Monthly Archives: January 2011

Bucketful of Stupid

“Ah, well, people can be stupid abou’ their pets,” said Hagrid wisely.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I’m stupid about my pets. I own it. And I won’t let anyone make me feel bad about it.

Perdita has been, as of late, chewing her tail. Chewing is actually a very kind way of putting it–she has gnawed it to the bone. We have been through two Cones of Shame, half a bottle of Bitter Apple, and three vet administered bandages (not counting the ones I did at home) trying to get her to stop. She is now sporting a green 5-gallon pickle bucket and a bandaging system normally used for horses.

On our last trip to the vet, we were told that this was the last attempt that could be made to save her tail. The next step is docking. Apparently it is pretty common, but I can’t help but feel sick when I think about it. Luckily, I am married to a wonderful man who doesn’t roll his eyes or even lecture me that we have spent over $200 trying to stop the dog from performing self-amputation.

I recently finished reading Oogy by Larry Levin. A lawyer by trade, Levin is not perhaps the most stunning wordsmith of our time, but it doesn’t really matter because his story is what is so compelling. Oogy was a bait dog left for dead when he was just a puppy. A series of amazing vets worked to save him, even though he was missing half of his face and an entire ear. What is beautiful about the story is that it demonstrates the kindness of human spirit and the willingness to recognize beauty in unlikely places.

Perdi’s issues are by no means as dramatic as Oogy’s, but it seems that we are constantly dealt new challenges for her: the deafness, the seizures, her precarious weight (she loses weight too quickly), and now this tail issue. On our last visit the vet made a point of saying that we have done more for her than most people would have. It makes me proud of our family and sad for how easily people give up.

Perdita literally found us. My grandfather was going to the bathroom one afternoon when she burst in out of nowhere. His eyesight was failing and so he at first thought she was his dog, Mia (which is funny when you consider that Mia is an Eskimo and Perdi is Pit Bull-Dalmatian). We didn’t know where she came from and no one claimed her. Still a puppy, we were unsure of large she would grow, but we did recognize that she was too much for my then 89 year-old grandfather. My husband and I had lost our Pit Bull the previous year and although we had another puppy, we had a soft spot for Pits and decided to take Perdita.

We later found out that my grandfather’s neighbor had abandoned her in his yard. He pretended she wasn’t his dog so he wouldn’t have to take her back. She managed to dig her way under the fence and go through my grandfather’s doggie door. Had she dug the other way, she would have run right into a busy intersection (and given that she is deaf, I don’t know how long she would have survived). Had she picked another family, she might have just been taken to the pound, where she would have been put down because she is clearly Pit Bull. Had my grandfather not been home, she might have kept going or found her way back into the yard.

But she didn’t. She found us.

Perdita is by no means an easy dog, but I believe she found us for a reason. And even though I get annoyed these days that she currently bashes me in the back of the legs with her bucket every time I stop walking (how do you explain tailgating to a Pit Bull?), I hope that I am a good Mommy to her.

People sometimes look at me with disapproval when I mention that we have a Pit. Those people can suck it. Any dog can be mean, but most of the time, that meanness comes from people, not the dog itself. I was miffed with President Obama for praising the second chance Michael Vick got following his dog fighting conviction. What about all those Pit Bulls? Where is the praise for all the amazing people who wanted to show them that people are not all cruel and that life does not have to be filled with pain?

So here’s to my Perdita and Oogy and the Vicktory dogs. Cruelty maybe the norm in our society, but that doesn’t make it right.

XO

A

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense, The Little People and Furry Friends | Tags: | 1 Comment

Night of the Gingerbread Man

This marks my first year as a preschool mom and the pressure may just be too much. Whaaa??? You may scoff. Well, scoff away, but you have no idea until you enter this world what it means to be a mom these days.

First of all, there is the actual admissions process. Thankfully we live in Ground Nowhere, so it was merely a case of getting in our application in a timely manner. However, there are other parts of the country where the application and interview process are more intense than college. I’m not really exaggerating. Parents writing essays, making crazy donations, beefing up their child’s resume—it is nutty. It takes the whole “my child is better than yours” game to a scary new level. My general thoughts on the matter are that these kids are three; you may think Jezemaine is brilliant and can already speak three languages, but she’s still eating boogers.

