Category Archives: Family

Nature Friday ~ February 1, 2019

Nature Friday
Is anyone else having a hard time comprehending the fact it’s February already? Wow, where did January go? Today we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday Blog Hop. I also want to take a moment to wish my baby brother a very happy birthday. Hope your day is extra terrific, Bro.

So on this first Friday in February, since so much of the country is gripped in a Polar Vortex of epic proportions, I figured let’s go back to the beach!

I could walk up and down the beach in Mexico a million times and still be enchanted with the scenery. Just looking at the golden sand, blue sky and foamy surf warms me up. Sure beats shoveling snow filled sidewalks, doesn’t it?

There is some very entertaining about catching a glimpse of pelicans whenever I’m at a beach location. I love that they always seem to be flashing a smile at you, especially just before they swoop in and filch a part of your lunch. This guys trailed the boat in hopes of a tossed fish and was amply rewarded for his aeronautics.

And what beach is complete without a catamaran or parasail? The colors themselves are enough to warm a winter soul, don’t you think?

Finally, as this little sculpture with his colorful painted surface suggests, the beach is just plain fun. We stumbled across an art gallery in Old Town Puerto Vallarta curated by a fellow from Corsica. He had relocated to Mexico over 30 years ago and loved the spirit of his adopted country. He was showing several of these dog-themed sculptures that were so charming. Who would love stuffing one in their bag for the trip home?

Hopefully these images warmed you up a bit. To our friends caught in the jaws of bitter cold, we’re thinking of you and hope you stay warm and safe. May your weekend warm up enough where you can get out and enjoy some nature with all the brightness of a sunny day. For me, I think it’s time to anticipate a tasty birthday toast for my brother. Cheers!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings

After a way too short of a visit with my granddaughter who’s visiting from Hawaii, it’s back to business as usual. As Miss Hailey leaves for her return flight this morning, we will prepare to make preparations for Sam’s hospital visits beginning tomorrow and will fondly reflect back at these two inseparable girls. How was your weekend?

Live love, bark! 🐾

And now this…just for adults

Normally I share dog treat recipes with you but with Easter over the weekend, I thought I’d share one for the uprights. In my family we love holidays where we can come together to catch up and have fun, food and libations and this Easter was no ‘egg-ception.’ Most of our family’s little grandkids live out of town so most of the time we’re a group of young and older adults but ones who still love a good food fest. And while I wouldn’t classify our tribe as ‘foodies,’ we all love eating a good meal and holidays are a convenient excuse to fulfill that end and we’re luckily to have some incredible cooks in our clan.

Whenever we get together, we divvy up dishes among the women folk and rely on the Y chromosome portion of the family to furnish any beer/alcohol. Everyone contributes so this works out pretty well actually. And this past weekend was no exception.

Since 1900, April 1st has only fallen on Easter Sunday 4 times (1923, 1934, 1945 and 1956  when we welcomed my sweet baby sister back in 1956). And although she couldn’t be with us in person, we did FaceTime with her to wish her sing an out of tune version of happy birthday in addition to sharing our best family Easter greetings (Happy birthday again, li’l sis-hope it was grand!). This holiday was another great opportunity to celebrate and celebrate we did since April 1st falling on Easter Sunday won’t occur again until 2029. This was also the perfect opportunity to christen the completely gorgeous and totally renovated new kitchen at my brother’s house which is perfect for entertaining large groups (ours numbered 13 guests).

The meal consisted of the classic Easter ham, potato/veggie casserole, couple of different salads, deviled eggs, crackers, cheese, salmon hors d’oeuvres, mimosas. Never one to miss an opportunity for sweets, rounding out the menu were loads of jelly beans, sweet breads and a couple of Easter cakes, pies and bunny tails. For my part I brought Quiche, one for the ‘flesh’ eaters (aka meat eaters) and one vegetarian version. Quiche always works for brunch, travels well in the car and I had a new recipe to try out. And like most recipes, I decided to go off the reservation completely revamp it. Using ingredients I had on hand, I created this adaptation. Originally it was called Easy Puff Pastry Quiche recipe but I renamed it “Kitchen Sink” Quiche since it had loads of extras. And it was yummy g.o.o.d. My hat’s off to Ms. Fuentes. Here’s the basic recipe with my adaptation/changes in blue.

