Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Two Week Vow of Silence

Well, not really a vow so much as circumstance. Sorry, y'all. I am alive; although, I also am buried up to my ears in copy editing. I've literally been working on it for the past two weeks all day, every day that I have off from my "real" job (and many days that I don't have off). So I haven't done anything that felt blog-worthy, and I'm afraid today will be more of the same. I do, however, have high hopes of finishing by this weekend and getting back to our semi-regular semi-scheduled posting then. Bear with me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Perfect Fit

It's been a long day in the ol' sewing room. Lots of washing and ironing and folding of the fabric stash (using the method recently mentioned by Stardust Shoes here and its innovator here). I'm not nearly done. Also accomplished much mending of dog toys, some random towels. And finished the dog bed. Remember that random little cubby in our living room? I think you're meant to put your tv in there, but that didn't work for us. But a couple of days ago, the husband saw Chewy crawl in there for a nap. It always looked conveniently dog-sized to me, but Chewy had never shown any interest before. Lo and behold! The foam we'd bought months ago for the bed fit perfectly! Chewy seems to approve.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Shave and a Haircut (or, "Holy Crap, That Doodle's a Poodle!")

Oh. My. God. I had no idea a haircut could be this traumatizing. A haircut on someone else. On a dog. I have spent the weekend stunned. In utter shock. I have a new dog.

(old, familiar, fuzzy Chewy)

Let me begin with the Tucson heat, which picked up last week into the 80s already. During one of our walks, earlier in the evening, Chewy threw up when we got back to the house. Poor little guy either had some mild form of heat stroke or just drank too much water too fast or something. I felt awful. A fur coat in 85-degree heat is no fun.

So we decided it was time to shave him for the summer, which we'd always planned to do. Most people with remotely long-haired dogs in Tucson shave them for the dog days [pun intended]. We thought we'd give it a go ourselves first, see if we could save some money, though we knew it probably wouldn't work. If it were that easy, no one would pay the groomers.

(sorry attempt at home-grooming; we didn't dare touch his face)

We were right. It did not work. Chewy was pretty well-behaved and tolerant of our attempts, but his fur is so dang thick the clippers kept getting stuck. We tried trimming him with scissors first to reduce the bulk before clipping. No dice. We finally gave up and made an appointment at the groomers.

The husband wanted him to get a mohawk, an idea stolen from a friend of ours, whose terrier Duncan rocks his own mohawk regularly. He also wanted a goatee and the feathers on the backs of his legs. I was fine with whatever. He's a dog. It's just fur.

We dropped him off and as we left I jokingly said to the husband, "I hope I recognize him when we get back." (FORESHADOWING! FORESHADOWING!)

When they called us to pick him up, I started getting really nervous. A feeling that only increased as we got closer to the groomer. We walked in and I saw a huge pile of his golden fur all over the floor. I knew it was going to be drastic. He came out and I swear to God I did not know my own dog! As the husband was trying to tell the groomer she forgot to leave the beard, I kept hissing at him, "Who is this dog? This dog is a stranger!", meanwhile, trying desperately to act normally toward Chewy so as not to freak him out, too! I didn't want him to feel he'd gotten a bad haircut. I was floored. I felt I didn't know him at all. I felt like I'd been given someone else's dog. I arrived with my fluffy, golden, sheepdog-looking goofball and got back a poodle. A poodle!

Yes, I know he's half poodle. Yes, I know we've always said how poodle-y he looks when wet. But do you see his face? That is the face of a poodle! I had no idea his face was that long and skinny and poodle-y. I had no idea he was such a poodle. I have a poodle. He was hiding in sheep's clothing (almost literally! Friends have called him a sheep!) for six months.

Poodle. Poodle. Poodle. The word has lost all meaning.

And I knew the second I got him home and got down on the floor with him and played with him and cuddled him that I'd know he was the same old Chewy. And of course I did and he was. But, man, what a shock. And now that I'm used to it, I think the mohawk is cool. Fits his goofball personality. And I think he's much cooler temp-wise, and more comfortable, which is the whole point. I've been threatening the cats with a mohawk next.
And, incongruously, here's a shot of Puck rolling in the carrot bits that Chewy started to eat, then abandoned. Maybe the heat's getting to him, too. He's lost his head completely. Mohawk for you, too, Puck!

Monday, March 05, 2007

When a Role in the Grass Turns Deadly (or, Growing Up Omega)

No sewing today. Very disappointing. I got caught up in my own personal brand of cleaning, which is very disjointed and impulsive, usually involving ranging from one room to another, dropping tasks mid-completion as I am distracted by new disorder. What started out as folding laundry ended with reorganizing the kitchen and plans to make curtains for the bathroom. The laundry remains half-folded. So, Chewy's bed and the dress remain half-sewn.

Chewy graduated from his intermediate training class today. By the skin of his teeth. Which is my fault, not his. We missed last week's class. Just completely spaced it. So I had no idea what to prepare for graduation and instead chose wisely to do nothing with him for two weeks so as not to overtrain him. I did a good job of that and he was very convincing in his role as he pretended to suddenly not even know his name, never mind "go to bed," "roll over," or "settle." Whatever. He had fun. Won a couple of balls. Got some treats. It was doggy heaven. No graduation picture this time, though, sorry.

I do have some new kitty pictures. Here's a frame-by-frame of a feline drama I recently witnessed:

I know...I was scared there near the end, too. I hear Lita's up for leading omega, while Bob has been nominated for her cameo. I'm so lucky to have two kitties in the biz.

Who out there is as in love with the Target dollar racks as I am? I scored a couple of major finds last week:

The pirate headband goes with the pirate ring, the pirate necklace, and the pirate earrings I also bought. I am a fully accessorized pirate. It's never too early to plan for Halloween. And I've already worn the camo headband twice and gotten compliments. Compliments, people! On a camo headband! That cost $1!! I didn't know I could pull off such a feat. Soon I'll get around to doing something with the tote bags other than stare at them. I'm not sure what because they're too nice to put with my grocery tote stash, but I don't know how well they'd work as actual purses. Maybe they'll tote someone's gift to them in lieu of wrapping paper? Come on, who's due for a gift? Speak up. The best score of all from the most recent Target spree has yet to be named as it is Easter-related and I don't want to break out the Easter blogs before St. Paddy's. That would be so Christmas 2006. You'll have to wait.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Try This!

Hey peeps. I've offered my dear friend hijacking privileges on my blog once per month to post her new endeavor: a spin-off of Martha Stewart's Good Things, but from all the real people she knows, not just Martha. And probably not all the real people she knows, but the smartest ones. Who returned her email.

And she's hoping for her own blog one day, but is currently without the high-speed Internet.

Anyway, we're working out some formatting issues, so bear with us.

In other news, pictures of a Chewy bed forthcoming soon! My dress is on hold.

Without further ado, here's her first installment of Try This!

Try This!

March 2007


Pan-Seared Tilapia with Sautéed Green Beans and Grape Tomatoes

1/4 lb green beans, trimmed
4 tilapia fillets (5-6 oz each)
Wegmans Pan Searing Flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp chopped shallots
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 pkg. (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved

1. Blanch green beans 1-2 min in large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain; set aside.
2. Dust tilapia with pan-searing flour. Pat off excess.
3. Heat oil in skillet on MEDIUM-HIGH, until oil faintly smokes; add fish.
4. Turn over when fish changes color one-quarter of the way up and seared side has turned paper bag-brown, 2-3 min. Reduce heat to MEDIUM. Cook 3-5 min, until internal temp reaches 120 degrees; check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part of fish.
5. Add butter, shallots and thyme to pan. Swirl. Baste with spoon, 1-3 min, until internal temp reaches 130 degrees. Transfer to clean platter; let rest at least 2 min.
6. Add green beans and tomatoes to pan; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Serve over tilapia.

This Tilapia dish is super simple, quick to make, and so good!

-Melisza Campos

Easiest & Tastiest Nacho Dip Ever

8 oz. softened cream cheese (nonfat works fine)

2 "good" cups shredded cheddar cheese

½ jar of pineapple salsa (or regular salsa with pineapple chunks added)

2-3 chopped scallions

1 small jar sliced black olives (optional)

Put all together in a casserole dish of some kind and heat at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. Stir up and serve with corn chips. YUM!

-Kary Fronk

Easy Baked Ziti

1 pkg. (16 oz.) ziti pasta

1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1 container (15 oz.) POLLY-O Original Ricotta Cheese

1 pkg. (8 oz.) POLLY-O Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided

1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. MIX spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover. BAKE 30 min.; uncover. Bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

This baked ziti is a perfect low cost dinner and a great dish to pass at a pot luck.

-Melisza Campos

2T Chicken bouillon
3/4 C water
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp Curry powder
2T Cornstarch
1/4-1/2lb Chicken, cut into thin strips
1 Pkg Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
2T water
1C grape tomatoes, sliced in half

Dissolve bouillon in water.
Add garlic powder, curry powder, and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
Stir fry chicken to cooked through.
Add vegetables and water. Cover and cook over medium heat 7-10 minutes.
Add sauce, cover, and cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato, and heat through.
Serve over brown rice.

This recipe was successful in getting my husband to eat vegetables – a rare thing!

-Sommer Pearson

Cracked Chocolate Earth with Whipped Cream (Flourless Chocolate Cake):

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

(I used 1/2 bittersweet, 1/2 semisweet)

1 stick unsalted butter

9 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

1 cup heavy cream, cold

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter/spray a 9-inch spring form pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan (spray the bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar. Serve at room temperature with the whipped cream.

I made this cake last weekend and it was still completely delicious. I cut shapes out of index cards (hearts/snowflakes) and put the shapes on top of the cake and then sifted confectioner's sugar on it - then I took the cards off. It was pretty. I also think that REAL whipped cream is a must. The textures were wonderful together.

-Leslie Drescher


Pomegranate Martini

  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

  • 2 oz. Absolute Citron vodka OR white tequila

  • 1 oz. Cointreau liquor

  • Cup of ice

  • Optional: Splash of sparkling water

  • Optional: Squeeze of lemon

This drink seems to be all the rage right now and I made them for my New Year’s Eve party. I got the recipe from Oprah and they’re super yummy!

-Megan Fargione


Method Glass and Surface Cleaner - Mint Scented

Get it at Target for about $3 (I think). I like it because it smells so refreshing and it doesn't leave that awful ammonia smell all over the place. And it's all natural, so no harsh chemicals!

-Lori Strong

ECOver (Whole Foods)

Another great surface cleaner for about $4. Smells like citrus

and also made of all plant oils.

-Lori Strong

Scotch Delicate Surface Tape

If you are painting I highly recommend using the blue scotch "delicate surface tape" which has an orange stamp on it. It's the perfect thing to edge and accent with.

-Marissa Parisi

Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies


-Sara Strong


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My all-time favorite book. – Sara Strong

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

This book is amazing. It goes to show you that truth really is stranger than fiction.

-Marilyn Anderson

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

This book was on the Oprah Show about a week and a half ago along with a panel of people who practice its methods and helped put the book together. It is an easy read with examples that just about anyone can relate to. What it is about? Life! How you can make the most of your life, get the things you want, be where you want to be. It is all in your hands and you can find out why!

- Angela Bucci


Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet

-Sara Strong


If you like a show with twists and turns, I highly recommend LOST. It is an awesome show and you rarely know what's coming. The DVDs make it easy to catch up--it is one of those shows you can't miss an episode of...not that you'll want to....

- Kary Fronk

Drowning Mona

Hilarious! - Leslie Drescher

The Illusionist

-Leslie Drescher


www.wholesomebabyfood.com & www.wholesometoddlerfood.com

Yummy info about food for babies and toddlers, along with simple recipes. I used the baby food website for quite some time and am now moving on over to the toddler site. -Lori Strong


If you are looking for a good site to buy any kind of herbal remedy or vitamins, this is a great site. The cost is a fraction of what you would pay at the health food store.

- Carol Berry


Fun website with lots of great magnets and novelty stuff.

-Leslie Drescher


How to Fix a Garbage Disposal:

If something went down it that made it not work anymore try these steps.

1. Underneath you sink on the disposal unit there should be a reset

2. If something is still stuck in it or it's making a loud noise there is a

place on the unit near the switch

where you can place a small L wrench.
3. Turn the wrench which turns the blades until the item it unstuck. Try

to reset it again.

My husband and I just learned how to fix our garbage disposal, it may be an odd recommendation, but it was a lifesaver for us!!

-Marissa Parisi



This is the hotel is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico my husband and I stayed at for our 1 year anniversary and LOVED!

-Melisza Campos

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Grand Canyon Skywalk opens at the end of this month. This horseshoe-shaped walkway juts 70 feet into the canyon, is 4000 feet above the canyon floor, and has a glass bottom. The skywalk was built as part of the Hualapai Tribe’s Grand Canyon West destination-in-development, an effort to get visitors to the West Rim and increase economic livelihood. I obviously haven’t seen it yet because it isn’t open, but it looks amazing!

-Sarah Anderson

Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Center in Encinitas, CA

If you're ever in the San Diego, CA area a must-visit spot is the Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Center in Encinitas (located about mid-county). The gardens are so serene and peaceful. They are green and lush, full of beautiful foliage with the sound of running water trickling into little carp filled ponds. But, beyond that is the view, the magnificent view! The Gardens are located on a cliff overlooking the ocean and the view is truly breathtaking. You can see up and down the coast, and out for miles. If you're ever there, you can't miss seeing this. It is a hidden gem that most tourists (and many locals) would never know about otherwise. Plus, Encinitas is a great little surf town in itself. For lunch, I recommend Swami's Cafe for a smoothie or wrap. Named for the local beach and the local monks, it's located within walking distance from the Gardens. When you do visit the area, feel free to email me and I can give you lots of other great local places to go that you might otherwise miss! phreegirl01@hotmail.com

Self-Realization Center - http://www.yogananda-srf.org/temples/encinitas/index.html

Swami's Café - http://www.swamis.signonsandiego.com/

-Valerie Consiglio-Nickerson



My new favorite artist. –Sara Strong


Never, ever be afraid to be the only one laughing;

most of the time, people join in anyway!

-Kary Fronk

ANY recommendation you have, we want!!

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