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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!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dinner for one...

Today I spent a good amount of time making several changes to the blog...just little changes, nothing major. I call it housekeeping, getting rid of some of the extras on the sidebar. Mostly just moving things around....the big change is the painting in the heading. No worries, the Golden's are safe and I promise they will be back. It is just nice to change things around once in a while. Of course there were many play breaks throughout for the dogs as well.

I was supposed to go grocery shopping today...well I should have done that on Wed. Not one of my favorite things to do....of course if something for the dogs I manage to get there, for me....well I tend to procrastinate. I find it very challenging when there is barely anything in the house, just coming up with whatever is left.

As I was making my list I was rummaging through the pantry checking to see what I was low on....I ran across a very large, course pink salt. I chuckled and put my list to the side. I had thought I was out of salt....out came the food processor, in went the salt.
I checked one more time...yep, four eggs, two peppers, an onion, still have a few the freezer and yep....some bread. Well, tomorrow is indeed another day....will run to the store then.

As I was busy slicing and dicing the peppers, onion and eyes wandered over to a bottle of wine I received from a dear friend for my 50th birthday...with instructions to save it for a special occasion....hmmmmmm, I wondered would dinner for one be considered a special occasion. Yep!
Rummaged through the draw for the corkscrew and opened the bottle to let it breath.

Placed my bread on top of the oven to defrost, placed the oven on 350. Sauteed my peppers and onions, added some salt, crushed red pepper (I like my peppers and eggs with a little kick)...once the peppers where soft I added the garlic. Cracked open the last four eggs, added a little water...beat and in the pan....bread, sliced open and placed in the poured into my glass.
Dinner for one served, eaten....delicious! As for the wine....smooth and wonderful...I am one happy girl! A huge Thank You to my dear friend Helene!

As for the dogs, there Saturday night usual....kibble with some yogurt....their happy pups!

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's not easy being green...

Sunny day here in FL and as I sat outside watching the dogs roll in the grass my mind wandered...
While I am easily inspired by all things that surround me in my little world I must at times go out and wander about taking in others drawings, paintings, reading a good book, well written blog, watching a well made movie and of course eating a delicious meal. I know that many just do not view food, cooking the same is both a science and an art.

Inspiration is indeed all around us....but sometimes it does seem unattainable....there, floating right in front of you but for some reason you just cannot grab hold...many of us have the ability to chase it down...still, there are those times it manages to elude you. You know your in trouble when you look around and nothing seems to inspire happens to many at some point.

What some call "goofing" off, I call sparking my creativity. To take in a painting that is vibrant, colorful...that speaks to me... actually rejuvenates me from excites me...drives me to get into my studio.
Nature does play a huge role for one just has to look out their window to see the ever changing light....the light can change the look, appearance, texture of everything.

Living the life of an artist can be difficult, especially if one is having to earn a living at it.
Something the majority of artists aspire to. You must be a brave soul to wander into those turbulent waters.
The marketing end of it can literally deplete one's creativity. So many articles, books written on how to succeed at being an artist.
The simple fact of the matter...many of the best artists are not well known...have never had their work hung in a gallery,'sang on Broadway etc. It is blamed on the fact that they are not driven enough....not skilled enough in marketing...when sometimes it is as simple as having been in the right place at the right time.

I have been told I have an artists temperament...
While I "force"...train myself to work at my creativity on a daily basis to earn my living on doing the same thing day in and day out, well I burn out pretty quickly. I just cannot create commissioned portraits, be a photographer....that is why so many artists are always experimenting with a new medium, new needs to keep the fuel burning.

Kermit the frog had it's not easy being green. For the artist, well we are "differant" for we must see what others do not...we must hone our craft on a daily basis....we must stop and "smell the flowers"...something I recommend to all.

I happen to be a tiny fish in a huge pond....lucky enough to have not gotten eaten up ;-) I sell some work, a few commissions. Every artist wonders if they are good enough...always striving to be better...
Always following the light that is ever changing!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Spider...

Not really itsy bitsy...and I am sure not the spider that the children s little song is about.

Having been raised as a city girl my knowledge on all things found outside, well lets just say I am not into bugs. Years ago I would have marched myself inside and gotten a can of raid and...well you know.

These days I much prefer to photograph...from a distance that is, any bug that comes my way. This spider happens to be a banana spider, yes....they can bite if you bother them. While I have been told that they are poisonous....nothing serious...still, I will keep my distance.