~ KITCHEN SINK QUICHE RECIPE ~

Photo/recipe courtesy of http://www.laurafuentes.com/easy-puff-pastry-quiche-recipe/ 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of one 17.3-ounce package), thawed [I used 2 sheets]
  • [Cubed bites of ham for the flesh eaters and vegetarian sausage for the vegetarians]
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese [I used a package of four-cheese blend with some grated Parmesan because, I mean, it’s Parm and who doesn’t love that?]
  • 1 small zucchini, shaved with vegetable peeler [I used red and green peppers instead and nearly added some mushrooms but realized more ingredients weren’t necessary since I used meat/pseudo meat and other veggies]
  • 2 large eggs [I stopped counting after 8-remember I was bringing enough for a B-I-G crowd]
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary [I have a rosemary plant on hand that I’m constantly snipping branches off and personally love adding rosemary in egg dishes]
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream [I used sour cream] 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Unfold pastry sheet on to a pie dish. Or you could lay it flat on a baking sheet and create a rectangular Quiche. [I used restaurant containers for the crowd. If you want it to have nice neat edges go for it, I’m more into a rustic finish].
  3. I added the meat and meat substitute first then topped with the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour egg, cheese and yogurt mixture over toppings, over puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown and toppings are set, about 18-22 minutes. [I baked mine for about 38  minutes or so since they were in large containers]

This recipe is super simple, quick and versatile. Swap or add ingredients…be creative. If the edges start to brown and your Quiche is still jiggly, cover the edges with foil until fully cooked and firm. No one likes jiggly-wiggly eggs.

Sadly I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo of the finished Quiche (these were just prior to adding the cheese/egg mixture but included a slice of the vegetarian one.

This is what you’ll get when you’re done. I can almost guarantee the empty dish will be the vegetarian version. Happens. every. time. [True confessions, there was a small narrow strip left over but far less than the ham version]

You think they liked it?

Hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday spent with friends and family, where the food was excellent, but the company was better. Got any stories to ‘dish’ about your Easter?

P.S. My brother and his wife have two wonderful Chessy Retrievers in residence, so I’ve had to do a ton of ‘splaining to Elsa who shunned me after she caught a whiff of “eu’d dog parfum” from petting Rudder and Axel. Luckily she and Sam both were easily ‘comforted’ by a fresh hoof so maybe I’ll get back in their good graces. Once they stop gnawing on them, that is.

Two hours later and they’re still gnawing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live, love, bark 🐾

Throwback Thursday~Yeah…we’ve been away a while

Hi-ya, ‘member us? It’s me, Sam. You know, Chief Knucklehead and Standard Poodle Extraordinaire from the Ranch. Lately it’s been a rough time here. We lost a couple of beloved pups in our extended family (R.I.P. Aria, aka Big Dawg and cutie pie Wriggly-we hope you’re running free and enjoying life at the Rainbow Bridge-we hope to have a better memorial post once we can locate a couple of photos) and Mom’s been out of town for too long handling a family emergency with her mom that we hope, (fingers crossed) has been resolved. Can I get a woof, woof?! Mom came back Tuesday evening and boy am I and my goofy Ninja sister thrilled. I haven’t stopped wagging my tail and won’t let her out of my sight for a second, which has made her trips to the water torture room kind of interesting. 

We hope to be back full-time blogging after mom decompresses catches her breath like we used to, so we hope you’ll be patient with all of us. And I know she is ever so grateful for those of you who have reached out and asked what’s up with us. We appreciate your kindness, concern and fur-iendship. In the meantime, look what I dug up out of the archive backyard. My predecessors, McKenzie, Eliot and Crosby. I know, I hear your ‘awww’s through the screen and admit they were pretty adorable. I think McKenzie looks like he could have been the Ninja’s older brother. Eliot always looked like a giant stuffed toy and Crosby was mom’s first dog when she moved to Denver who also had the dreaded Epi-Monster visit him way too many times. I think mom might have been able to treat his condition better now days than she did back in those olden days. She’s learned a lot with Elsa which seems to make a difference since the monster hasn’t visited her for a number of months. We hope you’re all doing well, staying warm, safe and cozy. So what have we miss?

