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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Beginnings...

New Years Eve 2009 finds me reflecting on past 12 months...the good, not so good...lessons learned.
I have never been one to make New Years Resolutions, never really saw the need to set myself up for failure. I strive for improvement on a daily basis...always new things to be learned.

2009, we brought the New year in with the addition of puppy Bailey. It has been both a pleasure and joy to watch him grow, play....we have a lovely pack and to have had the opportunity to watch the relationships in the pack flourish, especially that of Rocky and Bailey...truly joyful.

Little Niki still standing strong...the Little dog that could ;-)
Gemma...amazing how she adjusted to all of the many changes during the past year...proof as to the strength and love in our little pack...together we can get through just about anything....I give them strength, guidance, respect and love....they to me....the same.

My fifty-ith year found me a little more stiff and hands, well the progression of Lupus and RA, along with the normal aging process has indeed given me a run for my money. Several months into 2009 I realized my life was headed for big changes...the best way to describe it....fear. I was fearful of the the changes to come...of the things I would now have to struggle to accomplish....more fearful of those things I would not accomplish.
As I worked less and I picked up my camera, painted....created less and less my thoughts turned to a few years ago...when I stopped training dogs for a living because of health issues...I am indeed running out of ways to "reinvent" myself.

Sometimes it really is just best to breath in deep....find your strength and jump...
I did, and When I landed I did so with sand under my feet...Florida is now our home.
The move has brought me closer to several family members, both in miles and in our daily lives....and for that I am Thankful.
The Beach....what can I say....I love the sound, smells of the ocean. I so love the fact that during a run to the grocery store I can just stop at the pier....makes me smile. The simple joy of Taking the dogs for a walk on the beach....oh how we love it.
Of course there are trade in FL one must deal with yearly arrival of the Hurricane season.

So...Here we are...2010's arrival just hours away...
I am hoping for more of the, 2009 was not a perfect year...the economy....the fact that I have not issues...still I am saddened it is coming to a close....I will not be giving in, giving up anytime soon.

To My Friends and readers that have taken the time to visit,support us and spend a little time with us....we will be be here this upcoming year...sharing our Tales and adventures here in St. training tips, videos...some wonderful recipes for people and their dogs... sharing some wonderful images....selling some of my art work and hopefully making a few new Friends along the way.

May you each have a Happy, Healthy New Year and may you be surrounded by those you love, and those that love you the most, may you each have wonderful New Beginnings in the year to come ;-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Carol...

"Tis the season and we made this little Christmas Carol just for you ;-)

The other day as I was going through boxes for Holiday decorations for the tree I ran across the Hallmark snowman and dog singing Jingle Bells stuffed toy (batteries not included). I fell in love with it several years ago and just had to have it...still the same batteries I originally put in...still working.

While Bailey was part of the pack last year....he was just a little pup so this year we are being extra careful with all decorations for the tree. Everything catches his eye and is new and interesting.
I placed the stuffed toy on the floor and allowed everyone to sniff....then turned it on.
Oh my....he sang right along with it....barking howling...the other dogs looked at him as though he had lost his mind.

Interesting in that Bailey seems to have the ability to hear things the others do not...and while I no doubt some of the things he hears are indeed his imagination....he hears better then the others. Also, in cleaning, touching his ears are much more sensitive as well so I am not at all surprised to his reactions to it.

He is very much a talker...when he is happy or excited he tells a good tale and can be pretty loud. This afternoon I once again introduced it to the pack this time camera ready.
When he realized I was not going to allow him to "Have " he so tried to "ignore it....but so anticipated the ending.

So, if you like Goldens....sit back and enjoy....I am sure it will make you smile. if you turn the sound to the player on the site off. Scroll down, on the right you will see Dee's Playlist...then the player itself.
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Decorating...

For those wanting to watch the turn off the sound to the site:
Scroll down, on the right hand side is the player, click the middle button.
For those wondering why I scolded Rocky at the end...he is allowed outside for potty runs, no running, play...for 3-4 weeks (one week down). When he is the most energetic I have him leashed, every once in a while he "tries" to have a good romp...I am the fun police and just cannot allow it, for his own good.

Today found Mike out front putting up a few lights...
it was 80 degrees ;-)
Sometime this week I either have to find or make a wreath for the front just needs little something. Then that is it....not going crazy with it this year.
I happen to enjoy the Holiday Season, though like to keep it simple.

