Middle school. Home Ec. class. You totally thought you had accomplished something. They taught you how to make 'real' food and make a felt pillow shaped like a cupcake. I mean, really, what more is there to know?
Do you know WHY they taught you to make these delightful 'Hotdog Roll-Ups' (their words, not mine)?
Let me tell you. (Hint: It's not because they're oh so good for you.)
They teach you how to make these because they want you to survive college.
Oh, those other classes tell you they're 'preparing you for college' all the time. They're full of crap. Home Ec class is teaching you how to SURVIVE!
Cuz, you see, when you're a broke college student with a $10 grocery budget - you need to know this stuff.
They're making sure than when you're at Aldi's and you see a package of unidentified carcass sticks (the 'proper' name for hotdogs) for $.79 in the same case as a $.99 tube of generic crescent rolls - you can say to yourself, "Wait a minute, I know EXACTLY what to do with that!" And then, you will go home and make yourself a 'delicious' meal... Well, a meal anyway.
Never mind your moral objection to unidentified carcass sticks. Now is not the time for such foolishness.
You just made an entire meal for $1...and you still have enough to do it again tomorrow. THAT, my friends, is saying something! (let's just hope it's not saying e.coli)
....hmmm... I know I have some of that Pepto Bismol around here somewhere...
Lots of people donate to various charities during the holidays. I'm still not sure exactly why this is - considering there are so many other financial strains at this time, but I guess that's just how it is.
So, I feel in some small way it is my duty to remind people to know what they're giving to before they just hand over their cash.
Some people have the money to be able to give without a second thought. That's not me. It's important to me that my money do the most it possibly can - because there's not much of it.
This is an organization many people are familiar with.
I NEVER give my money to this organization. Let me tell you why.
I don't appreciate being deceived. Many people believe that when they give their money to the HSUS, it is going to the dogs, cats, and other animals in need of care. They believe this because the HSUS goes to great lengths to get them to believe it. Sadly, it's not true. You can read about one specific example of this here. See, that place in your city often called the Humane Society that houses homeless dogs and cats hoping to be adopted is NOT The Humane Society of the United States. I know, sneeky, right? The money you give to the HSUS is not really going to the care of those pets sitting in kennels in your town. It's going to things like lobbyists, advertising, and board member salaries. The HSUS is an animal rights group (much like PETA), not an animal care taking organization. In fact, many people call HSUS "PETA in as suit and tie". There really isn't that much difference between the two.
Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I think things like lobbying aren't important. They are. Lobbying is the way many of the animal welfare laws have been brought to the attention of legislators and passed. I'm also not going to tell you that I necessarily agree with everything the HSUS lobbys for. (but that's a whole different discussion) Either way, I want my money to go where I think it's going. I don't like being tricked. I want my money to go to the local dogs and cats who need it.
THIS is why I NEVER give money. I find the best way to give is by giving supplies the shelter needs. When I see the brand of dog food my local shelter uses (Purina Dog Chow in Green Bay) on sale - I buy some. When paper toweling is on a great sale - I buy a bunch. When my dogs get bored with some of their toys, I wash them and donate them. Many pet supply stores even have a bin you can put the stuff in right there so you don't have to make a special trip out to the shelter. And if I ever decide to give money - I'll give it directly to the shelter or rescue I want it to go to.
So, if you're going to give this holiday season (and I hope you do), just remember that all is not as it seems. Educate yourself, and ask questions. The dogs will thank you for it.
Like a mist, consciousness drifted over the drowsing group. Here and there a
muzzle lifted so the owner could scent-scan the air. A dozen pairs of ears
swiveled and then pricked. She was coming. One by one, they sensed her
A heavy tail thumped as a Samoyed gazed down the starry path. It had been a
long time for him, this waiting. No matter, the feel of her caress was fresh
and unfaded. He had slumbered for over forty years, paws twitching, dreaming
of her arrival and of dashes of mountain trails. He never knew when his
breath had frozen mid-dream. He had just continued his sleepy vigil.
"She comes." The knowledge passed from dog to dog. A shaggy form rose and
yawned. How many steps had he taken at her side through busy happy years, through lean and bitter years? Nearby, a nervous whine escaped the wolfish throat
of a more anxious creature.
A shifting weight from paw to paw betrayed the restlessness of the show dog.
His immaculate coat showed now rumpling from his long repose. Beside him, a
little bitch crept forward to peer between the shoulder of those in front of
Across the broad expanse, dogs were rising, throwing off the effects of
their deep slumber. Ice crystals from New England, the Rockies, Alaska, the
Arctic and Antarctic were flung into the air to mingle and fall with a minute
They all knew she had loved them. The unchangeable law that a dog's life is
of short duration compare to man's had doomed her to countless partings. Her dogs would be waiting, the old timers said, to pull her sled throughout
eternity. The musher's legend had comforted her and years later when she was frail
and aged, she would think of her dogs resting expectantly, timelessly until
the reunion should come. Could such a lovely thought come true?
Closer. She was very near now. A small fox of a Siberian stirred and climbed
to her feet. She was dwarfed by a grey giant who had pushed to the front of
the crowd. They shared a question, "who will lead to the mistress?"
The answer came as a massive paw extended and flexed. Tawny fur quivered as
the dog stretched and shook off decades of sleep. The mistress' first lead dog
would be her leader now.
The great dog went to stand far ahead of a grey-weathered sled. Slowly,
tentatively, the multitude found their places. The legend was coming alive. A
promise was being kept.
A chubby, clownish face turned to look back. It split into the trademark
Husky grin. All stood ready. She was here.
The mistress stepped across the threshold and paused. Her breath caught. Her
heart thumped and last beat. The scene cleared before her as years fell away
from her eyes, her body. It was true - all as it had been foretold.
A team of a thousand strong stood before her. Sled dogs of every
description...each a well-loved friend eager to away, to race down the trail. A querying
bark from the golden dog broke her reverie. She smiled. With the swift,
free motion of a youth, she stepped upon the runners and placed her hand on the
driving bow. Team, sled, and driver sprang ahead and vanished in a flurry of
snowflakes and windrush. Godspeed.
A hardy and eager worker, the Samoyed is known for black lips that curl slightly at the corners into the "Samoyed smile." Bright and alert, he likes to stay busy and enjoys participating in agility, herding, weight pulling, sledding, pack hiking, conformation shows and more! His heavy, weather resistant coat is suitable for very cold climates and should be pure white, white and biscuit, cream or biscuit.
Check out that Samoyed smile:
Speaking of smiles... I know somebody else who's smile I love:
Hmmm... come to think of it, maybe that's why I like those Samoyeds so much. They remind me of my Lilly.
They're practically twins... ya know, minus the black nose, purkey ears, and great big coat...
I took it this evening. Then, feeling a little frisky, I downloaded a free photo editor so I could play with it. It's called Paint.net and it's quite awesome. This particular feature is the 'oil paint' effect. It's faboo!
I love this one too...
It's called "pensil sketch". I can tweak the thickness of the pensil strokes to make the shading darker or lighter and everything... it's just plain cool!
OOhh Ohhh! And "sepia"...
Oh, be still my heart, that girl sure is pretty.
If any of these pictures strike your fancy, and you would like a high-res. copy to print out and hang on your fridge, or make as your desktop background... you can find them here:
The point of this blog was to tell the story of my dogs. Sometimes I lose track of that.
That's ok. They don't mind.
Since it's not all that long since Thanksgiving and we're heading toward Christmas - I've been thinking about what I'm truly thankful for... about what truly brings me happiness in my life.
Bailey is one of those things.
Ten years ago I wanted solid, stable, capable, fearless dogs. Preferably a pair or Rottweilers. I had been training for only a few years, but I was pretty good at it. I dreamed of beautiful militant dogs who asked how high when I told them to jump.
I never got my militant Rottweilers. (but I did eventually learn the Rottweiler in my head and the Rottweiler in real life were two very different breeds)
What I fell in love with was a fearful, anxiety filled, chicken shit German Shepherd mix who just plain shut down when he couldn't deal with the situation at hand. He ran from men, and shook violently in new places. If he was off leash, he just plain ran. I wanted him to learn new things, and all he wanted to do was hide in the corner and shake like a leaf. I loved him dearly, but we did not get along very well for the first few years.
At home, I would call him to me and he would run into his kennel for fear I was going to force him to do something - he didn't know what, and he didn't want to find out. His obedience was surprising great in a familiar place, but his previous training had not been a positive thing in his life.
I felt like all I was able to accomplish with him was to make us both miserable. Some days I just hated him and thought I really made a mistake adopting him. Some days I felt completely unqualified to help him. Technically, I was.
I changed all his commands to German and started to focus on what he needed from me rather than what I wanted from him. I began to find the ability to let go of my unrealistic expectations. Slowly, he started to teach me and I started to figure out how to help him overcome his anxiety.