L to R McKenzie, Eliot and Crosby (circa 1997)

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Wordy Wednesday

It’s December 20th and I’m just now starting to get into the ‘howliday’ spirit. Given last week’s unexpected and ongoing family emergency, I might be ready by December 30th. Then again, it might be January 30th. 😊 Are you ready for the jolly one? 

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the US and on this national ‘howliday,’ we ‘paws’ and give thanks to all our family and fur-iends. Wishing you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Just remember the operative word today. Woof!

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Family Ties

Family ties…but not the ones from that popular TV series, but instead real life family ties. The past 10 days have been filled with them. First my 21-year-old granddaughter and her boyfriend visited (yeah, I know, hard to believe I”m that old to have a 21-year-old granddaughter but I digress). I have a special bond with Hailey, having taken care of her when she was an infant every weekend for her first year. When I went to Hawaii last spring to celebrate her brother’s graduation, I was fortunate to meet her boyfriend, a quiet, adorably nice young man. Kyle is a local Hawaiian and as kind of a human as anyone could wish for their progeny to find. Polite, sincere with a beautiful and respectful life ethic, it was great for me to have them stay with me. Turns out after all they did while visiting her friends from high school, staying with me was a vacation they needed…i.e. rest. I think the go-go mentality of young road warriors had caught up with them after days of constantly being on the move visiting places and sharing the beauty of Hailey’s home state with her boyfriend who had never been to Colorado before. This thoughtful sweet girl took him to South Dakota to visit with her other grandmother for a few days as well. When I think of how this beautiful young woman has matured into a loving human, I am filled with joy and yes, a helluva lot of pride, too.

As Hailey and Kyle were preparing to return to their island paradise, Hailey’s dad arrived, their co-visits only overlapping by a day. Ostensibly to attend his 30th year high school reunion (I know, here’s that age thing again…WTH…how did that happen?), we managed to schedule some family time as well. For our family who relishes these get-togethers more than anything, it usually involves a fair amount of good food and some liquid refreshments. And this was no exception. Kevin’s best friend since junior high helps out his cousin’s craft brewery here in the metro area. The brewery, located in Del Norte, Colorado near where we lived more than 35 years ago, Three Barrel Brewery specializes in small batch “artisanal inspired brews produced from San Luis Valley grown, single origin malt, hops, Haefelis’s honey (from a local honey farm) and fresh mountain water.” Seth provided us with a healthy supply of some of their more popular brews which provided us the opportunity for some experimental suds quaffing. Had never tried ‘sour beers’ before and think the consensus amongst our collective palate is we’ll probably stick to slightly more conventional options. Perhaps I’m too old to be hip enough to enjoy the sour beers that the brewery is well-known for, but no worry on my part. Give me a robust IPA or ale and color me a happy gal. I’ve known Seth and his family for more than 30 years and he’s practically a family member. It’s always good seeing this man who now also has a family though substantially younger than my son’s. Seth is a generous, smart and funny guy, who is Hailey’s godfather so we go back a long way, in more than just time.

My brother Tim and his wife, Natalie, opened up their beautiful new home to the family clan multiple times. Natalie’s nieces were visiting while Hailey and Kyle were here; our two families sharing food, beer, and loads of laughter completely warmed my heart and soul. After our recent pet therapy visits getting together was definitely most welcome and the perfect Rx to soothe and comfort my spirit.

Having my son visit, even for a short time, meant the world to me. Not only did I get to have some much-needed time with my son  (a mother’s dream) but the quiet mornings over coffee and breakfast catching up on the details of his life, of how his new job was going and the final details on the remodeling of the ohana back in Kona allowed me to see exactly the kind of incredible role model and human he is, as a son, a father and a loving human with incredible talents Even just thinking about it, I can’t help but smile.

At first meeting, Elsa was slightly wary of the new people arriving but quickly warmed up to Kevin, Hailey and Kyle. Sam became particularly attached to Kevin’s hip, following him around the house. And though both dogs waited outside guest bed rooms sniffing at the crack each morning waiting for their new BFF’s to rise, Sam in particular reconnected with his old friend from when he stayed with us for an extended time before moving to Hawaii in order to wait out the quarantine period with his own dogs.