Almost done with shopping, another of which I am not going crazy with. Still must pick up the dogs presents. Yes, I do happen to buy a few chew toys for the pups. They love presents...though prefer you to open them for them ;-)
A few years back we had a dog that so loved presents...did not matter that they were not for rip off the paper, and move to the next gift was sooo much fun for him.

So, tell me, do you purchase gifts for your furry friends?
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pet Parents...

The last few weeks has found Rocky and I at one of the local vet clinics here in St. Augustine. It was a bit difficult to dx him for at the time we had been treating his ears for a nasty yeast infection, but then he started cocking his head to the side and limping.

Still, even after spending almost $800.00 we are not too sure as to just what....leaning towards cervical disc disease. Poor, handsome Rocky. He has had joint issues since he was a puppy.

While waiting for his prescriptions to be filled we sat in the waiting area. In walked a lovely, adorable Westie pup. So happy to see everyone and announce his presence. An older couple were at the end of the leash and they seemed to be embarrassed over the dogs exuberance. I smiled and had Rocky sit. The Westie barked, and pulled on his leash. The girl at the desk asked if the barking bothered the couple... they replied that they would prefer he did not bark. Girl at the desk starts telling them about a bark collar....also, she kept repeating "pet parents"..."All of our pet parents who have barking dogs have had great success with the use of one of our citronella collars".

My right eye began to twitch...the girl at the desk was really doing her best to sell them when I asked how old the dog was....6 months. I started asking questions about the breed to see if they knew about Westies, yes, they had one before. I asked if that one had barked, not too much they replied. I then said at six months the dog had found his they should start teaching "Quiet", teaching sit, teaching the dog to be calm. The poor girl at the desk once again mentioned that the success rate with the clinic pet parents (my eye really began twitching) and the citronella collar....I just raised my hand and told the girl to please be quiet.
I know, but hey.....once you turn fifty you really learn to just speak your mind ;-)
Well...all right, if any one that really knows me is reading this I know just what your I started speaking my mind when I turned 20!

I am not a big fan of the term "Pet Parents". I feel it takes away some of the dogs dignity. To me, it is in no way endearing...mostly used by those individuals. with an agenda...sales, advertising, animal activist groups.

I asked a few more questions of the Westies people...are they home with the dogs, yes, crate trained, yes....does the dog bark in the crate....if he hears a noise....mostly quiet. I then asked if they thought that the dog had a barking, but they would like to turn him off.

Training tools are wonderful and indeed have their place. Working with a young dog is as easy as implementing it into your daily life with the dog. So...I suggested they do just that.

As for "Pet Parents"....what do you think...anyone reading today??

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Song Debut: Julian Lennon's 'Lucy' |

Song Debut: Julian Lennon's 'Lucy' |

Proceeds from purchases of the single, available only at iTunes from Dec. 15-Jan. 1, will go towards the St. Thomas' Lupus Trust in Great Britain and the Lupus Foundation of America.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Choose LED Holiday Lights

Choose LED Holiday Lights

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With Thanksgiving behind us many of us are now gearing up for Christmas. My tree is up, though I need to finish decorating it...outside lights up.
While we did have Bailey last year during Christmas he was just a puppy....I opted to not put up a tree. So, this will be his first time around a tree. He has sniffed it but that is all.

I have many ornaments and other interesting things that hang on the tree...I will have to pay close attention to both him and Rocky for ornaments swallowed can indeed be dangerous for our furry friends....and tinsel is a big no no. Using coated wire you can easily secure your ornaments to the tree to ensure your furry friends safety. please know if your not paying attention, well I have heard many a tale of pets knocking the tree that as well ;-)

What's On Dee's Plate

OK....I admit it, I am not really crazy about Turkey, still each and every year I purchase a fresh bird, a rather large bird at that. This year I hosted my family. Six adults...after dinner, before desert the leftovers are put away, the meat is removed from the carcass everything gets placed in the refrigerator. You NEVER throw away the carcass. From that the most hearty soup can be made.

Come Friday morning a rather large pot is placed on the stove....the turkey carcass is added....lots of broth...onions, celery carrots & some garlic. It simmers the reminder of the day....lunch...turkey sandwich, dinner, leftovers from Thanksgiving....that is the end of the turkey for the reminder, and there is still a good bit left is added to the soup....along with the leftover gravy.

Once the soup is done all bones removed, remainder of turkey meat added, gravy added and frozen veggies.
This is why I make a Turkey each and every year....nothing like a great big bowl of turkey soup.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canine see, Canine do...

Having four dogs in the pack is sooo much fun....and sooooooooo much work. I am typing that with a huge smile on my face for I in no way mean that as a complaint, although...there are such moments... every now and again.