People who know my dog today simply don't believe me when I tell them the dog they are petting at one time would have run away from them peeing all over himself and shaking violently. Had he been a fear-biter, he never would have made it past 6 months of age.
Now, I truly love working with shy/soft dogs. They force me to turn off the brash personality that comes naturally to me and figure out how to soften myself and help them build confidence and work through their fears.
I love that boy with all my heart and can never repay him for all he has taught me. I'm glad he's getting a chance to live the life he deserves to live now. I hope it continues to be a long and healthy one.
Today, he is registered as: Edles Lehrer vom haus Treehugger
I think this year might be the first in many years that I have actually been happy about the weather getting colder. We're supposed to get snow tomorrow... and I'm happy about it.
It's ok, don't call 911. I don't have a fever, I'm not experiencing dementia.
I'm simply suffering from falling in love with sled dogs.
I've been reading a couple sled dog kennel blogs and they're really hurting with this unseasonably warm weather. You just can't run these dogs in 50+ degree weather, they can actually suffer heat exhaustion. Poor things. If these racers don't get out enough now, they won't be properly conditioned for races this winter and that's just not good.
I didn't know this, but apparently last year the film crew that does the "Deadliest Catch" show actually documented the Iditarod in Alaska. I found a DVD of the 6 episodes at the library. I wasn't planning to watch them all at once - so much for that. I watched the whole thing and was up WAY too late. I discovered that I absolutely LOVE this woman:
She has participated in the Ididarod since the year before I was born, and she shows no signs of stopping any time soon. This past March she ran her 27th race. Of those 27 races, she's only scratched twice. She's survived a life threatening car crash, breast cancer and had a double massecomy, but she hasn't quit. She's truly accomplished some incredible things, but the thing I love about her is the relationship she clearly has with her dogs. You can see it just in the way she talks to them. I could only hope to be lucky enough to see her cross the finish line in Nome someday.
I'm standing on the concrete slab with my hands stuffed in my pockets keeping them warm. One hand clenched around the ID I need to board. I'm always trying to keep track of that ID. I don't carry money with me, and if I lose it I've got a big problem. I'm the only one here. I position myself about 12 feet from the edge of the slab. Twelve feet is just the right amount of distance, I think. A couple other people join me. Some stand closer to the edge, some further away. Lots stand near the butt cans with cigarettes in their hands.
The bus arrives. As people see it pull into the lot, they start moving in my direction. It comes to a stop right at the edge of the concrete slab.
The bus is full. There are lots of people that need to get off before any of us can board. Before the doors even open people start racing past me. I don't move. They crowd around the door. Sometimes they're are so many of them that the people getting off the bus must weave like NFL running backs to get through. The bus is finally empty, and now even more people push in front of me in their race to board. I slowly start to take one step at a time toward the door of the bus. With each step another person arrives and pushes their way in front of me. I get on the bus, there are still many empty seats. I choose the one that has the most leg room. I hate having my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me. I avoid it whenever I can.
I start to think about what it is that makes people feel they need to push, shove, block, and cut-off anyone between them and boarding this bus. What is it, exactly? Why do people do this? First I ponder, maybe it's a result of people who have not had a lot of opportunities in their lives. Maybe they have learned they need to fight for everything, because it's the only way they'll ever get anything. I suppose this is possible, but then wouldn't those who have had darn near everything handed to them (certainly every necessity) in their lives exhibit the opposite behavior? But, this is not the reality in my experience. Then again, perhaps the more fortunate exhibit their pushy behavior as a result of a different motivating factor - perhaps they just feel they are entitled to what ever they want. I'm not sure. Then I think maybe it's a result of a persons selfish or selfless nature. I suppose it could be, but I personally can be a pretty selfish person and I don't feel the need to cut people off and force my way onto the bus. Maybe I'm just not selfish enough. I don't think i like that theory - too assuming, and highly unlikely. Maybe it's the way people were raised. Or whether people are more likely to 'sweat the small stuff'. I'm definitely not a 'small stuff sweater' - that could explain it. But my mom used to be prone to sweating the small stuff (I don't think she does as much anymore) and I have never known her to be pushy in these kinds of situations, ever. Which does lend some support to the idea that how one is raised has much to do with it. Maybe it's a lack of respect thing. Though I'm not sure how I feel about just saying that everybody who exhibits this behavior is disrespectful... then again, to some degree, they really are, aren't they ...
WOAH! That's my stop coming up!
I still don't know the answer... I was just pondering.
So...say... you were a cat. And your mother told you to leave the damn bag alone.
It really might be in your best interest to leave the damn bag alone!
If you don't, this might happen...
I heard rustling of the Schlotzski's bag so I walked into the living room prepared to yell. This is what I saw. After I stopped laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, I grabbed the camera as fast as I could and snapped this picture. Then, I realized he really couldn't get it off and he was beginning to hyperventilate and freak out. So, like a good mother, I put the camera down and helped him out. I'm nice like that. Well, usually.
You think he'll listen to me next time? I don't.
Cats. They're not very good at learning their lesson.
I climbed into bed, watched Ever After, and took a nap this evening. This is what I saw when I walked into my room. I don't think I'll ever grow tired of this site.
Earlier this week I made this bread.
It looks pretty. But that's all it has going for it.
It's terrible. If anybody ever mentions they think cinnamon raisin beer bread sounds like a good idea. They're wrong. Run away. Run away fast.
On Saturday, Lilly and I took a road trip to Plymouth to see her foster mom and go to a Wildtree party. We're broke - so we didn't buy anything, but it was nice for Lilly's foster mom to get to see her for the first time since Lilly came home over a year ago. Lilly didn't react quite like I expected her to. She seems a little unsure of the whole thing, and slightly confused.
I suppose I shouldn't feel bad about it - she did amazingly well in a strange place with so many people, and it's clear she's become very bonded to me. She came to me whenever she needed a little boost of confidence, and she was as well behaved as I could ever dream to ask for.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps she's growing to be too dependant on me, but at the same time I think it's better for her to know she can come to me when she needs me rather than feeling like she has to take on the world by herself. I see Bailey sometimes struggle with feeling like he can't trust anybody to help him when his confidence wains, and I just can't imagine that's necessarily a better way to live.
Unfortunately, I can't ask them - so I guess I'll just go with my gut on this one.
Let me tell you something about this little girl...
Not only is she cute, oh god help me is she cute, she's also incredibly patient. Her patience positively astounds me. Quite frankly, I don't quite know how she pulls it off.
She never tries to run me over to get out the door of the house, like SOME dogs I know. She waits patiently for food, for toys, or for treats. Sometimes she wants something so bad I can actually see her inner struggle - but she waits it out with not much more than an 'alien cry' and a full body wag. (you can't truly understand the full effect of the alien cry unless you know my little girl well, but it's quite endearing, if you ask me)
There's another kind of patience Miss Lilly has. Patience that I imagine she shares only with saints. Patience that sometimes makes me love her so much it hurts.
You see, we all live with this guy.
He's sweet enough, but let's face it - he can be a serious pain in the ass. When he likes you, he REALLY likes you, and he wants to make sure you know it. He's not shy about expressing his love to any and every random passer-by, even if it means climbing on their head and chewing on their hair. He's quite the feline creature.
Unfortunately for Lilly, he really loves her a lot. This could partly be a result of Bailey making a clear statement to him on more than one occasion that his love is NOT welcomed by dogs in this house of the German Shepherd persuasion.
We all need a warm cuddly friend some nights, and Lilly is his. Poor, sweet, patient Lilly.
This is what I regularly see when I head to bed...
You see, Leo doesn't really believe in sleeping NEXT to Lilly - he finds it far more enjoyable to sleep ON her. He will climb on and over her at will, poking, prodding, and licking as he goes. If his annoyance gets to be too much for her, she quietly gets up and moves to a different spot on the bed. Sadly, this creature cannot be so easily deterred.
I admire her patience, but often I think she's getting an unfair shake of the stick. Her sweetness is being taken advantage of. And we just can't have my best good girl being taken advantage of. Sometimes the irritating creature must be removed from the bed. Sometimes he must be contained under the blankets behind my knees. Fortunately, this often pacifies him so Little Miss can get her beauty rest.
Frankly, I just don't know how he doesn't drive her to the brink of insanity.
Then again, during the day, she finds great joy in pinning him to the ground and chewing on his head for entertainment. Perhaps it's a fair trade-off after all.
Contrary to popular belief, I like kids.
Well, some kids.
Some kids I really like a lot.
Some kids I really miss.
When I was dating Tracy, his friend had two little kids. I really miss those kids.
They were little demon children when they were with their parents, but when it was just us it was a totally different story. I may have been the only person who gave them the attention they craved... and the only person to ever read to them. I hope I'm not the only person who ever brought them to Bay Beach and the Wildlife sanctuary.
I can't even imagine how big they must be now.
I like to borrow kids. They're so much more fun that way. Its easy for me to come up with really fun things to do with kids because I don't have to feed, clothe, and entertain them every day of their lives.
Remember a while back when I lied and promised I was going to tell you about things I did this summer. I got around to telling you some of the things I did, but I left one out. Perhaps it was a conscious omission, perhaps not. I haven't decided yet.
Anyway, Deanne and I took CJ and Zachery to Bay Beach on a beautiful summer Friday afternoon. We took tons of pictures and tried to make a video of them. I'm not very good at making videos and the program on my computer seems to be defective - it locks up a lot. It pretty much failed miserably. I haven't had time to fix it.
This is a clip I managed to get loaded, if you wish to watch it.
Here are some pictures:
We had to convince CJ he wouldn't get in trouble for having his hat on sideways to take this one.
CJ was facinated with the wheels.
That's right... they picked the pink bug all on their own.
What ever would their fathers say?
Waiting in line is hard.
Cute, cute, cute!
We saved the Ferris Wheel for last.
CJ was a fan.
That last one might be part of the reason I didn't post this last month.
You can hear it all the time on TV during tournaments. Tiger Woods tees up, hits a nice drive, and invariably some idiot will yell it: "Git in the HOLE!" Never mind the fact that the hole is a par 6 - that idiot clearly thinks he can somehow will the ball to find its way to the little cup cut out of the green hundreds of yards away.
"Are you too good for your home?" Name that movie!!
My shots don't usually "Git in the hole." In fact, I'm pretty good at getting them lots of places far, far away from the hole. Ok, maybe I'm not that bad all the time... but sometimes I definitely am.
Today, my brother and I went golfing at Shorewood.
Shorewood is no par 3 course, but most of the holes are managable for me, and it's a pretty walk.
I didn't lose any balls in these particular woods today. And that, my friends, is an accomplishment.
OOH! Ducks! Preeeettttyyy!
Apparently, the ducks have seen me drive. The ducks are concerned.
Here, this guy will show us how it's done...
GIT IN THE HOLE!
Sorry, couldn't help it.
"Damn it, Billy! How am I supposed to hit a double birdy with the shower iron?
You're embarrassing me in front of my friends!"
-Name THAT movie!
There are some important decisions that must be made when golfing...
BALL in focus...
FLAG in focus...
I'm just not sure. What do you think?
Or perhaps the traditional horizontal format speaks to you...
Hmmm... looks like SOMEBODY forgot to rake the sand trap after they walked through it...
Hopefully, there will be a couple nice days yet this month to get my last few rounds in. But, here in Wisconsin, one never knows.
This is a love story. A love story about a pancake. A pancake of eggy perfection. A pancake that could stop your heart with one bite. Literally.
The recipe for this pancake is in my cookbook/binder as "Best Pancakes EVER". I found it years ago somewhere online. I haven't got a clue where. From what I understand, they're not all that uncommon. I don't make them often - you will soon see why. But, when I do, they never disappoint. They are pure magic.
Last time I made them it was summer. Strawberries and Blueberries were in abundant supply. (Oh, what I wouldn't give to have strawberries and bluberries in abundant supply year-round.) I decided to make a berry syrup to put on top of my pancakes this time.
Toss the berries in pan and let them cook down. A sprinkle of sugar might be a nice touch.
Then, a heavy oven safe dish (or even pan) with 1/3 stick butter needs to go in the oven to melt the butter.
Now, time to make the batter:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup half and half
I officially do not recommend whole wheat flour. I tried it this particular time. Pretty much ruined the whole thing. They did not live up to their full potential at all. Let's be real - If you can't bring yourself to use the white ultra refined flour, you probably haven't gotten past the 1/3 stick of butter anyway, right?
The batter will make 2 - 3 pancakes, depending on how big you decide to make them. 1 pancakes is plenty for one serving.
Tilt the baking dish to butter all sides. Pour 1/2 to 1/3 of batter into butter. (You would need 2 dishes to make 2 at a time.)
Pop it into a 425 degree oven and watch the magic happen.
When the pancake is golden brown on top, remove it from the oven. Use whatever means necessary to remove it from the baking dish/pan. The pancake will collapse and shrivel a bit, don't worry, all is well.
Now, you can just sprinkle your beautiful pancake with a little lemon juice and powdered sugar.
But, as you recall, I have some delicious berry syrup cooking.
Oh, see, now that's just perfection!
(Remember, this one was made with whole wheat flour - yours likely won't be this dark)
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some pancakes to make.