Now that everyone has left, Sam wanders around looking for Kevin in particular, hoping he is still here. And much like me, he’s missing this wonderful man who provided such joy while he was here. It’s a lot quieter around the Ranch today and as we adjust back to the old ‘normal,’ I smile thinking of this wonderfully loving family, the cherished visits with everyone shared over lively conversations, tasty meals and libations. This is what I’m talking about…these kinds of family ties and as I look forward to the next one, be it here at the “Ranch” or on an island paradise, my heart is filled with love allowing me to face the dragons of this crazy world anew. It’s good to be fully stocked again by the best fuel around-my family.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Feliz Navidog

From all of us…to all of you. May your ‘howlidays’ be furry and bright!

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Live, love, bark! <3

Monday Moanings

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Morning, sports fans. Hope you had a great autumn weekend. Did your football team do well over the weekend?

Seems I have this little black cloud foreign exchange student following me around these days. Seems like I can never turn around without a certain raven haired beauty shadowing me. I’ve never been a big brother before so this is all new territory for me. Mostly I’ve been pretty good, but sometimes, she just gets too close and doesn’t let me monopolize and guard see my mom. Are all foreign exchange students like that, or just sisters? Remind me again when the semester ends?

Live, love, bark! <3

A funny thing happened last Friday…

Those of you who follow us on Facebook know what I mean when I say “a funny thing happened on Friday” but let me set the stage for the rest of you. So…have you ever considered sponsoring a dark-complexioned foreign exchange student (from the foreign shores of Greeley, Colorado-trust me, that town’s a world away even though it’s a mere 49 miles northeast of Denver)? Me neither but our world was about to change.

For many months, I’ve been contemplating the addition of a baby brother or sister for Sam. I’ve  looked at a number of dogs that might be suitable for us with no luck. For one reason or another, none of those other pups seemed to fit. But that didn’t stop me from still trying to find a sibling for the doofus. I knew I didn’t want a new puppy so limited the search to Standard Poodle rescue groups across the country, looking at hundred’s of dogs.

I had a small connection with the lady who runs the Poodle Rescue of the Rockies who happens to also be a breeder, shows them and is a big lover of standard poodles. She was friends with the former CFO at work whose wife bred show quality champion Standards. And it was quite by happenstance that I actually met Jeanne at a local dog show a few years ago and have stayed in touch with her over the years. Purebred Standards aren’t exactly plentiful in the rescue area-there are far more hybrid dogs. Jeanne might get a few in a year but every time I contacted her, the answer was still the same, “Nope, nothing right now, but I’ll keep you in mind if something comes up.” Then over a month ago, I called and heard this, “We’re getting in 6 standards from a puppy mill from up north but it’ll be a while before they’re ready. Keep in touch and we’ll see what we can do.” So I kept in touch. In fact, I called every week, “Are they ready now?” was my new mantra. Finally the week came where I could meet two females from the group. Color me overjoyed.

When the dogs came in, Jeanne named the females Hope, Faith, Charity, and Love. We came to the conclusion a female would be a better choice with Sam so we proceeded on that basis. I met Love who everyone called Lovey first. She was a gorgeous girl, as tall as Sam though very skinny with a regal face and half tail. Faith was a bit smaller and all of the dogs came from the same breeding hell-hole (aka puppy mill farm in Greeley) where the 92-year-old owner passed away. The dogs were filthy, matted, and completely unsocialized. Picture the worse, times two. Faith was more aloof but making progress much in the same way as Lovey. I felt Lovey would be a better companion with Sam and the two met. After the initial “sniff, sniff…yup…it’s a dog” reaction, I watched this girl to see if she and I would connect. Something inside me said…”this is the one.” Every few days, I reached out to Jeanne to express my continued interest and see where they were in the process of rehoming. A couple of people had contacted her before me and I was afraid I might end up being a bridesmaid yet again.

Lovey was temporarily placed with a foster while Faith stayed with Jeanne. After a freak accident involving electrical arching from a transformer at the foster’s home, Jeanne took Lovey back so as to minimize the stress. However the 19 (yes, count ’em) 19 firefighters and all the activity associated with determining the house was safe to inhabit, overwhelmed poor Lovey causing her to stress out to the point that she needed to be hospitalized and given medication to stop the dehydrating diarrhea. Then the medication caused her to suffer a reaction and resulted in an evening of seizures. Once the vet diagnosed it was a reaction and not some other medical issue (i.e. epilepsy, etc.), the meds were stopped and the seizures disappeared as quickly as they began. Poor Lovey though lost a bit of weight and needed to be nursed back to health. Last week Jeanne called and said she’d like to see how Sam and Lovey interact together since she thought a ‘big brother’ would be critical to her socialization. The impression I was left with was this was strictly a meet and greet session. We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by a number of standard poodles (Jeanne had 6 she was either placing, boarding or part of her own pack). It was doggie Disneyland and Sam was overjoyed at the prospects of ‘playtime with poodles.’ Lovey was used to that commotion and romped with all the big dogs. In true Sam fashion, he was just keen at the chase part.

The meeting went great, and while the dogs interacted, we talked about Lovey’s past and future. After a couple of hours, Jeanne asked, “well, are you ready to take her home tonight?” Wait…what? I thought this was just a meet and greet?! Long story short, we filled out the paperwork, gathered up her pup paraphernalia and loaded up the car.

She was a great traveler (unlike a certain Standard who loves the idea of riding in the car, but just can’t stand the actual moving part. She sat in the back seat checking out EVERYTHING. Nothing seems to escape this girl, she’s curious and needs to check out whatever is in her view. She’s quiet and remarkably calm. My hat’s off to the foster mom and her son for working with her. We had a couple of conversations about her progress and I continue to be awed at what a great job they did while she stayed with them.

going-homeApart from trying to figure out how to accommodate this newbie who was thought to be about 4 years old, we needed to figure out an appropriate name. Lovely wasn’t gonna cut it. With her regal stature, I felt like she needed something noble. Girl names seem to be in short supply from what I could determine to fit the bill. Sure there are 87 million cool boy names, but girl names…that was another story. I knew it couldn’t be some fluff name but what? Finally I landed on “Elsa von Furstenberg,” Elsa for short. Hey, don’t laugh…poodles originated in Germany so I figured, a German name would be just the ticket. I nixed Brunhilda though right off the bat. So apparently…it seems there was a “little” Disney movie where the heroine was named Elsa recently (had I known, I might have gone deeper on the list-yeah there are actual lists of German names for dogs (and cats, too). Think the top 100 baby names. Oy. Anyway, I came up with a regal name (which means noble and it describes this girl to a tee) from the top third of the list after we couldn’t seem to agree on anything (one name was “Misha” to which I said…blech).

elsaThese past few days have been a whirlwind for Sam and I. We’re trying to figure out what makes this girl tick. Is she housebroken or not (we’re still asking that question and hoping for a positive answer soon)? Trying to access the personality of a puppy mill dog isn’t easy and you must have the patience of Job. They are easily spooked, have no experience with everyday stuff that seems obvious and yet they are somewhat of a blank slate for the future given the right training. One thing that was a lovely discovery is she walks well on leash, though she continues to not realize ‘you can’t ever cross the streams” (as in cross the leashes with Sam and behind mom’s back) but we’re working on it. I took her and Sam through our neighborhood Farmer’s Market on Sunday and she was a rock star. Elsa is very bright and has a high desire to please (unlike a certain furry brother). She’s figured out that she rather enjoys all the attention she’s garnering through her good looks and was curious and patient while people fawned all over her. I was blown away. I don’t even like that much going on and she was showing me the ropes!

So bottom line last Friday, I rescued a ‘little girl foreign exchange student’ who I will make sure is fully legal and hope you’ll enjoy hearing stories about her and who knows, maybe if she shows some aptitude, I’ll turn the laptop over to her for her perspective. Right now, Sam is thinking, “gee, everything was great at Doggie Disneyland, but did we have to bring her home?” That and “so how long is this semester and when does she go back to that foreign land?”

When you see pics like this, you know everything’s gonna be all good.

bookendsAnyone know the procedure for procuring a H-1B Visa? Got any tips to share?

Live, love, bark! <3