Today happened to be bath day for two lucky pups. A "younger" me would have had them groomed and bathed all within an I brushed all four and bathed two.
I dragged the booster bath out into the driveway. For those of you with bad backs....or just tired of bending this doggie bath tub is very much worth the money. Once the tub was set up I brought out a little stool, set up the drier, placed several towels on the stool...rolled up my selves...ready for the first dog....Niki.

She is so easy...once the final rinse is over she is ready to run around...shaking...shaking and more shaking. Then her most favorite....being towel dried....she loves it.

Rocky....oh my...he has soooo much coat. It takes a long time to do a good rinsing on him....and the drying, well my hands will be sore for a few days. His favorite part is the bath itself. He would prefer to air dry however he has so much coat he would never dry, best to use the pet dryer for him.

Once the dogs are almost completely dry we headed out back for some late afternoon fun.
There is a distraction in our yard this fall... lots of pine cones and acorns have been scattered about.
Pine cones are fun for the dogs....though I go around picking the majority will get passed me and they will chew, play with it....taking turns....I oversee making sure no one is ingesting....they are distracted and it is tossed if I notice someone trying to eat it....usually Bailey....Niki.
There of course are dangers in allowing your dogs to eat pine cones as they can cause obstruction in the intestines.

The acorns found under the oak tree is of much concern for these are indeed can they also cause obstructions in the intestines. The toxins can cause vomiting, diarrhea to more serious... kidney failure. Also....if like me you have an oak tree in your yard, make sure that oak leaves do not get in your dogs water dish as this can cause oak poisoning. Not the tree of choice for a yard with dogs....mine came with the house.

It started with one dog...Gemma finds these little morsels tasty...then Niki showed an interest....and now all feel the need to have a taste. Canine see, Canine do!
I have my work cut out for me....thankfully, I have noticed less of them falling.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Dogs...

Upon my arrival home this afternoon the dogs were so quiet/ calm as I made my way through the house...letting each dog out of the crates, one at a time. They know if they fuss a bit they will have to wait to be released....and they soooo want to go have some fun. Such a wonderful way to teach them to be calm when you arrive home....all about timing and when to open the crate door....just wait for them to be calm, they catch on very quickly.
Excitement was in the air....Play time.

Before we actually got to have fun...Poor Rocky has been dealing with ear problems since being down here, last few days they had gotten so bad, especially one. He was one miserable pup yesterday....following me around, tail tucked under, head cocked a interest in play. I whipped up a batch of the Blue Ear Solution and after 24 hours....using it twice a day he is once again wagging that tail, showed some interest in playing with Bailey this afternoon. Keeping a close eye on this for it can go into the inner ear will I have to continue cleaning them out twice daily for a little longer.

When cleaning their ears you should never spray, or pour ear solution into the ear canal....easier method is soaking a cotton ball, lifting the ear flap, gently lay the cotton ball there, lowering the flap and again, gently massaging. Then wiping out all of the crevices with the cotton ball, then allowing the dog to shake before gently drying the flaps with a clean, soft dry cloth.

After they had several good romps....a game or two of chase, Frisbee, ball then just wandering about...taking in all of the scents in the yard....then finally....all joined me in the shade where we sat and just enjoyed the reminder of the afternoon....very happy dogs.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Orangutan and the Hound

Watch more National Geographic Channel videos on AOL Video


Early Morning Romp...

I am not a morning person...never was. living with RA has made that even more so for when you are very much like the tin man. Stiff, your movements are awkward...but, with four dogs....movement is a must. I call it the morning shuffle. The good thing, it does improve as the day progresses.

This morning as I was letting the dogs out in the yard they were so very excited, another day. I so admire how they embrace each and every day, this morning they had to check all scents out to see what critters visited their yard during the night. Not sure about who visited but there were several new pine cones scattered much fun can be had with pine cones...they make great chew toys (do not allow your dogs to ingest these for they can cause obstructions)...toss and shake is always fun with a pine cone, oh and parading it around in their mouths in front of the others...makes the others jealous and usually a game of chase will ensue. you can see is pretty darn fast and has a good bit of herding drive...notice the pine cone is long gone at this point, now just chasing and being chased.

I know your wondering what I am doing while all this fun is taking place...walking around with popper scooper in hand cleaning up after was then I spied this lovely spider web. I stopped and looked, no spider....the morning dew just glistening off the web strands. I thought that the light would have been so much better earlier, who knows, maybe I will get a second chance tomorrow morning!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cheeeeeese Cake....

