest.

Excerpts from Paul's entry:
The medic said the girl was facedown in the wash and if it wasn't for her dog, they might not have seen her. But, Blue was acting like he was going to protect her from the medic getting close, until the girl rose up and began to smile. Blue’s mood immediately changed according to the pilot.

"I think once the dog realized we were there to help them out, he was very excited. He ran around while the medic tended to the little girl, and when it was time to go, he jumped right into the helicopter with her and was ready to go."

"She was able to stay warm with the dog. It’s probably one of the things that saved her life." Another said: "We have to give a lot of credit to Blue." Victoria was bare foot and her feet were swollen, she was covered in dirt and scratches and she was somewhat hypothermic. She was flown to the hospital and treated for frostbite, but was otherwise alright.

 I'm thinking good ol' Blue, the Blue Heeler will be dining on steak for a while. What a great ending to what coud have been a tragedy. Most Heeler owner won't be surprised at Blue's heroism. It's really typical of Cattle Dogs. They should have "To Serve and Protect"  stamped on their sides like furry police cars.

Our eight year old Gracie is a Red heeler-aka Australian Cattle Dog, aka Queensland Heeler and I can verify that they are loyal and protective almost to a fault. My sons have expressed serious concern that if I ever need emergency services, the medics may have a problem getting any where near me. It might be a a valid concern. We'll need to work on that. I'm getting old fast.

When we got her in 2003, Gracie immediately bonded with me- unusual since all our previous Labs, recognized Pat as the Alpha and I was simply his consort. The point is, I am Gracie's cow and she lives to protect me. Every night -without fail- once I'm settled in she jumps up on the bed and rests her head on my chest- with her face close to mine (Am I imagining it or is she checking to see if her downed cow's heart is still beating?  Is her cow still breathing? Is that total anthropomorphism?) After a few moments she seems satisfied and moves down to the foot of my bed, facing the door, where she sleeps, but ever alert for wolves and any other maurauders that may attack her cow. She can go from 0 to 60 if someone opens the front door unexpectedly- from a sound sleep to barking and backing up the intruder against the door, who by now is protecting his genitals and yelling, "Mom! Call your dog!"

 Good girl, Gracie!

Time to Rattle Those Pots & Pans

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is the slowest time of the year for me, business wise. I get a few calls each week from loyal customers needing a dog treats delivery (I have some customers on the other end of the island so we often schedule a delivery rendez-vous in the Safeway parking lot. Gotta love small towns) but my baking is at a minimum and I actually start to miss the hectic weekly baking sessions of my Farmer’s Market season. This "down" time is a when I can experiment with different recipes. As official taste tester, Gracie is in dog heaven but many recipes just don't make the cut simply because of the cost. I'll file those away to use in a better economy. Amen

After four years I can make a batch of my current recipes in my sleep. To streamline the process for any recipe I make up "kits" with all the dry ingredients. I keep at least a dozen kits of my standard treats in the freezer. When it’s time to make a batch I can simply combine the dry and wet ingredients and I’m ready to roll..... and cut and bake and package and sell and repeat as needed.
This kit -with six dry ingredients-is ready to go into the mixer with the wet stuff. Since I make my living selling my dog treats I don't share my recipes but all the ingredients are listed on each package. (I think it's crucial to know exactly what you're feeding your dog.) It amazes me but every so often some one will come back to my booth and have the brass cajones to ask "My dog just adores your treats!! Could I get your recipe?"  Just once I'd like to say "You bet! Got $5000 in your purse? Let me write it down for you while you look." Probably not the best response but I'd like to see the expression on the soon-to-be-ex-customers face.

In anticipation of the Farmers' Market season starting in May, I'll be working on some new treat recipes. I may be adding another Market to my schedule so I want to have some new jaw droppers. I've had a number of requests for wheat/gluten free treats for dogs with allergies. I've been dragging my feet because the gluten-free ingredients are so expensive and I’d have to price them accordingly. With the current economy being what it is, I’ve already cut my prices to the bone (no pun intended) to make them as affordable as possible. It seems I'm getting more frequent requests for treats for dogs with allergies so I'm working to develop a wheat/gluten free treat that's as well received as my original chicken treat- and not too costly. I also want to find a couple more good flavors to add to the line. That's on my agenda for next week.

Besides different flavors, I'm trying some different shapes. The classic dog bone shape gets boring so I made some pseudo-donuts using my standard peanut butter recipe. Police dogs should love 'em. Police. Donuts. Get it? Never mind.

I like the way these mini donuts turned out- especially with the yogurt  and carob chip frosting. They're a good size too- just a couple of yummy bites... and as an added bonus the donut holes are just the right size to use for training treats- two products in one process. I like that. Next up? I think I'll try a biscotti type treat but we'll have to come up with a different name because Blue Collar dogs don't do biscotti.

       In the next few days I'll be playing with some of these ingredients.
  Rye, Oat and Gluten-Free Flour         Sweet Potato, carrots & zucchini
                                           Parsley and Mint
I get frequent requests for breath-mint type treats. This should be interesting.

I'm really not looking forward to this one:                          
                                                Ewww.... Liver!
That be-floured kitchen isn't going to clean itself so until next time.....Chow!