Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rufus in Paris

You probably know that I have a gorgeous son named Rufus. Well it turns out there is another gorgeous tibetan terrier named Rufus and he lives in Paris.

Rufus' mom, Sarah Hay, is a thirty something English fashion journalist living in Paris where she reports on fashion shows and cultural events in the city for magazines such as UK GQ Style, i-D magazine, Financial Times Style and edits which is an online micro-magazine for W Hotel Paris that's opening in February 2012. Rufus is a nearly eight year old TT who likes to walk around Paris and the forest of Fontainebleau. He likes to eat raw carrots, dislikes mushrooms and enjoys socialising with packs of dogs in large green spaces.

Sarah on Rufus:

My dog, a Tibetan Terrier called Rufus looks cute but he and I both know that he’s not an ornamental toy, he’s an everyday, hard working guy. I’m a freelance fashion and culture journalist who has no qualms about spending endless hours and days at my computer writing, researching and thinking; it’s my dogs job to tell me when it’s time to get away from the screen, go for a walk and engage with the real world again, which he does twice a day. Because he needs to eat, pee and exercise, he’s really the one who reminds me to do the same for myself. Before I met my dog, I’d be surrounded by towers of pizza boxes during deadline. I’m proud to say, since meeting Rufus, those days are over.

Sarah, centre, between Alban Adam from Mugler and DJ Mimi Xu

A huge part of my livelihood comes from attending opening parties, socialising and knowing what’s going on in whichever city I’m living in and during my twenties I had a lot of fun. It’s no secret that drink and drugs are present around the fringes of media and entertainment industries and now in my thirties, I have a few friends who went through the painful process of finally reaching AA or NA which fortunately I never had to do but my dog has played and continues to play a part in that too. Since I got Rufus I’ve never gone out and come home two days later, I have somebody waiting for me now, I have a responsibility to a little dude who’s a lot of fun to be around, he keeps me grounded and shows his love for me in ways that are so clear as to never be misinterpreted. You could argue that this eight kilo bundle of jumping fur has saved my life.

So how did Rufus and I meet? By accident. I had just moved to Paris, was looking for an apartment and went to see an English girl who was letting go of her place. She had rescued an adorable if eccentric dog that looked like a Lhasa Apso but had a big character, we got on right away but he was a handful for his owner. Rufus constantly yanked on his lead, he was too insecure for his owner to even go to the toilet in a restaurant, he didn’t care to be petted and was known to bite. The dog was a bundle of nerves and the owner said that she had a new job where she would be travelling. To cut a long story short I took the apartment and the dog too. I moved out of that apartment a few years ago but Rufus and I are still together! He's come a long way from the lost dog that he used to be.

I don’t know if Rufus is a pure Tibetan Terrier but he definitely has the character of one. He’s an agile guard dog. My understanding is that the breed, nicknamed Little Lion by Tibetan monks, was raised to possess a bark that, when heard from behind doors, suggests that the dog is bigger than it actually is. Tick that, his bark is certainly sharp and deafening. Tibetan Terriers are naturally happy, playful and comical little dogs and Rufus is certainly that too. He’s the little joker in the pack and since being sterilized he’s never had one single fight with another dog. I always tell nervous dog owners in the street or in the park that even if their little terriers, Chihuahua’s or Jack Russell’s growl or snap, it’s no bother to Rufus, he moves too quickly to get nipped and just carries on with his own business; that of being happy.

This quality is another part of his “job” as the life of a freelance journalist comes with a rollercoaster lifestyle. A huge high can be followed by a deep plunge and it’s priceless to have a presence around you that’s impervious to all of this. His mood is constant, his needs are grounded and simple and he really doesn’t care if I’m late because I’ve been interviewing Angelina Jolie, Karl Lagerfeld or Justin Timberlake, these excuses and these people don’t mean anything to him. He doesn’t care how I look, he doesn’t really care if I’m feeling lazy and don’t feel like walking either. All Rufus cares about is that I’m there, we’re together and we’re going for a walk, preferably for a run in Vincennes, the forest and lake that lies to the south-east of Paris. Everything else is boring to him, he’s not interested. That said, if Jolie, Lagerfeld or Timberlake had pieces of cheese or chicken in their hands then that would be a very different story – this dog has a lot of love and energy to give, especially if you’re packin’ cheese.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oranges and Cloves for Christmas

Can you believe we are taking oranges and sticking cloves into them? Dad tells me it is an old European Christmas tradition. We used clementines instead of oranges cause that's what we had around the house. It turns out clementines are actually better for this project as their skin is not as tough and easier to poke the cloves into. After the pic above was taken, we rolled them in cinnamon and placed them in a wooden bowl. I must admit they do smell great.