The Holiday season is here...ready or not here it comes.
This year I will be hosting Thanksgiving...I am indeed a smart host!
I know there is no way I can cook and make all guests happy so I tell them to bring their most favorite dish, one in which they just cannot do without. Me, I am in charge of the Turkey/ stuffing, whipped potatoes and two being Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I find cheesecake to be one of the simplest deserts to make....yes, you can purchase one, but homemade is really the best. Over the last twenty some odd years I have cooked with a gas stove, now I have electric...not liking it too much. I much prefer gas. Due to the series of little accidents that ocured a few weeks back when making a cheese cake for my sister I thought I best to do a test run on the pumpkin cheesecake.

Several things to remember when making a cheesecake....ingredients are best at room temperature....moisture, one of the most important things to consider. I place a pie dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and fill with hot water. The cake bakes on the middle shelf at about 350 for about 30 minutes, then I turn it down to 325. This cheesecake I did a sour cream topping...when the cheesecake was almost done baking, I remove to pour on the sour cream mixture and bake a few more minutes to set. it is removed...the center should be a bit jiggly, if not it is overcooked. Letting it cool with aluminum foil resting on the top of the pan (keeping the moisture in).Once cool cover and place in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or so.

I was the taste tester this morning...yes...what a burden ;-)
Since there was no one here to join me, the remainder of the cake was frozen....cheese cake freezes well for up to a month.

A very off day...

We all have those know, you over sleep...and then from there things just are a bit off. So too do our dogs have an off day every now and again....of course it could very well be that we set the tone for their day.

So, my video shows the pack and I just not on the same page...dogs forgetting commands, not really wanting to play....just a bit off. Those are the days you just simply smile...tomorrow is another day ;-)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heart Of Courage - Veterans Day Remembrance Day

Because of You...
by Roger Robicheau

You put it on the line for us
We won’t forget, you are A-Plus

This country stands because of you
Your service seals red white, and blue

No better troops embrace this earth
Thank God for you, our greatest worth

We pray for you both night and day
God be with you along your way

You wear your uniform with pride
And use your skills, so well applied

The rank you hold does mean one thing
You’re a GI and you are first-string

Be well assured we back you strong
How proud we say ‘that you belong’

Without your will - to walk the walk
We’d have no right - to talk the talk

©2003Roger J. Robicheau

Monday, November 9, 2009

Comfort Food...

We were all raised with foods that to this day we love to prepare for our families. Those foods that take us back to when we were kids. I remember as a young girl coming home from school, doing my homework and taking a nap curled up in a chair in the living room, Mom fixing dinner. The smells...the sounds from the kitchen...comfort food.

One of those meals for me is Pot Roast with whipped potatoes and carrots.
I love it....though do not really eat it that often. For that reason I do not feel bad that I do not follow a "low fat" recipe. yes, you can indeed cut the fat and it would still be very good....however...if you do not have all that often...splurge.

Pot Roasts is just one of those meats that is so easy to prepare...and so many methods to cook it. For this pot roast I used my dutch oven pot on the stove top, heated it up while I placed the meat on a paper towel making sure it was dry on both sides. I then cut up two med. sized onions, removed the peel on four med. sized garlic pieces....I peeled about six carrots and cut in half. I salted and peppered the meat...drizzled a little olive oil on it and placed in the heated pot...while in the pot I salted and peppered the other side, drizzled a small amount of oil of it. Once it was nice and browned I turned it over and browned. Then time to de-glaze....I pour a good bit of red wine in...simmer for a few minutes then add beef broth. I place the cut up onions in the pot, garlic goes in, and place the carrots on top of the meat....not in the broth and wine. they actually steam rather then becoming mushy when placed in the liquid. Cover and simmer until the meat is so very tender and juicy.

Whipped potatoes...peel and cut up potatoes...add to salted water boil 'til tender, drain add to your mixing bowl...butter, and whole milk...beat until creamy and lump free.

Fudge Brownies, and not the boxed version. I know, so many of you love the boxed me they are a little too sweet so when I want something like brownies, I want homemade. Again, this is something I do not make too often, truth be told I had not made these in several years.
the best ingredients are used:
Ghirardelli Chocolate Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, unsweetened chocolate,unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract, sugar,eggs, instant coffee, flour, baking powder, kosher salt, walnuts, peanut butter.
My batch I did half with peanut butter swirl.
Topped with Purely decadent Vanilla Bean ice cream (it is made with coconut milk is is so very tasty and found in your local grocery).