My camera allows me the opportunity to learn about such creatures that are living in my yard. We had them in Atlanta as well and if attached to a tree or bush you can capture the web for it is truly amazing.

No bugs were harmed or killed before, during or after photographing. These days I happily share my space...though best if they stay outside of the house!

Once I spied this beauty I managed to get the dogs inside without them noticing her (pretty large so I guessing she is a female). Grabbed my camera, attached the long lens (yep, I am a weeny) and back out I went. It was between the bush and fence....very close to the fencing so I did the best I could to get a couple of shots....remember I am a weeny and I was not going to go into the bushes for no doubt there are so many creatures I cannot see.

I took my time and watched her a bit, at first she was not happy with my presence but soon just ignored me. While I was using the long lens I did move in closer to admire her work....the webbing was not that large of an area....I'll check in the morning to see if still there.

Upon my walk back to the house I had a funny feeling someone was watching me...looked around and yes, there was Bailey watching from the window and yes, though he could see me from the window I was greeted as though I was
gone forever ;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The View...

The above image is a glass of wine... just waiting for me to sit in the chair...quiet, peaceful moment while the dogs are inside eating. A sip of wine while I take in the view from my patio...the sound of the fountain in the middle of the lake (pond)....lovely!

Every evening at 5:15/ 5:30 the pack starts requesting they be fed. Bailey is the I happened to be sitting at the computer when he entered my studio...intently staring at me, moving closer, panting very Loud. I checked the time and yes indeed...5:22. I turn my chair a little and ignore him, not once making eye contact. He really did his best to get me to notice him, but nope, I continued with my work. He eventually gets bored and goes in the hallway and proceeds to nap...Rocky then enters and paces back and forth. Again, I just continue working at the mac...he leaves and then Niki comes in....she is a tad more persistent and can be extremely convincing that she is indeed starving to death. Still, I ignore and soon she just plops down with a very loud sigh. Interestingly enough, since I have carpet she is not allowed in the studio....I know, I am mean. She cannot help it, due to the fact she is partially paralyzed she at times has accidents...I turn to her and point and say she should leave....she is a very well behaved pup and does take instructions well....she leaves. I of course feel so bad every time I have to do Atlanta she has a lovely, comfy bed in my studio...tile flooring that was so much easier to clean the the carpet.

All the while Gemma is under my desk...taking it all in...with each dog that had come in to pester me, when they left we would look at each other and she would slowly wag her tail and I would be smiling. She does not took a very long time for her to ask for any type of attention. Now, she just prefers to rest under my desk... content to just be. I have the feeling she knows when she will be fed and does not worry about such things.

Yes, I did eventually feed the dogs...6:30/ 7:00 is their feeding time, the same just about each and every evening. Oh...and for those feeling so bad for my poor starving, oh so hungry dogs....early on I too thought..."My Goodness...they are so hungry" and did feed them earlier, their pestering ritual
then started at 4:30 ;-)

**A big Thank You to Chris. I am not at all accustomed to people doing something a little extra special for me, I am usually the one doing for others...Please know the updates was very much appreciated!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What"s for lunch??

I remember when I was a young girl in school, I brought my own lunch to school most of the time. The beginning of each week I would check the lunch ca lander and on those days that sloppy joes were being served...I brought lunch money. I LOVED sloppy least once monthly they were on the menu twice in a week...yep, good eats!!!

I am not a big beef eater, however I do enjoy an occasional steak (fillet Mignon) and of course a sloppy joe. Today I was so craving one, I had purchased a kaiser roll over the weekend and placed in the that out this morning to defrost, then warmed the oven and toasted just before the sloppy joe mixture was down to the business of cutting up onion, peppers and garlic (three). Saute in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil...adding the garlic when peppers and onions are soft.
I use whole tomatoes, you can use a blender....or do as I in a bowl and with clean hands squish. I use about a cup....I also add a little brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and one chipotle pepper (in adobe sauce)....I add one tbl of the adobe sauce. In another pan I brown lean ground round, then with a slotted spoon add to the sauce, peppers and onions....simmer. Good stuff ;-)

The dogs are not far from me when I am in the kitchen cooking...they find the best location with a good eye view, one never knows when the chef will drop some tasty morsel.
As I was finishing up preparing my lunch...I needed a few ice cubes for my drink. All of the Goldens I have ever had have so loved ice cubes....Rocky and Bailey are no different. Niki enjoys to lick a cube and will wait patiently in her crate for you to give her one. Please know that I am not at all recommending you give your dogs ice cubes...please be aware that they can cause damage to your dogs teeth so please be mindful.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A clean house and dogs....

After a long day...I am sitting and sipping a lovely glass of white wine, feet up...looking around at my clean house.

I only had a few things on my to do list...groom the dogs...only four in the pack, thought I could manage, however my my hands just could not hang onto the brush. The dogs soooo need their nails done, sadly this will have to wait for another day when my hands are not as sore.

I looked around the house and just moved on to things that I would have the ability to accomplish.When you share your heart and home with a pack of dogs....well there is always something to clean....there are always fur balls "billowing" about. The ceiling fans must be cleaned often and of course the floors must also be cleaned must not forget the doggie artwork found on sliding glass my house the front door has a panel of windows on each side....always dog art there. Doggie art work can also be found in the dining room and living room....for the wood flooring shows off the drool marks. Having them around indeed always gives me something to do.

I am not a big fan of commercial cleaners and chemicals. They cause me to have breathing difficulties....since they effect me that way I am always concerned about the dogs for they so breath in everything and their senses are so much more sensitive then mine.
So, I started making up fresh batches of toilet bowl cleaner (borax, vinegar, dish soap, a few drops of each, sweet orange and lavender essential oils). I mix it in a measuring cup....then pour in the bowls and let it sit for a few hours....the smell is wonderful (lid closed). I then mixed up some floor cleaner....borax, vinegar the same essential oils. After vacuuming the floor were wiped down. I also mixed up a fresh batch of carpet powder. I only use this once in a while...and very sparingly....baking soda....a few drops of sweet orange and lavender....must be kept in a cool dark place for a few days before using.

These days it takes me longer to do things due to my I worked and cleaned up after the dogs, all dog beds in the wash....crates wiped down....whew they really do make me work soooo hard. While we had several outings and a few plays it was not until about 4:30 I decided to take a nice long break. As we head outside I grab the camera....I sit in the Adirondack chair and just relax.

I closed my eyes for a few minutes....listened to the birds, heard the water fountain. After a while I open my eyes to three of the dogs just watching a down all three in a row.
Ok, so I am easy for they made me smile and chuckle. As soon as they saw I was paying attention it was time to run, romp with each taking turns to come to me for a pet and or hug (yep...just a little spoiled).

Yes, they indeed are the cause of lots of extra work...but really, they are so worth it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sights...Sounds on a Saturday Morning

On a lazy Saturday morning when you're lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come.
Thursday, September 10, 2009


I stare in total disbelief,
heart torn with instant grief.
Plumes of black smoke fill the air,
marking a building no longer there.
I close my eyes, I want to pray,
but my mind doesn't know what to say.
Much like Pearl harbor, so many years ago,
so many gone with one fatal blow.
There are no words to explain,
there are no words to ease the pain.
To those who gave their lives,
Mothers, Fathers, Husbands and Wives,
to all who's lives today did cease,
may your soul find instant peace.
We will honor you and the life you gave,
as a Patriot of "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave."
Unknown Author

I awoke to the sounds of the TV that was left on all night....
light streaming through the looked to be a lovely, sunny
Sept. day. As I stretched I started the morning rituals of greeting the dogs that were near and those lazily watching me to see If we would be getting up...finally. Once again I glanced towards the light streaming through the window...guessed It to be around eight...I overslept.
I smiled at the thought of it being a wonderful day...

One of the morning shows was on...I reached for the remote to check the time...It was later then I thought, about 8:35. All the dogs now on or surrounding the bed, Good Mornings are Indeed a happy occasion...I climbed out of bed and shuffled Into the bathroom several of the dogs accompanying me. It was then I realized the sound to the TV...I thought I was misunderstanding until I made It back to the bedroom and watched...In horror.

There on the TV screen one of the Twin Towers burning....was It a bomb,
helicopter, plane...
As I watched...a little after nine another plane hit the other tower. I watched In horror as the realization that these were no accidents, but rather terrorist attacks. Most Americans did not need to be told, we even knew who....idiots who hide behind religion...who believe in hatred, hide in caves have power, control terrorize anyone who believes or lives differently then they.

I realized I was sitting, back in my bed, covered up with my bed sheet, eyes peeking out watching, feelings of fear, helplessness, loss...sympathy...
Having grew up in NY...well, I no doubt most people that lived in NY knew someone that worked in those buildings, or on the police force, fireman...I was no different.

I shut the TV off and headed towards the kitchen as I passed the living room I paused to turn the news on, made some tea.Talks of missing planes, ceasing flights nation wide...third plane crashes in the pentagon....Whitehouse was evacuated. Now, at 10:05 I watch as the south tower collapses...I cry...

The sights of people jumping out broken windows....falling to their death...the huge plumes of smoke, the dust, soot, smoke enveloping the city streets, people
running...running away from the trucks....sirens, firemen, police men going entering those buildings...
things I remember of that day.

10:28...north tower collapses...before that the Pentagon collapsed, a hi jacked plane, Flight 93 crashes into field in Pennsylvania...
the intent was not to crash into
that field...the passengers did their best to either save their own lives or just not allow it to hit another targeted building.

On this day Sept. 11, 2009 I will be stopping lighting a few candles and remembering....remembering all of the Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers... Sons, Daughters...Husband, Wives, Boyfriends, Girlfriends and Friends that woke to a
lovely...sunny Sept. 11th day back in 2001...
A day that started like so many...but ended with so many not coming home...My thoughts and prayers are with all those lost...and their families, to those that were injured......and to those that searched through the wanting to find someone alive, then to just find remains to help identify those lost that day!
I have lit my candles, I am remembering!


"I Love My Dog " Paint Your Pet Contest...

This is for those that are fans of Paw Prints Studio...
We need a new profile image for Dee Gordon's (yep...starting over due to my move) page...and it could be a lovely painting of your beloved furry, dog, bird, horse, etc.

All you have to do is become a fan then upload a picture of your beloved furry friend onto the Facebook page (please, just one image per pet), then post a little comment about your furry friend, name, age and something fun about them.
Not a fan of Dee Gordon easy to become one, just click on the link....or scroll down, to the right is the Facebook become a fan . You must of course be a Facebook member.
Make sure you share this with all your friends that have a beloved furry Friend....the contest runs until Oct. 15th. For those wondering what's in it for me....yes indeed there is a prize ;-) Visit Dee's Facebook page for more details.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Standing Tall...

Earlier today found me outside sitting watching the dogs interact and play together. Rocky and Baileys most fav game is of course wrestling. One moment Bailey has the upper hand, the next Rocky. For the most part they play without me having to get involved, once in a while though I have to remind them to not play so rough.

Just watching their body language towards one another tells the viewer exactly what is going on. Rocky who has sore joints will romp and run so much and then he will lay down for a good wrestling match...Bailey, well a young pup with energy/ stamina he must romp, run, jump and no particular order.
No wonder I am exhaugsted, hard work watching them ;-)

Visit our Zazzle Store to purchase our "Dogs are miracles with paws !" coffee mug.

How to Make Frozen Hot Chocolate: 5 steps (with video) - wikiHow

For my sister who drooled when seeing this on TV, no need to travel to Serendipity....enjoy ;-)


6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 teaspoons storebought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings
print a shopping list for this recipe


Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy with a spoon or a straw. . . .or both!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dog Day afternoon...


Hidden treasures...

Living with Lupus often at times is very number one complaint is that it is just so very difficult to make plans. Then of course there is the pain and discomfort thing...nope, not at all fun.

As with most things in life I have found there is a balance to on a day where no plans were made, hands very sore...I took some anti- inflammatory, picked up my camera, put a few treats in my pocket and headed out side with the puppies.

One of the very first things I ran across was the above Hidden Treasure...I swear he actually posed for me.

My furry pack have learned to sense when things are a bit off with me....they usually give me a bit of time to work  through....find my balance if you will...find something that is a bit awe inspiring and so was a tiny little lizard that, rather then run as they usually do...stuck around and allowed me to be in his space long to capture a lizard doing what lizards do when no one is around.

Then as I turned, there were my pups, rather then trying to get me to throw a ball or Frisbee, they went off on their own...the two females enjoying a moment in the sun....the Goldens a good roll and romp...doing what dogs do.

Hidden treasures are all around need not go far from where you are to find them...just need to take a little time and actually look for them!

Friday, September 4, 2009


It is more Birthday cake marks the end of the Birthday week.
50 was indeed a great BD. I soooo love presents and I must admit my friends and family did keep me in presents, each one arrived a different day.
I will indeed have to do this one again next year ;-)

Aging is not at all an issue for me. I stopped coloring my hair years ago...and very comfortable with it. I so hated having to go get it colored, so much time wasted sitting there. I mean really...the pups love me no matter what ;-)

The above images were taken hand are still bothering me and holding the camera is not at all comfortable and actually causes a bit of just a few of the pups...and a couple of things found in the yard!!!

Gone but Never Forgotten

Gone but Never Forgotten
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