Thankfully we avoided most of that bag of fun. Where the pressure is getting to me is the Good Mommy Club. I think it started when I was interviewing nannies for my son. During an interview at Starbucks, it came up that I was planning to try cloth diapering with my son when he got a bit older (at the time his cute little bootie was still too small for most brands). The potential candidate, who I shall call Nanny in a McLaughlin-Kraus shout out, mentioned that she too used cloth diapers on her nine month old. Great, I thought. We’re on the same page. A week later my family and I were invited to brunch with Nanny and her family. I was nervous because my daughter, while adorable, intelligent, and fearless, can also be the spawn of Lucifer (which she was a bit on that day, but since no punches were thrown, I still consider it a success). Thankfully Nanny was only going to be watching my son, who is much more chill than his sister ever dreamed of being.

The brunch went well, but over our chicken wraps, I began to feel that nagging sense of guilt and failure that often haunts me. Nanny doesn’t let her kids have anything but water. (Lili has been known to throw back one of my Diet Cokes like she’s in Cancun and it’s tequila.) Nanny feeds her baby organic baby food or makes her own. (Lili and I had Fiber One Mini Wheats for dinner last night . . . out of the box.) Nanny has a clean, pet free home. (I got dressed out of the dryer this morning while my pit bull looked on wearing the cone of shame.) Nanny does developmentally appropriate games and songs with her baby. (Lili knows all the words to “Proud Mary,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” and the Family Guy theme song. She’s learning “Burning Down the House.”)

I left brunch that day determined to be a better parent with my son (Lili, too, if I haven’t screwed her up too much already). Thus, I began seeing tests of my parenting mettle lurking in every supply list and teacher letter. The preschool newsletter said to send healthy lunch choices. Healthy? How healthy is healthy through the eyes of my daughter’s teachers? Should I be making my own bread out of organic grains bought at the farmer’s market and adding vegan zucchini jam, or does the fact that I buy the whole wheat Uncrustable frozen sandwiches suffice? Packing Lili’s lunch causes me daily turmoil.

The Pre-School Christmas party brought on an entirely new level of stress. I had managed to dodge the Mommy judgment bullet by signing up for plates and cups for her first two class parties. That was easy. But for Christmas, I got stuck with “Festive, Healthy Snack.” Crap.

I googled, paged through cook books, consulted websites—all in the pursuit of the perfect “Festive Healthy Snack.” Finally, I ended up making organic whole wheat gingerbread men. They actually tasted pretty good and Lili liked them, so I figured I was in the clear. I arrived to deliver my tray of goodies (in a recyclable container) to see I had been out maneuvered. One of the other moms had a tray of fresh veggies cut into holiday shapes with some sort of non-dairy dip. I saw her look at my tray of carbs with a slight smirk, as if her cauliflower snowmen had just kicked every one of my gingerbread men in the grapes.

FAIL! I looked at my little hippie gingerbread men sadly, wishing they could transform into some sort of brilliant superfood in the shape of animals. They didn’t.

But then I saw another mom rushing in, carrying a tray of store bought, brightly iced cupcakes. They still had the price tag on them. And I felt the smirk begin on my own face. Store bought! Refined sugar! Price tag!

Suddenly I was Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom; next thing I’d be crank calling people to whisper “Pussywillow.”

So I shoved the smirk in my back pocket and reminded myself that as moms, we are all in this together. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. (And I was only a little smug when I picked Lili up and saw a tray full of cauliflower snowmen forgotten on the table amid gingerbread crumbs and icing smears.)

I’ve got drinks for the Valentine’s Day Party and I’m proud to say I’ve only googled ‘healthy, organic drink recipes’ twice. Baby steps.

XO

A

Categories: Feed the Belly, The Little People and Furry Friends | Tags: | Leave a comment

Food for other babies . . .