I got to wondering about this "old European Christmas tradition" so I sniffed around a bit.

In Renaissance times, both exotic spices and citrus fruits were not commonly available nor easy to come by. Fruits were only available in a particular season and only for a short span of time. The technologies to support year-long agriculture, specialized storage (refrigerators and the like), mass harvesting, and cross-country (and cross-continent) delivery were all many decades away. During the time, simply possessing such things as citrus fruits or exotic spices was a sign of wealth and prestige and what better way to get the attention of a paramour than to give some of that wealth to them?

As with any gift, it is always polite to thank the giver for their generosity. A kiss was often all a demure young lord or lady could part with, so thus began (in theory) the practice of the kiss in return for the presentation of the cloved fruit!

Like that story? It's totally fabricated, but it sure does sound like it could have happened that way! Historians assure me that during Medieval and Renaissance time periods a lot of things we take for granted were wholly absent. As the new world had yet to be exploited, all new world flora and fauna were as yet unknown, so medieval Europe wouldn't have known what an orange was even if a sparrow dropped it right upon their heads. Although I assure you, were that to happen, they would have cloved the strange ruddy round object immediately. Really.

It turns out that cloved oranges are also know as pomanders. The first pomanders were made from gold or silver. They were shaped like balls and hung by a cord from the waist. They were filled with sweet smelling herbs and spices, and used as perfume. They were also thought to keep one from getting sick.

The most likely actual use of a cloved fruit was as a pomander and worn on one's person as a type of human air freshener or left in places where one might wish to disguise odors. While giving one's paramour 'primitive deodorant' might seem a little crude by today's social mores, it might have been perfectly acceptable in time periods when personal hygiene was a bit less advanced.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dancer as Walker, Baker, Reader

The first time she performed the role of Dewdrop in “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” with the New York City Ballet, Ashley Bouder was 17 and made a memorable entrance: she fell on her face. Now 27 and a principal dancer for the company, Ms. Bouder is in her eighth season as the Sugarplum Fairy and her 11th as Dewdrop. She will perform that role in a live City Ballet broadcast in movie theaters on Tuesday and on the PBS program “Live From Lincoln Center” on Wednesday. Ms. Bouder lives on the Upper West Side with her boyfriend, Matthew Dibble, 35, now touring in Twyla Tharp’s “Come Fly Away,” and their dogs: Scout, a Beagle; and Enid, a Boston terrier. On nonperforming Sundays, she unwinds with the dogs, naps, posts to Twitter and has a big dinner.

LATE RISER I sleep until between 10 and 11; I would sleep longer, but I know I have to get up and walk the dogs. They’re angels; they sleep with me. I put the coffee on, feed the dogs, and jump in the shower.

WALK, THEN TWEET I grab a cup to go and take the dogs around the block, come home, and drink a few more cups while I watch NY1 and catch up on e-mail and Facebook and Twitter. My family and friends are on Facebook; it’s a nice, no-pressure way to connect. Three years ago my friend Daniil Simkin, a soloist with the American Ballet Theater, told me I had to do this thing called Twitter because it’s like “one big status update.” Twitter has become a little overwhelming. I follow 164 people and they tweet all the time!

FAVORITE TWEETERS I recently began to follow Ricky Gervais — he’s really funny. I used to follow Will Ferrell but I don’t think he’s funny anymore. Barack Obama, for links to his speeches. I was an Artist for Obama in 2008.

LUNCH WITH A BOOK When the weather is nice, I take a book and sit outside at Bella Luna at 88th and Columbus. I’ll have soup, a glass of red wine and the linguine with meatballs. I got a Kindle a month ago, but I do love real books — I just finished Jock Soto’s autobiography and Alison Weir’s “Eleanor of Aquitaine.” If it’s awful outside, I cook a big omelet with bacon, cheddar and broccoli. And I’ll eat Greek yogurt while I’m making the omelet.

A WALK AND A NAP After lunch I take the dogs to either Riverside Park or Central Park. If we go to Central Park, we might walk for two hours; my hound likes to smell everything. Then we go home and everybody takes a nap on the bed. During the season, I often have rehearsals or performances on Sundays; when that happens, Monday is my only day off.

COOK, MAYBE BAKE If my boyfriend is away, I’ll stay home and cook myself something I really want, broil a steak and make a salad with everything in it, or make one of my mother’s recipes, like pork chops with mushroom gravy and potatoes. It’s a substantial meal, and I of course feed the dogs some, but I have a small stomach, so it takes me forever to eat it. On my day off sometimes I’ll bake. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I like pumpkin, so I make pumpkin muffins or pumpkin banana bread. It doesn’t last.

TV AND STRETCH I take the dogs out around 8; I like to walk them three times a day. Then I’ll watch TV or Netflix — nothing special, my TV night is Wednesday for “Modern Family” — and drink a glass of wine or two, mostly pinot noir. When I’m watching TV at night, I’m not a couch potato, I’m always stretching and exercising. I’ll put tennis balls under my back or feet. I might be on the floor doing the splits. Or I have the heating pad on. I have a machine called the Reflex Roller; it massages my legs and calves. I’m learning a new ballet, “DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse,” by Christopher Wheeldon, so everything aches.

BEDTIME I go to bed around 11:30 and probably read for a couple of hours before I fall asleep.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Random Licks by Glenn Close

Did you know that Glenn Close is related to Marjorie Merriweather Post? She is a great dog lover and has her own blog, Random Licks. Here, she posts about another great dog lover, Lauren Bacall. Thanks Glenn!

It's a supremely daunting challenge to write an introduction to a woman who has been declared one of the American Film Institute's top 25 film legends of the century. So I'm not even going to try. In this era of sound bytes, spin and packaging, Lauren Bacall defies categorization. She is feline and ferocious, bawdy, beautiful and brilliant. She is my neighbor and friend, who happens to be totally in the thrall of her spectacular Papillion, Sophie. When I approached Ms. Bacall about doing a profile of her and Sophie, she told me that she wanted to be interviewed in person and invited me to her home in the venerable Dakota on New York's Central Park West, where I had the great pleasure of spending the afternoon with Sophie and her handmaiden, Lauren Bacall - surrounded by extraordinary art and artifacts, pictures of family and friends and evidence everywhere of an amazing life and career. It is an afternoon I will never forget. As fall starts creeping into the trees around Sheep Meadow, the Great Lawn and down the paths of Strawberry Fields, we are planning to walk our dogs together in the park. Or should I say they are planning to walk us.

Glenn Close: When and how did you become a dog lover?
LB: I was always a dog yearner. I didn't have a dog growing up in the city with a working mother. As an only child, I yearned for someone to talk to. When I was sixteen, we got a champagne-colored Cocker Spaniel and named him "Droopy". He was very male. From the first moment, he was very possessive of me. All my dogs have been possessive of me. We eventually mated Droopy and kept one of his girl puppies---Puddle. I went to Los Angeles for a screen test when I was eighteen years old. My mother followed me out later. The dogs came, too.

In LA, Droopy was killed by a hit-and-run driver. There was a place in the valley where a nutty woman had a funeral parlor for dogs. I went to pay my last respects to Droopy. All the dogs were there in open caskets. Droopy was resting his head and paws on a pillow. It was terrible.

Bogey and I had Boxers. We were married on Louis Bromfield's farm in Ohio. Louis had Boxers that would fight under the table at dinner. He gave us a week old Boxer puppy for a wedding present. We named him Harvey, after the invisible rabbit. Harvey was really smart. He knew he wasn't allowed to get on the furniture so he would only put two paws on at a time. He would sit between us if we had a fight. Harvey died six months after Bogey. I went to see him at the vet's and said goodbye. Five minutes after I got home, I was told that after I left, Harvey had eaten his dinner and died.

Join Glenn Close in Lauren Bacall's apartment to meet Sophie.

GC: I know that you are devoted to your Papillion, Sophie. If she were a human, what kind of car would she drive?
LB: A Mercedes coupe. A perfect two-seater: one seat for her and one for me.

GC: What is Sophie's pet peeve about you?
LB: She doesn't like it when I'm on the phone. She doesn't like to be made to leave the boudoir when she is all curled up. She doesn't like it when I don't get out of bed when she wants me to.

GC: What is your pet peeve about Sophie?
LB: She dictates. I'm her slave. She barks when I'm on the phone. She doesn't like it when my back is to her.

GC: What musical instrument would Sophie play if she could?
LB: A trumpet.

GC: What does Sophie think about cats?
LB: She doesn't like other animals, especially white dogs. She barks at every dog in the street. Every dog that sees her wants to kill her---Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds. They think she is a snack.

GC: What excites Sophie the most?
LB: A diversion, like when my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren come over.

Also, she has a stuffed Shar Pei that she humps. After she goes for a walk, she runs into the bedroom and humps her Shar Pei. Then she has a long barking conversation with it.

She has her own chair with a cashmere throw on it. She always has to rest her head on a pillow or a stuffed animal. She loves soft toys. Her first love is her Shar Pei but she also has a soft pig, and some bears.

She loves the country. She will sit for hours at a drainpipe waiting for a chipmunk to come out. She also loves chasing squirrels.

GC: What is your favorite thing to do with Sophie?
LB: Snuggle. In the morning I have breakfast in the kitchen and I pick her up and hold her and her little body warms my chest and makes me feel so good. (Actually, she'd much rather be on a man's lap than a woman's.) She knows life is all about her. She's spoiled.

GC: What would be Sophie's favorite movie?
LB: Well...she doesn't watch television, but I think she would like Now Voyager. She would appreciate Bette Davis. She would be attuned to the hallowed moments.

GC: What is it about you that makes Sophie most proud?
LB: When she's just had her bath and looks beautiful and when she behaves well. But I still wouldn't want to cross her. I'm afraid of her!

GC: What is Sophie's idea of perfect happiness?
LB: To be in a gondola with me in Venice. Just as long as we're together.

GC: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
LB: When there is no one in the house and the phone stops ringing. (Of course, if it stopped altogether, I'd panic.) Happiness? I've tried the two-legged ones, and the four-legged ones win.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Mutts

We just have to go see The Mutts at the Yacht Club. We just have to.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by Spencer Eldridge, Larry Fortunato, Kevin Grover, Jacques Olivier and Eddy Sill, The Mutts became an influential garage rock group during LA's post-punk period and played on bills with many popular acts of the era, including The Go-Go's, The Bangles, Adam Ant, The Dickies, The Minutemen, X, Fishbone and many others. Fishbone debuted as an opening act for the band at Madame Wong's in LA's Chinatown. The group released two EPs on local independent labels, "Fire Hydrant" on Music Rage Records in 1984 and "The Mutts" on Shanghai Records in 1985, but the combo wouldn't come into its own until Grover and Sill took over as frontmen after singer Eldridge and guitarist Olivier left the group in 1986.

The band received widespread notoriety when their only major release, "Stinko's Ranch" Loud/WEA, debuted in late 1992. The album received an A in Entertainment Weekly, and the single, Emilyn, became a top-5 hit on P-1 (million+) radio markets in North America. The group appeared on the cover of BAM Magazine, and the late Eric Douglas played the bartender in the video for "I Live With a Cat." The owner of the WEA-distributed record label, Rick Laudati (Loud), mysteriously vanished into thin air the day after the album was released, and this threw the album into a hopeless legal debacle, which wouldn't be resolved until 1994. The band continued to play in Los Angeles until their famed rehearsal hall and party house was leveled to accommodate a Home Depot in 1996. are playing at the Yacht Club this Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Don't Forget National Dog Show Today on NBC

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

Thanksgiving Dinner for Dogs

Winning ways with leftovers

Dogs love turkey and sweet potatoes, too. Cook this meal from scratch or use up the leftovers—either way, your chow hounds will chow down with gusto! Remember, don't stuff your dog on Thanksgiving and read A Safe Thanksgiving for Dogs before your overindulge your furry friends.

Nutritional Information
Per 1-cup serving (approximate, depending on ingredient substitutions)
Calories 321
Protein 44 g
Carbohydrates 16 g
Dietary fiber 1.9 g
Fat 7.7 g (with gravy; less if omitted)
Facts (Vet’s View)
This is a moderate-carb recipe suitable for healthy adult dogs.
Portion Size
For small dogs, 3/4 cup; medium dogs, 1 1/2 cups; larger or more active dogs, 3 cups.
Add 400 mg calcium per 1-cup serving (600 mg if using bone meal).
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 9 1-cup servings

3 lb/1.3 kg skinless turkey pieces (light and dark meat)
1 cup (about 6 oz/175 g) oatmeal (cooked)
1 lb/450 g sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
4 tbsp turkey gravy (optional; to reduce the fat content, omit the gravy or substitute olive oil)

Use turkey leftovers or roast the turkey:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
2. For boneless breast or thigh, cook 30–45 minutes; boned breast or thigh, 45–60 minutes; whole turkey, 1 1/2–2 hours or until the meat juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. Let cool.
3. Remove all the bones and dice the meat into large pieces.
4. If using fresh sweet potatoes, roast with the turkey for about 25–30 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel and dice.
5. Meanwhile, cook the oatmeal according to package instructions.
6. Mix together the turkey meat, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. If using gravy or oil, add it now and mix thoroughly. (If your dog is at all prone to pancreatitis or other fat-related upsets, omit the gravy.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liza Minnelli Breaks a Leg and There's a Dog to Blame!

Liza Minnelli was being pushed around New York in a wheel chair this weekend ... after breaking her leg in THREE places -- but according to the singer, it's all her dog's fault.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Eye Opener

Cornelia Guest is one of my favorite people. She's lovely. She cares deeply about animals. She designs beautiful handbags using no animal products. She even bakes cookies (again using no animal products). And she's on the board of the New York Humane Society! A portion of her cookie sales go to support the humane society. And they are SO GOOD!!

Cornelia Guest's Eye Opener

"A little over ten years ago I noticed that my dogs were getting strange diseases. Breathing problems, cancers, lumps and bumps that I don’t remember them having when I was growing up. I decided to stop using any pesticides or poisons anywhere in my home. At first it wasn’t easy but we just went back to basics. I asked around and with a little research (I love to collect books) I found some great old fashioned cleaning methods.

Then my mother got cancer and I really started to read… The China Study — a real eye opener– Dr Dean Ornish, Dr Neal Barnard, Kathy Freston, Skinny Bitch: all talked about how a plant based diet helps fend off and reverse disease. Then I read Gene Baures Farm Sanctuary. It is one of the most beautiful and inspiring books I have ever read. I guess on some level I always knew that factory farms were pretty horrible, but I learned that the suffering and torture these animals go through to be our food is just disgusting and not something I wanted to be a part of. I am not an expert on any of this but I am constantly overwhelmed, like most, about how to be green, organic… the list is endless. So I have chosen to educate myself and live in a way that is conscious to all two and four legged beings, and our amazing planet.

Just a few weeks ago the NY Times Sunday front page had an article about a beautiful young girl who is now paralyzed. Why? She ate a hamburger and got E Coli. The article spoke about the horrors of factory farms and how a hamburger is made and the process of processing meat. Read it, and I promise not only will it make you want to vomit but you will look at a hamburger very differently. Then a few days later, the Times had another great article on ” Atrazine” a weed killer that the EPA has now decided might be a little more dangerous to humans than they thought!! Thank you New York Times!!!

I have been eating a plant based diet for about 2 years now and have never felt better or been healthier. Knowing that step by step, I am learning to be responsible to our planet and all its wondrous creatures. It is just one step, and I intend to do a lot more!!!!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

"I am Ruled by My Passions" - Elizabeth Taylor

Well, that is certainly something I have in common with Elizabeth. Along with my smoking hot looks. Yes, often have I been told that I look like Elizabeth Taylor. Perhaps it's my eyes or, maybe, my dark tousled hair. No, I am quite sure it is a keen primal intelligence that we have in common. And I do love the bling.

Film Star. Humanitarian. Fashion Icon. Elizabeth Taylor's legacy will be celebrated in a landmark series of events, exhibitions and auctions this Fall at Christie's. Here, see some of the highlights from her legendary collection of jewels, couture, fine and decorative art and memorabilia.

To view the video on Christie's website click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Safe Thanksgiving for Dogs

There's enough for people to worry about at Thanksgiving. "Oh no, not Aunt Edna's greasy gravy." "My brother's bragging is going to drive me to drink." "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." But we can't just think of ourselves over this food-focused holiday: We have to look after our best friends, too.

Dogs enjoy the revelry at least as much as humans, with bits of this and that dropping on the floor, and delectable smells wafting around the house. But Thanksgiving mustn't be a free-for-all. Just because we try to pack away all we can doesn't mean our dogs should. And there are certain items your dog really needs to avoid.

"Veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays because humans invite their animals to celebrate with high fat meals (ham, gravy, turkey skin), chocolates, bones , etc.," warns Casandria Smith, L.A. Animal Services Chief Veterinarian, in a PetFinder article.

Here are some tips that will help your dog get through Thanksgiving safely and with a smile on her snout.

Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Dog

It's easy to want to give your dog a big fat bowl of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think she might enjoy. But that's a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. A few strips of turkey on a dog's normal food is fine, but don't overdo it, no matter how she may plead with her "I'm STARVING" eyes. Keep in mind that turkey skin can wreak havoc with a dog's digestive system, so make sure she gets skinless, boneless turkey.

Stuff Your Dog's Kong, Not Your Dog

Here's a great way to keep your dog busy and happy during your meal. Put a bit of your dog's regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy - just a tad, mind you - in the Kong. It's not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time.

Get Her Pooped

A dog who has been on a big walk or fetched the ball a zillion times will be much more likely to run out of energy during the feast than a dog who's been inside all day. A tired dog is a good dog on Thanksgiving. Make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise before the festivities begin.

Make no Bones About It

Cooked turkey bones can be a danger to your dog. They're sharp, and potentially very dangerous. You may not know a dog has a turkey bone lodged in your dog's digestive system for days. Don't leave plates with bones lying around. Ditto for the turkey carcass. Hungry dogs have been known to run off with the remains of a carved turkey. It can happen in the blink of an eye. You notice the turkey is gone. You notice the dog is gone. With luck, you find their hiding place before anything happens. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can't dispose of everything properly right away.

Know this Sage Wisdom

Sage and some other herbs have essential oils that can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression if a dog eats them in large quantities. Most dogs aren't going to nosh on a fistful of sage, but keep herbs out of reach just in case. See: Poisonous Plants and Foods for Dogs.

Don't Cry Over Onions

Onions are toxic to dogs. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your dog stays away from the pearly whites, and yellows, and reds. See: Poisonous Plants and Foods for Dogs.

Don't Give Her the Raw Deal

Unless your dog is already on a raw diet, we wouldn't recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pup away from the uncooked dough for bread or rolls. What helps make dough rise? Heat. If a dog eats raw dough, what's it like for the dough in the dog's stomach? Warm. The dough rises in the dog's stomach, and if the dog has eaten enough, the swollen dough can cause pain, vomiting, and bloating -- conditions that can send you to the doggy ER on Thanksgiving.

Avoid Yappy Hour

Some dogs seem to enjoy alcoholic drinks. Walk away from your drink that's set on the coffee table, and Lulu may get lit. Dogs and booze are a bad mix. Your dog may not do anything embarrassing she'll regret in the morning, but she could become disoriented and quite ill. Too much alcohol can even lead to a coma, and death. Watch where you - and others - put their drinks, especially if you have a curious pup.

By following a few basic tips, your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving. Now if only you could avoid Aunt Edna's gravy...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Joe T's

So... Joe T. Garcia's is my favorite Mexican restaurant ever. Located near the stockyards in Fort Worth, Joe T's was named one of Gourmet magazines favorite "legendary restaurants." The restaurant opened before the mag debuted in 1941. (Joe T.'s opened in 1935.) They share the mention with other luminous old timers like Galatoire's in New Orleans, Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach and, of course, New York's The "21" Club.

And they have the best frosted-pink-sugar cookies in the world. We always go across the street to the bakery run by Joe's daughter, Esperanza, to get these. They sell Esperanza's cookies at Joe's, but they are cheaper at Esperanza's. And boy are they yummy.

But, wait, there something else I want to share with you. I met a woman wearing a skirt that was made up of her husband's old neck ties. We went to see a stage production of To Kill a Mockingbird at the new Wiley theater in Dallas and there she was sitting right next to us in that necktie skirt. Not really in the same league as the Galleon headband designed by Monsieur Gaultier. But, I would categorize both as conversation pieces. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All About Izzie

This is my formal portrait....I had to behave!

Today Izzie's mom, Rhea Ann, sent me lots of great photos.

"My Izzie know the cross between a pug, standard poodle and belgian malinois and siberian husky......hmmmmm, maybe I should do another test!"
-Rhea Ann

Turns out Rhea Ann is an artist. We love her work. Take a gander at her website:

In the meantime enjoy these adorable pics of Izzie, my look alike who isn't a Tibetan Terrier. They say everyone has a twin somewhere. I think I've found mine. And we both have VERY LONG tongues!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Pug?

Rhea Ann and Darcy with Izzie, who is definitely not a Tibetan Terrier.

Well, we are in Dallas for the opening of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. You know, he is the guy that designed those cone-bra-bustiers for Madonna. It is an amazing exhibition with hundreds of outfits on display. And the mannequins have animatronic faces that move and blink and twitch and burp. I don't know if they burp, but they might. The moving faces are actually video projections on the faces of the mannequins from tiny video cameras suspended from the ceiling. It was a fun show, but the real reason we always visit DFW is to visit Joe T. Garcia's.

Before I go any further, I want to let you know we were walking on the Katy Trail yesterday when we met what we thought was a very nice rangy Tibetan Terrier named Izzie along with her owner Rhea Ann and friend Darcy. Rhea Ann, herself, thought Izzie was a Tibetan Terrier when she first brought her home. That's what the folks at the animal shelter told her. It turns out that Izzie is actually a Pug! Well....a pug and a Belgian Malinois and two other breeds that look nothing like Tibetan Terriers. You see, Rhea Ann had one of those genetic tests done that told her exactly what breeds Izzie is made up of.

You know, they say the whole is the greater than the sum of its parts. I think that is SO TRUE in Izzie's case. I mean that girl has my head. It was like looking in a freak'n mirror!

I guess, I'll have to tell you about Joe T's another day. I'm exhausted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Happens at the Dog Park...STAYS at the Dog Park

So we took a little trip to the mile high city, Denver, this past weekend. We met a very nice service dog named Jazz, a small labradoodle, and his very cute friend Mylae at The Edge, the restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel. Very nice hotel by the way. We had a two bedroom suite and THREE BATHROOMS. I love to sleep on the cool tile floor in the bathroom.

Just around the corner on Larimar Square is a very cool dog boutique, Dog Savvy. I tried to get Dad to buy me a hat. He ended up buying one for himself at the western store down the block instead. All I got at Dog Savvy was a refrigerator magnet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Belles

Now, you probably didn't know that my dad is from the Cereal City, Battle Creek, along with the Kellogg's and the CW Post's.

I know this doesn't seem to have anything to do with dogs. But, then, neither does Mushroom Lasagna.

One of Marjorie's Schnauzers photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

But, wait, there is a connection. You see, Marjorie Merriweather Post's granddaughter, Ellen Charles is a dog fancier and raises and shows the most amazing Standard Poodles. And Marjorie herself loved her Miniature Schnauzers beyond reason. You can see one of their canopied dog beds at her Washington, DC estate Hillwood. And there is a very elaborate cemetery under the trees out back where all her pets take their final rest.

Although we haven't seen Ellen is quite a while, Dad used to be on an advisory group at Hillwood and they once spent a very fine day touring some beautiful DC area gardens together. The last time we saw Ellen was in New Jersey, of all places. Dad, Angus and I and Ellen and her poodles were all out for an early morning promenade in front of our hotel before a dog show. I don't remember much about the conversation, but I do remember Ellen remarked about how fine Angus is. I never forget things like that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Best (Mushroom) Lasagna Ever

There is this guy at our local farmer's market that grows the best, freshest, cleanest mushrooms you have ever seen. Perfect for a delicious mushroom lasagna.

Are you ready for a lasagna that tastes really rich, but is actually quite healthy?

First, a few notes:

We use Gia Russa No Bake whole wheat lasagna noodles and white whole wheat flour for the bechamel. White whole wheat flour is the best. Great taste, consistency, and texture. We use it for everything. Don't use anything else.

Also, you can ignore using cheesecloth to drain the mushrooms. We do. We just use a colander to drain them.


The Best (Mushroom) Lasagna Ever

This lasagna tastes very rich, even though it really isn’t. It combines an olive oil béchamel with a simple mushroom ragout and Parmesan cheese. I prefer no-boil lasagna noodles because they’re lighter than regular lasagna noodles.

For the mushrooms:

1 ounce (about 1 cup) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced


1/2 cup fruity red wine, such as a Côtes du Rhône or Syrah

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground pepper

For the béchamel:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion

2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour

2 cups milk (may use low-fat milk)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the lasagna:

1/2 pound no-boil lasagna noodles

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

A few leaves of fresh sage (optional)

1. Place the dried mushrooms in a glass measuring cup and pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let soak 30 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients. Place a strainer over a bowl, line it with cheesecloth or paper towels, and drain the mushrooms. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer to extract all the flavorful juices. If using shiitakes, cut away and discard the stems. Then rinse the mushrooms, away from the bowl with the soaking liquid, until they are free of sand. Squeeze dry and set aside. Chop coarsely. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the shallots or onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, then add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to soften and to sweat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring, until the liquid boils down and glazes the mushrooms, 5 to 10 minutes. Add thyme and stir in the mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer, add salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and fragrant and the surrounding broth has reduced by a little more than half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in some freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt.

3. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until smooth and bubbling, but not browned. It should have the texture of wet sand. Whisk in the milk all at once and bring to a simmer, whisking all the while, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and has lost its raw-flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Strain while hot into the pan with the mushrooms.

4. Assemble the lasagna. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil or butter a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Spoon a thin layer of béchamel and mushrooms over the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread a ladleful of the mushroom/béchamel mixture over the noodles and top with a layer of Parmesan. Continue to repeat the layers (I get three layers in my pan), ending with a layer of the mushroom/béchamel mixture topped with Parmesan. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and if you want the edges of the noodles crispy and the top lightly browned, continue to bake uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Advance preparation: The mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 days before the lasagna is assembled and baked. The béchamel can be made a day ahead. Whisk well and reheat gently before straining into the mushrooms and assembling the lasagna. The assembled lasagna can be tightly covered and refrigerated for a day before baking. Leftovers will keep for 3 or 4 days. Reheat in a low oven or in a microwave.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Readers are Leaders (Literally)

Nicole reads to Bandit at Paws for Reading at the Montville Township Public Library

We like this Montville, New Jersey reading program.

The Montville Township Public Library's first Paws for Reading session was held Wednesday evening in the Pio Costa Auditorium, with children ages 6 and up reading to therapy dogs for 10 minutes at a time.

For an hour, children took turns reading to Jersey and Bandit, two therapy dogs brought in by their owners. Montville Township residents Chelsea Ritschel and her mom, Jackie Ritschel, brought Jersey, a black lab. Township resident Marcia Lederman brought Bandit, a Tibetan terrier.

Chelsea Ritschel, a senior at Montville Township High School, and Lederman are certified to use their dogs for therapy by St. Hubert's Animal Shelter.

Library director Allan Kleiman and children's director Amy Resnikoff said the program is designed to help kids learn to read aloud in a friendly environment, boosting children's literacy and confidence.

I want someone to read to me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beamer's Mom is


Yes, that's right, I know, I've said it before, but I am going to say it again. I LOVE BUNKYCOOKS.COM. And I love Beamer too.

Well, we are usually pretty good with recipes, but Dad kinda messed up this amazing Clementine Bundt Cake from Ms. Bunkycooks. We love clementines and we love cake. How could we go wrong?

Well, the recipe called for a 6-cup mini-Bundt cake pan. Dad saw a 9-inch one at the local TJ Maxx and thought that must be a mini one. Come on Dad! Did you think a regular size Bundt pan is like 18 inches?

So we were a bit concerned when the batter only filled the bottom third of our Bundt pan, but we stuck it in the oven anyway. Luckily we checked the cake about 15 minutes before it was due to be done and found that it was ready to come out. And, guess what? It looked pretty darn good. It was just a bit more horizontal, less vertical, than the cake pictured on It actually looked quite elegant, we thought. And it was so nice. Just like Ms. Bunkycooks said it would be. A subtly clementine-y delight. We highly recommend that you try it. We will be baking up another one real soon. We added a bit more zest and clementine juice to the cake and more juice to the icing. We love it clementine-y. Bring it on!

Grace, dressed as an Indian Maiden for Halloween, serves the Clementine Bundt.

clementine and spiced rum bundt cake

Yield: 1 6-cup bundt cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This perfectly sized 6-cup bundt cake is great for smaller families of parties. The subtle citrus and rum flavors make it perfect for fall and winter gatherings.

For cake:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, organic if possible, at room temperature
1 teaspoons finely grated clementine peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan)
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk

For glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons fresh clementine juice, maybe more until desired cocnsistency
3 teaspoons spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan), maybe more until desired consistency

For cake:
1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in the eggs, clementine peel, vanilla and rum. Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

2. Pour into a greased and floured 6-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. (* Be sure to check the cake at 40 minutes. The cake does not need to be brown to be done.) Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.

For glaze:
1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, juice and rum until smooth. (* I had to add a bit more liquid to get the desired consistency.) Drizzle over the cake.

And....guess what arrived in the mail today? A 6-cup mini-Bundt pan from Ms. Bunky. We love you Ms. Bunky and Mr. Beamer too!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pomodoro Cotto

So, I told you, we were going to be making a simple Pomodoro Cotto sauce to dress our 100% Whole Wheat Petit Pasta Nests from The Pasta Shoppe. First. let me say, don't be afraid of whole wheat pasta. When done right, it is delicious. The Pasta Shoppe does it right! With their whole wheat petit pasta nests you get perfect hearty, not heavy, pasta with none of the guilt that comes with consuming a typical flour pasta. Think of all that dietary fiber scrubbing the cholesterol from your system. No. Don't think about that. Pour yourself a glass of red wine and whip up this easy and molto gusto dish.

Pomodoro Cotto

Salt (we like Sea Salt)
6 TBLSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Box Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
(If you haven't tried Pomi tomatoes, you must. Pure tomato package in a waxed box, not a noxious can. DELICIOUS!!)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil leaves for serving.

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 3 tablespoons of salt.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in another large pot over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.

Drop the pasta nests into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Add the pasta and about 1/4 of the reserved pasta water to the tomatoes and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two of the pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and serve immediately, garnish with grated Parmigiano and basil.