My image of the brownies...after giving most away to guests, I was left with less then perfect pieces for my photograph...matters very little what it looks was very good. this piece happened to have some of the peanut butter....yummmmmy ;-)

The image below of the Goldens, just a moment captured this afternoon after a good play, then all got to rest in the grass...I took the opportunity to catch up on a little reading.

Remember, when photographing your furry friends, wonderful to get images when your dog is looking directly at you and the camera, don't forget that those moments when your pets are just doing their thing make some of the best photographs ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dog Chatter....

Before veiwing the video please turn the music to the web site off. To the right scroll down to Dee's Playlist on the right side of the page.

Finally, several days of cooler temps. Air turned opened and fresh air in....lovely. It was so nice that the dogs and I took several me, they so enjoy the cooler temps.

As I put this little video together I smiled....I often chat with my dogs. Since it is just the dogs and I a good part of the day...well it helps me. I no doubt outsiders roll their eyes and think it is time to call the funny farm...but I am not at all crazy...well in other areas of my life no doubt ;-), not when it comes to the dogs.

It is how we communicate, and realize that our furry friends do indeed have a clue. As the human/canine relationship grows and the bond strengthens the level of communication improves. Think about it....your furry friends are very good at getting what they need, want from you....just by way of a certain look, whimper, bark....whine, meow. So too does our furry friends learn to hear the tone of our voice...they learn the meaning of certain words...and of course they are masters at reading our body language!!
I so love to crank the radio up and dogs love, to my dogs singing is like an human ears...finger nails on a chalk board... I promise to NEVER video tape my singing...cross my heart ;-)

So...wondering, just how many of you talk to your furry friends??
Thursday, November 5, 2009

No Petting the Armadillo...

It Is the little things In life that seem to most Intrigue me and hold my Interest....
My alter ego Is an Individual that Is Indeed fearless and an out doorsy gal...In real life, not so much.
However, when behind the lens of my camera....I am Indeed fearless....ok, maybe not so much fearless...more like my camera Indeed comes between subject, object....It Is my talisman...warding off evil.

During a walk out to the mail box with NIkI a while back I noticed a hole dug In the garden out front, right next to the foundation....hmmmmm
What could It be....I start researching online and guessed It to be an Armadillo. Made so much sense for I also had been finding areas of the lawn, dirt dug up....pretty decent holes.

Now, I have been told these could also be found where I used to live, however...In all the years I never saw one. Have seen pictures, have seen them on TV, never up close and personal.
So...after I read about them I thought It might be best to get a professional to catch and release him/her. Further research stated that often times you will Indeed have more then one...they are not very easy to catch If using traps which Is how the professional wild life wranglers catch them. Having contacted a few local professionals, well just way to expensive. Of course If this continues....possibly to prevent further damage I will just have to hire someone...though not at all sure If that would work, add to the fact that there Is acres of woods behind my house I am sure the woods has a great supply of armadillos and more will find there way under the fencing....may just have to put a donate button here on the blog, call It the Catch and Release Program with a picture of the Armadillo ;-)

The hole found In the front of the house was filled In only, of course to once again be dug out. These are nocturnal critters....a few days later another hole/ burrow found next to the air conditioner foundation...major problem. The borrows which they dig are harmless, that Is If not near your home. They can cause major destruction to the foundation of your home. The holes In which they create In your grass and dirt can be pretty damaging as well....not too much of a concern, however I noticed the holes around the base of the trees. Hmmmmm, If they can cause the type of damage to your foundation, house I can only Imagine with trees such as pines. Lots of damage this critter Is causing.

My research suggested using moth balls....hmmmm did you all know just how very toxic mouth balls were. I did not either until a box was purchased...nope, not gonna do that. Pepper, and anything with a strong odor for they apparently have sensitive sense of smell. I again went hmmmmm....for It would seem to me this would cause them to move a few feet away...thus moving their burrow....I can only Imagine this would cause more damage....In more locations.
I also cannot figure out how many there are for one can dig numerous though to throw you off their track ;-)

After a few weeks I still had not caught sight of them....not for lack of trying.
Realizing my best strategy will be to spray my yard....sadly, I must be careful for I do not want my dogs getting Ill from all the toxic chemicals...then one thinks might as well just use the moth balls....there just has to be a better resolution. My yard does not have to be the prettiest and greenest, especially at my dogs and the environments expense. I am still researching for I have read about a few repellents.....just need to make sure that they will not harm the dogs. Meanwhile locals are telling me to kill them.....hmmmmm, maybe a big pot of armadillo stew, how about armadillo BBQ, dillo-dog (like corn-dog)... probably tastes like chicken.