I have no intention of turning this blog into just recipes; however, I have had several people request an organic cat treat recipe. This was actually a difficult venture as cats are apparently picky eaters and finding a recipe that won’t reek of fish and/or spoil is challenging. Below is my tweaked version of something called Cat Attack Treats. It is all Vegan. I will note substitutions for those who don’t care about the longevity of the treat. I have renamed my version after my friend’s cat gallantly tested these for me.

Sophia’s Snackers

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons of catnip (fresh or dried–I used fresh because it was easier to find)
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1/3 cup of rice milk (you can use real milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of soy flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of water (you can substitute 1 egg)

Cooking and Serving Directions

  1. Begin by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, wheat germ and catnip).
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl (egg, milk, vegetable oil, and molasses.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and work it into a dough
  5. Lightly flour the counter or other work surface
  6. Remove a portion of dough and use a rolling pin to uniformly flatten the dough to a thickness between 1/8 of an inch and 1/4 of an inch. You may need to add a dash of the rice milk if the ingredients are too try to stick together.
  7. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares using a rolling pizza cutter or a cookie cutter of your choice.
  8. Place the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp and lightly browned.

The other recipe I want to share this week is for human babies. I have had some trouble finding good teething biscuits for my son until I modified this recipe. He loves these. Just don’t leave baby unattended with them (or any other food).

Alexander Cakes

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dry infant cereal, flavored (I used Earth’s Best Sweet Potato and Apple)
3 tablespoons applesauce
ice water

Directions:
Preheat oven 425F
Mix flour and cereal.
Gradually stir in oil. Mix a little ice water at a time (start with 1/4 cup) until dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the bowl.
Roll out to the thickness of a cracker on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 10-12 min. or until lightly brown. Cool completely.

Enjoy! Hope your babies enjoy these too!

Categories: Feed the Belly, The Little People and Furry Friends | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Person My Dog Thinks I Am

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.” ~Author Unknown

That, in a nut shell, sums up my New Year’s Resolution. I love that as a society we make pledges to better ourselves each year, even if we don’t stick to them. It gives me hope. This year mine is pretty simple: Better.

Eat Better.

Live Better.

Teach Better.

Love Better.

I’ll explore what each of those mean to me in the coming year. For right now, I’ll share this.

Perdita Jewel Enjoying a Refreshing Drink at the Puppy Park

Perdita is our Pit Bull-Dalmatian Mix. She was a neglected dog that managed to escape and find our family and would die to keep us safe. Unfortunately, she has also been deaf since birth and developed seizures over the past year. One of the reasons that I have tried to embrace a more natural lifestyle is because chemicals can trigger her seizures. I will do a tribute to my Perdi Jewel in another blog, but in my quest to be the owner she deserves, I made her some organic dog treats yesterday. Here is that recipe. Perdi and my mom’s dog loved them. Our snotty Border Collie-Aussie mix wasn’t so keen. But then she’s literally crazy.

Make them for someone with a cold nose and warm heart that loves you unconditionally.

Minty Dog Bones

Ingredients:
1 Tbl. Veg. Oil
1 C. Water
2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
½ C. Oatmeal (not instant)
2 Tbl. Fresh Mint
1/3 C. Chopped Parsely
1/4 Tsp. Minced Garlic (flea prevention)

Directions: Mix Oil and Water, slowly add flour and other ingredients, roll dough out on a flat surface.

Cut with bone-shaped cookie cutters.

Bake 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Makes about 3 dozen herbal dog treats (depending on the size of your cutter).

(You can use dried herbs if you want, but the fresh ones are better and make your house smell nice while they are baking.)

Hint: They freeze well! But they’ll last for approximately 1 month unfrozen.

Benefits of Mint and Parsley and Garlic in Dog Treats

The fresh flavor of parsley and mint helps to freshen your pet’s breath. What else does mint do?

Mint can also be soothing to the stomach and nervous system and help alleviate nausea.

Parsley is also soothing and can help relieve arthritic pain.

Garlic supports the immune system and prevents fleas.

XO

A

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: | 1 Comment

Post A Week

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way. If there are topics you would like me to talk about or any questions you might have, please feel free to post comments!

Best to all for a Happy 2011.

XO

A

Categories: Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: