Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Bald Frog with the Wig

"It's not easy being green" (and bald!)
~ Kermit the Frog

My boys like it when I tell them stories. Yes, I realize they just like to hear the sound of my voice but it does my heart good to watch their attentive little faces looking up at me so adoringly when I talk to them.

I was recently asked a random question by "Google" in which I was supposed to respond and it would be posted on my Google profile. I suppose this exercise is meant to give my readers a little more insight about me. The question was: The children are waiting! Please tell them the story about the bald frog with the wig.

I said to myself: Fun!

So, I wrote my non-musical little ditty in a Dr. Suess-like fashion only to find that I was allowed to post just 400 characters. Hmmm. Not many characters to write a meaningful children's story - don't ya agree?

So, I shaved it down to a few lines to fit my profile and then decided to post it in its entirety here on my blog (as Walter and Henry liked it so well.) Truly, I am not as mad as a Hatter; or, perhaps I am, but have just accepted it. Or maybe I am feeling a little creative on Academy Award Sunday.

Indulge me, please.

I am sure many others with a Google profile have been asked to take on this very same task so there are probably many little stories of The Bald Frog with the Wig floating around out there!

Here is my version:

There once was a frog with no hair on his head;
He was sad and embarrassed to get out of bed.
His friend came one day and asked him to play,
But the frog with no hair just sent him away.

The friend felt so bad that he hopped away sad;
But he had an idea that soon made him glad!
He would purchase a wig!
He would make his friend smile!
He would bring it to him in just a short while!

So, he hopped to the wig store and purchased the hair;
He offered a price that was way more than fair.
Then he carried the wig in his mouth with great care,
And hopped to his friend’s house to end his despair.

The bald frog was pleased and he put on the wig,
And proceeded to do his best froggy jig.
I have hair! said the frog.
I have hair on my head!
And now I can smile and get out of my bed!

So he hopped off the bed and outside on the ground,
And he hopped and he hopped and he hopped all around!
He hopped up so high and up to the sky;
He hopped and he hopped so far and so wide.

But soon he grew tired and needed to rest,
So he lay down and slept and he slept and he slept;
But when he awakened, he had such a fright;
As he glanced in the river he saw a strange sight!
A frog with a wig? That didn’t look right!

And behind him, his frog-friends all giggled with glee;
This wig was so silly he could now clearly see!
The thing is: his frog-friends have no hair at all!
For frogs, he now learned, are supposed to be bald!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the Winner Is.........


With 9 out of 10 correct Oscar picks!

Okay, to be honest, when Brian and I were making our Oscar picks, I asked Brian which dog he wanted to partner with and he picked Henry. So, Walter partnered with me.

When we went for our afternoon romp at Blackie’s Pasture, Henry secretly told me he would have rather partnered with me because he thought my picks were winners. Hee hee. And yes, thank you very much, clever Henry was correct! The only category Walter and I guessed wrong was the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Not too shabby, eh?

But Henry and his dad did get 3 out of 10 correct because they were smart enough to agree with me on Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Animated Film. Am I gloating? You betcha!

Truth be known, all of my picks were pure guesses because we rarely go to the theatre to see the films before the Academy Awards. Maybe I should go to Vegas!

On another note, despite guessing most of the wins, this particular Academy Awards production was pretty boring in my opinion. There was barely any good entertainment. Maybe the folks in Hollywood didn’t want the fanfare in the face of this economic storm. I kind of like the elaborate productions though. Perhaps things will look up next year.

Walter's and Henry's Oscar Picks

Walter and Henry are positioned in front of the TV, ready to see if their favorites take home the Oscar! Oh, my! Don't they look anxious? Who picked the most winners? The countdown is on!

Here goes:

Walter's Picks

Best Picture: "The King's Speech"
Best Director: Tom Hoooper for "The King's Speech"
Best Actor: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
Best Actress: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
Best Original Screenplay: "The Kings Speech"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Social Network"
Best Cinematography: "Black Swan"
Best Animated Film: "Toy Story 3"

Henry's Picks

Best Picture: "The King's Speech"
Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit"
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
Best Actress: Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush in "The Kings Speech"
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
Best Original Screenplay: "The Kids are All Right"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "True Grit"
Best Cinematography: "Black Swan"
Best Animated Film: "Toy Story 3"

Looks like they picked the same hopefuls in a few categories so do they know something? We'll find out tonight!

Good luck to all the nominees!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy, Rainy Valentine's Day

"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life." ~ John Updike

We have enjoyed so much sunshine over the past three weeks here in Tiburon that the rain on Valentine’s Day isn’t unwelcome. I like the rain. There is something very soothing about sitting in our warm home, watching and listening to the rain as it nourishes the trees and plants outside. Even through the rain, I can see the beauty of the nature surrounding this wonderful place. There is this tree right outside our back deck that has blossomed over the last few weeks with little pink buds and petals as I think it was tricked into thinking that spring had come early. It bloomed so quickly that I swear if I sat and watched it for a while, I would be able to see the flowers opening before my eyes like a high speed camera shot. It is so dainty and lovely.

There are woods right off our backyard with a path that runs from the Audubon Sanctuary all the way down to the beach. Parents pass by with their children and teachers with their students. Henry’s outside-bed has a perfect view of the woods and he is often out there for hours watching the birds, the cats and other critters that roam on the other side of the fence. He longs to be out there, too. I do take him for walks back there (even though I do not think dogs are supposed to be on that path) and I am not sure he even realizes it is the very same place he sees from his view off the deck.

The trees grow sideways in these woods. I love trees and so pleased that we are surrounded by so many. I took a photo (below) of some of the sideways trees. They are surrounded by other trees that have little white blossoms and ivy that seems to sprout from their trunks. I need to enlighten myself so I must buy a tree book and a bird book.

Today, Henry lay in his bed, staring out into the woods beyond the backyard fence with longing. He thinks he may not get his walk today because it is raining. But, he may be wrong today. After living in San Diego – where it rarely rains – I did not own a lot of rain gear. But, now that I am in the Bay Area – where the rain is a frequent event, I armored myself with a new umbrella, raincoat, rain hat and even rain boots! Lucky for Henry, I am ready to weather the storm! As for Walter, he does not like to go out in the rain as I think he expects wind and thunder and lightning to accompany it and that spooks him. Maybe if I get him a raincoat, too, he will take the plunge. We’ll see.

Henry - longing to go out in the rain

Walter - staying out of the rain

It also doesn’t hurt that the Academy Awards are coming up because there are plenty of former Oscar winning movies on TV and a rainy day is a perfect day for indulging.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my boys and to all of you, too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Whole Foods, Real Food

At Whole Foods Market, they talk about their mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet. And they mean what they say.

Since we moved to Tiburon, naturally we had to find a new grocery store. There is a Safeway in nearby Mill Valley which is fine and we shop there often.

And there is also a Whole Foods Market.

I always thought that Whole Foods was only for specialty items and was more expensive than the other grocery chains. Wrong. We have found that the prices are reasonable and even if some things cost a little more at times, it’s worth it because we know we are getting natural and organic food that makes us feel good about what we are eating.

You can’t beat their wholesome produce and organic herbs; fresh fish and meats; home-baked breads and rich aged cheddar and parmesan cheeses. Their bake-at-home butternut squash and goat cheese pizza is delectable and their garlic hummus and lemon artichoke dips are, well, as good as they sound! We even buy our cat food and other pet treats at Whole Foods and the boys agree that everything is yummy. I have been cooking up a storm and our meals have been outstanding.

Here’s a look at what was on my cutting board for dinner tonight. Fresh, organic and colorful produce from Whole Foods Market.

My apologies if this post sounds like a commercial advertisement for Whole Foods. I guess I am gushing because I can’t believe I have settled for less than this all these years. Sure, I have shopped for produce at the Farmer’s Market from time to time (which was in town only once a week) but now we have this Whole Foods Market available to us every day of the week.

I am certainly hooked on Whole Foods and also like their dedication to the environment and their attention to quality and health. It makes ME feel whole.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"Every dog has his day."

Quote by Miguel de Cervantes

And today is HENRY'S day!

Henry is sporting his red birthday scarf and totally enjoying a giant bully stick as a special birthday treat! Henry is 8 years old today. He was born in Canada to Annie and Strummer of Kyon Kennels and was delivered into our lives at 9 weeks old.
We picked up Henry at the Denver International Airport and before I could even see his beautiful little face I could hear him barking in the back of the Cargo terminal. He was quite the center of attention that day at the terminal and as I signed the documents to claim my new baby boy, I had to hold him in my arms to keep him from barking and yelping and trying to knock down the crate door. It was love at first sight and the love affair is still going strong 8 years later.
Henry is Walter's little brother and his best friend. He is bright, obedient, funny and a lover and protector of his family.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful boy!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Blackie and the Boys

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." ~ Will Rogers

The Bird Sanctuary

We live right next door to a bird sanctuary, maintained by the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary. A beautiful, old, solitary, yellow Victorian house sits out on the property near the water’s edge with views of the San Francisco skyline and Mount Tamalpais in the backdrop. It is quite breathtaking. At first I had to pinch myself as I realized that we now live on this beautiful peninsula in a cove on Richardson Bay.

Hiking paths through the woods that lead down to the beach are open to the public. Unfortunately, because it is a wildlife sanctuary, dogs are not allowed on the property. This frustrates Walter and Henry when we go on our walks, past this tantalizing open space that to them, is a haven for romping, rolling and exploring. They pull the leash and urge me to take them down the path and I have to restrain them from dragging me inside. Poor babies. Luckily, just down the road a bit, there is another very special place that is more receptive to our canine companions. It’s called Blackie’s Pasture and it’s filled with humans throwing tennis balls and Frisbees for their playful pups. Dogs are off-leash and romping and sniffing and rolling in the grass. People are strolling, sailing by on their bikes or just sitting on the benches soaking in the landscape. It’s a great place.

Blackie's Pasture
"The pasture is named for an old horse that apparently swam across the San Francisco Bay on October 1, 1938 from the Marin County side to San Francisco's Crissy Field. He swam it in 23 minutes and 15 seconds, winning a $1,000 bet for his then owner, Shorty Roberts."

"A short time later, Anthony Connell, his new owner, put him in the Tiburon pasture where he found his spot and stood, day after day in the same place, for 28 years. When Blackie collapsed and died while standing in “his” spot on February 27, 1966, the Marin County Health Department approved his burial in the pasture. His grave was marked by a simple cross (pictured above) and a memorial plaque made possible by contributions from citizens of the peninsula. In June 1995, thanks to a gift by the family of Gordon Strawbridge, Tiburon's first mayor, the Tiburon Peninsula Foundation erected a life-sized sculpture of Blackie created by the noted Bay Area artist, Albert Guibara, in what is now known as Blackie’s Pasture."

Blackie and the Boys
As we walk along Greenwood Cove Beach Road, past the lovely bay front homes, Walter and Henry now know where we are headed at the end of the road and they quicken their pace in anticipation, the bird sanctuary left behind and forgotten for now. As we arrive at the end of the dead-end road, Walter and Henry lead me through the trees and out to the shores of the bay where the seagulls and other water fowl appear to be walking on top of the water in low tide. The Golden Gate Bridge peeks out just to the north of the San Francisco skyline in the distant horizon. It’s as good for me as it is for them!

The boys then lure me to the water’s edge, where, if I let them off the leash, Henry would immediately leap into the bay and begin to doggie paddle with a smile on his face. Walter, on the other hand, would walk into the water slowly and lie down in the shallowest part, wallowing in the mud. Sometimes I allow them to do this but not today. They were just groomed and they are clean and their fur is brushed and they look magnificent. I have to make that last a little longer! Instead, I lead them to the pasture where the sculpted monument of Blackie himself is erected to memorialize this infamous horse.

The first time Walter and Henry met Blackie, Walter got spooked and shied away from the statue (not surprisingly as Walter is easily spooked) and so he doesn’t get too close to Blackie anymore (unless, of course, I tether him to Blackie’s leg for a photo shoot!) I think he believes Blackie is the real deal. Henry, on the other hand, gave Blackie a few sniffs and now pretty much ignores him.

Very Happy Boys
After all, it's not only Blackie they come to see in this doggie-heaven-on-earth.