It was not until a couple of weeks or so ago while brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed I noticed Rocky standing at the front door growling....I looked out and of course did not notice anything, however he was pretty convincing that I should Investigate.
I looked out my bathroom window which faces the front and low and behold....running here, there....digging...very fast diggers, on to the next spot....munching away...was my very first armadillo sighting.
Toothbrush goes flying....quick spit and rinse....reach for the camera and out I go....jammIes and all. I grabbed the camera realizing I would have to be pretty close due to the lens on the camera. As I approached he did not notice me until I was very close and It seemed he sensed, heard...smelled me first. I am guessing vision to not be the best. I followed him up to his borrow and watched how he retreated into his den.

After the first sighting for a couple of nights the dogs and I went out and did not realize he was In the yard, they chased him/her out...boy they are indeed fast when digging out of the fence.
'til finally late one evening I was turning over In bed when I noticed the back security light go ready with better lens I ran out back...leaving the dogs to watch out the door. I was being oh so quiet as I approached....until I bumped Into the dogs empty water bowl on the patio....too much noise and my presence now known. The armadillo did not retreat at first....frantically digging up here and following, him turning In my direction. I did manage a few shots, sadly like the armadillo my vision Is not great at night ;-)

Since I have been In the company of the armadillo a few times they are Indeed non aggressive critters. I have gotten up close and personal....harmless....that Is until I read that a small percent of the armadillo population carries leprosy. petting the armadillo!!!!

Having for a few nights followed him/her around I was thinking with a good cage close by... sporting a really good pair of thick long gloves, looking through my lens...up close and personal would seem to be so very easy to reach out, grab and trap....but then that would require me putting down my talisman....the camera.

Please know that no critters were harmed while photographing them...neither did any of my neighbors seem to be bothered by my roaming my property in my pj's, or the flash going off between the hours of 1 and 4am.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I remember...

Several weeks ago I ran across a wonderful site called the East NY Project.
As I went through the site I could not help but smile...being familiar with so many of the locations, neighborhoods and recognizing a few of the names found throughout the site. Thought I would look through my belongings and see if I could find a few images that I could contribute. Easier said then done for my pictures are here, there and every where. I am at the moment scattered between two states.

Looking at the two school pictures one cannot help but wonder what happened to all of those faces. I remember having a little crush on one of those little boys, I remember one glorious fall day Sally and I (she lived on the corner of Ridgewood and Linwood) making piles of the fallen leaves and jumping in them....I remember not liking one of the little boys....he was day his home went on fire...they lost everything....I remember bringing cloths and canned goods to school for his family...I remember so many children bringing toys, cloths, food... I do not remember him ever being mean again.

I remember sitting out on the stoop with the elderly family next door sipping lemonade and listening to all of the wonderful stories they would share with me....I remember hot summer days, Nick the ice cream man pulling up in the little ice cream van...I remember what fun it was to run through the open hydrants...the monkey bars and swings in HP. I remember having lunch in the large cemetery...peaceful, green open space...I remember leaving little stones on the head stones of grave sites that appeared unvisited... I remember climbing the mail box and sitting high....I remember stick ball, stoop ball, double dutch and hop scotch. I remember block parties, soda fountains, chocolate cream soda...I remember the best pizza...ever!

I remember a skinny, odd little girl that was terribly shy...always wore a silly grin on her face....loved to visit the library and read...I know what became of her ;-)
Hopefully others will run across the East NY Project site and share their stories and pictures!

The video below is just another day in the neighborhood...
The dogs doing what they do best ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dee's Fountain...

Ahhhhh...and the world is once again right!
I had gotten so very accustomed to the sound of the fountain that is in our little pond. Three weeks ago it just stopped working, I am told this is a pretty common problem with them. This afternoon while taking a break from grooming the puppies there was a man working on it. I did not at all envy his work...snakes, gators...bugs and of course four barking dogs at the fence.

The boys after their groom...not the best grooming but hey....I managed to get it done. Took forever, poor pups have been a bit neglected. As I type that I am smiling for they really were not that bad, considering. The hands held up...though very stiff at the moment. Progress...though very slow going!

The image below was taken while I was getting up...Bailey came over to Niki, stopped and they had a long moment...doggie stuff...licking each others faces. They are a nice little pack!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 Steps Forward...

Twenty steps back...just how it goes with RA and Lupus.

Almost a week and a half ago I went to see a hand surgeon....two injections, one in each wrist (OUCH). Indeed, both hands look better...and feel a little better, though still painful. At least I can wash my hair without experiencing excruciating jolts of pain radiating from my hands up my forearm....improvements made.
Typing for too long, well not a good idea. The dogs, they have looked better....though I am sure they do not at all mind the fact that their daily grooming sessions have been on hold. All four are in need of the next few days I will be doing my best to get to each dog.

I so look forward to when I can again hold my camera with minimal to no pain....not to mention taking the dogs for a walk and our favorite....beach runs.
Poor with distractions must this point it is a do over. Starting over with training...most will be a refresher course for him, that is without distractions. Just in time for the cooler weather....good for both of us!
We are keeping our fingers and paws crossed, hoping we are starting our 10 steps forward...again!

The above ingredients was for a meal I prepared Friday evening. My sister was coming for a visit and during previous visits I had promised this meal to only have something come up causing a change of plans last minute.

So, the menu....Chicken and Dumplings and a cheese cake for desert (made with mascarpone cheese and chocolate wafer crust.
Comfort foods....delicious.
My experiment with the pressure cooker and cheese cake did not go is a wonderful idea and I will continue experimenting with the time and temp til perfect!
It was not a big deal for I was prepared and had the oven on and ready just in case.

It cooked in the pressure cooker, then in a water bath in the oven for when it was removed from the pressure cooker it was very liquid still....then I removed it from the oven to cool and was going to place in the refrigerator over night. Well....I just was not paying attention and before placing in the frig I undid the spring pan....Never do that for it must chill in the pan!!!!

Still, I thought, ok, not a biggie I'll just pop it in the I turned, for whatever reason Niki came in the kitchen and was standing my attempt to avoid stepping on her, tripping over her....bad hands, cheese cake out of the spring pan....well half of it slid onto the dog, then floor. Though not as pretty as it should have been, only half a was very good ;-)
Oh....and Niki gave the cake two paws up, Donna gave it two thumbs ;-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Help find Pumpkin...

**** Pumpkin has been found...she is safe and will soon be returned to her favorite people.

Pumpkin is a lovely Golden pup that is missing. Last seen in her own yard wandering about in her safe, enclosed fence.
Please, share the above flier, pass it on to all that you may know. She is micro-chipped.

Pet safety...
mirco-chip your pets. Keep your furry friends safe....if not well trained keep them on leash if no fence. many neighborhoods across the US our children are not safe to play outside without supervision....neither are our pets.

I take my pack out several times a day....supervised outings only....yep....time consuming...if nice bring a book....get some fresh with your furry friend...keep them safe.

Good wishes, vibes, prayers going out that Pumpkin is returned to her loving and sound!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Dogs Day...

Oct. 2...a very special day for my little pack...Bailey's first Birthday.
A pups first year....everything is so new, wonderful.
Baileys first year has been so well documented and I have put together a little slide show. he has been a wonderful addition to our pack and special Thanks goes out to his breeder!

For those that find it strange that some of us celebrate our beloved furry friends birthdays...Think about this...
their life span is so very short....but yet they live each day to the fullest. Having shared my life over the years with several wonderful canine companions....those of which I had no idea how old they were...let alone their birth date...lived...loved, shared each day with me...they gave 110 % each day...then each....from illness or old age, passed away.

As I mature, yes indeed... each day is a celebration....but to actually know what date they were born....well yes. I will take the time to acknowledge, celebrate.

Of course a cake was made....very simple....flour, honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, carrots, egg (recipe can be found on my facebook page, to the right click on Become a Fan then go visit the page for the recipe). Topping...ours was whipped cream....however you can make it with cream cheese...oh, this can be eaten by all in the pack...canines and people.

We actually took Bailey outside alone to give him his cake....oh do not feel bad about the others....they were in their crates enjoying a nice slice...yummy.
Bailey is a funny dog when it comes to his food....not at all aggressive in any way...just slow, especially with something new.
So very different from Rocky, and the others Goldens who inhaled their food.

We have so enjoyed watching Bailey grow...we have enjoyed watching the relationships in the pack...especially that of Rocky and Baileys. They are a prefect fit and enjoy one another to the fullest!!!!

If you take the time to view the slide show below, make you turn off the volume to the the right, scroll down to Dee's Play list.

Happy Birthday sweet Bailey ;-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Wiliams Sonoma is one of my favorite stores. I love gadgets and those special use utensils. You know, the ones that you do not use on a daily basis...but you realllly must have it ;-)

I am proud to say, I have never purchased anything from TV, you know those commercials that make you feel as though you really should call for your life would be so much better if you did.
This may indeed disqualify my gadget-holic status.

The one gadget I did not have in my kitchen was a pressure cooker. To be honest....I was a tad bit fearful of them. I mean really... I am sure you heard the same horror stories.

I have been thinking about them as of late...they cook fast....keep all of the natural juices...pretty healthy...did I mention fast. So, fast and healthy and most of the foods I cook can be frozen for another day.

Went...looked and realized the ones sold through the local stores here in St. Augustine, well all are made in China and did not have a quality feel. Not sure about you....if something can explode....well I really want it well made and of course safety is a very important factor.

Found one I liked and ordered it online... this morning first thing the door bell rings...there at my front door a package....the pressure cooker.

My first attempt at using it I choose a very simple recipe "Italian Chicken".
green peppers, onions, garlic, red wine, tomatoes, cut up chicken (remove the skin).
I browned the seasoned (salt and pepper)chicken right in the pressure cooker, removed and softened the peppers, onions, garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper....then added the wine to deglaze the bottom on the pot. I added the chicken back into the pot....then the tomatoes. covered, locked into place. 10 minutes later it was removed from the heat. You cannot open the newer pressure cookers until the pressure is relieved.

I have an electric stove and there is a learning curve in using the pressure cooker. The directions called for high heat....nope. I had to continually remove the pot from the heat adjust the temp. so that the pressure would lessen. It would be so much easier on a gas stove...I'll get the hang of it.
The chicken was so juicy and tender....the sauce...wonderful, and a good bit so I can see a dish of pasta and beans during the week.

Since I was experimenting with the new pot, at the same time I decided to make a desert....Blueberry bread pudding. Simple and so very easy....oh, did I mention delicious.
The secret ingredient is grated lemon peel. If you have made this dish and not added that, give it a try.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Afternoon


I hold out my hands and wonder...

I hold out my hands and wonder...
am I the pain....
or am I in pain?
Day in, day out....
it is there, unrelenting...

Not to be dismissed, forgotten...
Present, angry, red, hot to the touch

I feel spastic, inapt as I fumble about....
with each passing day the simplest of chores
now such difficult tasks.

The feel of my camera,
always so comfortable.
now foreign, heavy, hurtful object in my hands.

The simple joy of tossing a ball...
giving ear scritches, belly and butt rubs
are less and less....
Easy are the dogs to please and so accepting...
kick ball is just as good as are hugs and kisses.

These days, easy to loose myself to the pain...
just let go....give in....give up....
Still, I hold out my hands and wonder...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumnal Equinox...

Yesterday was the first day of fall. I so love fall, the changing of the leaves, all of the wonderful colors and the best....wonderful brisk mornings. I will have to get accustomed to fall in FL. They too have a fall, though not what I am accustomed too.
In celebration of the Autumnal Equinox I made a pot of veggie soup. The temperature was in the 80's....still with the arrival of fall I so crave all those wonderful one pot meals.

Today I was so busy....pc work, running errands...I noticed the time and realized I had not yet had lunch....3:30 in the though 80 something degrees outside I warmed up some of that homemade soup....delicious.

It was then I looked over to the dogs....oh my, they play pitiful very well. Time to take the reminder of the day off and just hang out with the dogs...hey, they forced me to ;-)
Tomorrow is another day!

After a good romp all just found a place and rested in the shade...we watched as several birds wandered around the lake, a few hawks put on a show for did several butterflies pass by.

I sat for a while looking up at the sky...great time of day....sun peaking in between the branches of the trees...wonderful light. As I looked down, where each dog was resting I could not help but smile. Each had the look of being content, happiness.

If you have not sat outside looking up at the sky...remember when we were kids and we would see shapes in the clouds....some of the most amazing things are right there....if only we would take the time to look.

The image below is for Angie, Donna's friend.
A simple meal of NY strip steak, steamed broccoli and roasted fingerling potato's.
I love to have a good steak once in a while. The great thing about NY strip is it is usually too big for one sitting so you then have a salad to look forward to the following day.

When cooking your steak make sure it is room temputure, seasoned and a little olive oil drizzled and rubbed in. The grill must be hot....or if cooking on your stove as mine was, it must be hot. Depending on thickness determines if you must place in the oven for further cooking.

I'll post about the homemade soup on another day!!!


Gone but Never Forgotten

Gone but Never Forgotten
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