Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Jewelry for Mabel Lou

I guess it's no wonder I love / make beads and jewelry. I've always referred to my dogs' collars as jewelry. "Come put your jewelry on!"

It's astounding to me that both Millie and Maggie - my two girls who were in rescue for a long time - both could not stand for me to take their jewelry off for any reason. When I took them off to wash, Maggie would hang out under the clothesline keeping watch on her valuables. I think both girls associated that collar with "home."
Mabel Lou feels a bit naked without hers too. I've been on the hunt for a new collar for her for over a year. But when one of our trail buds commented on how ratty Mabel's collar looked and I found myself with a few bucks in my paypal account, I made a serious effort to find one online - having given up on finding the right shade of mauve in PetSmart.

I found one from dirtydawgz on Etsy. It was hard to choose. I sorta wanted one with flames but decided that was my passion, not Mabel Lou's! In the end, I got a pink collar covered with brown ribbon and girly flowers. Mabel Lou is modeling it in these pics. Below, she's showing off her early Christmas pressie - a new soft fluffy bed.

I know! I know! Yes, we already have NINE dog beds in this house of one dog but I'm planning to toss the old ratty one. You will note that Mabel Lou is stretched out from the new softy bed to the old softy bed!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Evidence of Aliens?

We discovered a strange round impression in the sand during our hike on Saturday.

Cyber Monday Deals

Hey a girl's gotta make a living so... I thought I would share my Cyber Monday Deals and specials here on the old bloggie:

Holly's Folly Glass Bead News

I have a couple of coupons and specials going on NOW through midnight PST Monday night.

Beads: Save 20% off my Artfire, Etsy or HollysFolly.com with the coupon code THANKFUL

This sale is on EVERYTHING in the shops including tools, jewelry and my latest favorite - a sparkling bronze made to order set!

Subscriber / Fan Page ONLY Specials

IF you are a Fan Page Member, use coupon code THANKFULFAN for an additional 10% (30% total!) savings.... valid only for FANS! Join my Facebook Fan Page
You must be a subscriber on a mailing list / fan page to get the discount. Mention this deal for your discount! If you are reading this online and are not a subscriber, no discount will apply!

****Free shipping on my rubber stamps!****

And I'm also having a special on my FoodSafe & Art Rubber Stamps:

FREE SHIPPING now through Midnight PST 11/29 on UNMOUNTED rubber orders of $5 or more AND on Wood mounted stamps orders of $20 or more.

All Food kits ship free this weekend! Valid only with credit card or RME payments

Thanks as always for l@@king!


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Story of Me by Mabel Lou

My Mom has written about how I was adopted before but we wanted to play along in Minna Krebs "Story of Me" post.

Here's what Mom wrote about me in her post Love for Sale: $8. [Eight green papers???? OY!- M]

I got Mabel from the pound about 6 weeks after my Maggie died of cancer. I was grief stricken and Mabel was really confused. At four months old, she had been adopted out five times and returned pretty fast. But since Mags was only eight, I was hell-bent on getting a puppy...my first. They wanted to be rid of her... she was "on sale" for $8.00! (including micro chip and hysterectomy!)

It was a rough start. She was so happy to be leaving "doggie jail," she burst out the doors and immediately started trying to read my face for recognition of one of the many cars. I wanted her to potty first. As soon as she realized which was my car, she whimpered and scratched and refused to walk one step further. O.K., so maybe she doesn't need to potty.

We got on the freeway and headed to my old neighborhood. I had an elderly friend there and had promised to do a little shopping for her. I got a whif of a very unpleasant odor... she had pooped IN THE CAR!!!

 My first day in my forever home

So, Mom and I didn't get off to a good start with me pooping in the car! I just wanted out of that doggie jail place.  People would adopt me and take me somewhere nice for a day or two - sometimes a week - and bring me back to the jail!

Mom admits she only wanted me because of my age - her other pups had crossed that rainbow bridge so young. I'm proud to say I am now my Mom's youngest AND oldest dog ever!!!!

But I wanted to share something that happened to me right after my Mom got me out of that place. Los Angeles makes you take adopted dogs to a vet within three days. Even though I had seen LOTS of vets in the last two months of being adopted and returned, we had to go again the day after Momma brought me home.

Momma lets me run errands with her all the time unless it's too hot and I'm sorta of amazed she let me in the car again after I used it for a bathroom the day before but we were running errands and I was happy to be out and about with my newest Mom.

And then all of a sudden we pulled into the doggie jail parking lot! My mom was returning me!!!! I cowered in the back of the jeep. I guess she really didn't forgive me for pooping in the car! But just as quickly, we were driving away... Momma said, "Oh drat, they're closed on Mondays!"

She looked back at me and was kinda shocked to see me curled up and all fearful. Momma called me to her in her softie sweet voice and I went to her.

She said to me, "Mabel Lou, what's wrong with you??? Did you think I was taking you back to jail?? I was just taking your papers back to them since we were in the neighborhood but we'll mail them. You won't have to see this place EVER again! I promise!!!"

And we drove away fast! Now, I can't tell you that my mom never regretted that decision. I was one destructive pup! She will tell you she hated me for the first year, disliked me for the second, decided I would do by year three and fell in love in year four! 

With all those indecisive emotions is it any wonder she needed a puppy???

She may not have loved me but I loved her from the start. She was smart enough to know a pup with that much energy needed LOTS of exercise and it wasn't long before she took me to my creek where I could run and roam. And she played with me lots - always throwing my tennis ball. It took me a while to convince her I should also sleep with her and cuddle with her on the sofa, but now she sees the wisdom of keeping me close to her. Momma would get so mad at me in those first years but all I had to do was give her "the look." Our arguments went like this:


 Translation: Yes, but I'm cute!

And just like that, it was over! We've been together for 8 1/2 years! And Mom has never taken me anywhere near that doggie jail!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cornbread Dressing

I thought I would share the family recipe for cornbread dressing. My mom's is one of the best. I say "one of" because I've amended and enhanced it over the years... Mom doesn't "do" herbs. But I adore this dish because...it's a whole meal!

And like all good Southern recipes... no measurements! I like to work in stages.

Season a hen to taste and cook. Let cool. Cut all meat into bite size pieces. Share the skin and fatty bits with the pup. They aren't needed.

Make a large pan of cornbread. I prefer one without a lot of sugar. This  a savory dish. I season my cornbread with a little herbed garlic.  Bake til lightly browned. My favorite childhood breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas is always buttered cornbread. Now, I realize it was probably the only thing cooked in the house when I awoke hungry and my mother had all burners on the stove going!

Boil half a dozen eggs. Rinse in ice cold water and peel. Smash. I hate eggs... so I smash mine to smithereens but if you like them... bite size will do. Put them into a very large work bowl.

Dice several stalks of celery and a large onion fine. Blanch in some of the hen broth.

Dice green onions and set aside. Chop any herbs you favor. I favor rosemary, parsley and sage.

-------Put it all together------

Add the corn bread to the work bowl, along with the meat, green onions,  and herbs. Mix all well so the boiled eggs are throughout. Add the celery / onion / broth.

Add 1/2 a dozen raw eggs and beat well.

Add hen broth until the batter is cake consistency. It will be chunky because of the meat but it should be soupy. If you run out of broth, canned is fine.

Bake in the oven until it browns on top and all the excess moisture has cooked out.  Serve with cranberry relish.

-----Tips / Alterations -----

  • When I'm really busy,  I buy a cooked chicken at Costco or Sam's and use lots of chicken broth. 
  • To add another layer of flavor, bake a can of corn in with the cornbread - cutting back on other liquids.
  • Diced Ortega chilies are also a great addition. 
  • Add a little melted butter to the final batter for richer flavor and MORE calories!
  • You can mix up and freeze up to a month in advance! Make a batch at Thanksgiving and freeze half for Christmas.


The little Creekhiker and I are doing what we always do on Thanksgiving morn - hiking! This year, we have friends joining us for our Thanksgiving jaunt.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Defense of Bristol Palin

I hate politics... mostly for what it does to normally sane people. But I've been especially offended by all the comments and rants over Bristol Palin's continued good misfortunes on Dancing With The Stars.

I will openly admit, I'm more than a bit biased as I write this. NO, I'm not a Tea Partier and I'm not a left winger either. My bias comes from childhood - from being the only "normal" sized girl in a dance class. I was a little girl who could strike amazing lines (very important in dance), albeit, not skinny lines.

I loved being on the stage. I danced solos in front of large audiences. My dance career came to crashing halt when my mom took me out of the Dotsy Barron School of Dance after I refused to dance one more time for company in our living room. (My mother will tell you it was because I was left unattended when class was canceled but this is MY story.) It is one thing to be on a stage with bright lights in your face, completely unaware of the audience until all is said and done versus, being in your living room, very aware of the uncomfortable stares on the faces of your parents' friends!

I didn't dance again until I was in my last semester in college. Taking two projects classes that required about 60 hours a week, I found myself missing an elective to graduate. The only one that fit my crazy life was a Broadway style dance class - full of Dixie Darling's no less!  Talk about pressure - take a dance class with a dance squad! But I was busy with film projects and marketing projects and decided to view the class as a twice weekly steam release. I went; I danced; I left. It wasn't until one of the Darlings came up to me at the end of the semester and said, "Wow, you can really dance!" did I realize that I was again being judged for being a "normal" sized girl who dared to dance into a skinny girl's domain.

Just know... that's where my Bristol bias comes from. That and I love rooting for the underdog.

I should also disclose that I'm a somewhat long time fan of the show. I hate reality t.v. on many levels and in the beginning referred to DWTS as Dancing with the Vaguely Familiar. But for some reason, I got hooked on season four and never miss it now. I love the pro dancers so much - they are such talented people and having to put up with famous people is not easy. And having to put up with people who once were famous is even worse!

I expected little from Ms. Palin but when she hit her lines with such ease in show one... I thought she had a future. I felt it was confidence she lacked. I saw a normal girl in a skinny celebrity world and she won my heart.

Now, I admit, she has not progressed as fast as many others have. But Bristol has come so far. She still lacks confidence and acting ability. But she shows UP. She doesn't phone it in. She doesn't look into the camera and beg for votes. She doesn't appear to be a Diva. She's real. And I like REAL.

The girl has spunk. When she learned she got the job on DWTS, she put her baby in the truck and drove to L.A. from Alaska. I once considered driving my Jeep to Louisiana with a rottweiler and chickened - out.

And speaking of Bristol's son, Tripp: She has spoken of how hard it is to be working seven days a week and having to send him home to Alaska with relatives. As have the other parents on the show. Without fail, every season, the celebs who have kids always talk of the impact of the show on their families... except for one. Brandy.

And again, I'm biased here. I have friends who have worked with Brandy. D.I.V.A. Nothing I care to repeat here but I will share a story told to my by the former principal of Hollywood High. That school has so many celebrity alumni that come back and visit. Once Brandy had returned and came into the principal's office, which was covered with autographed photos from floor to ceiling. Brandy asked where her picture was. The principal pointed it out - up near the ceiling. Brandy asked why it wasn't at eye level where it could be seen. My friend told her, when you graduate from high school, I'll move it! (I think this says a lot about BOTH women!)

For all the outrage blasted over the "news" media this week, when I've met someone and hear them complain, I always ask, "Did you vote?" Surprisingly, the answer is NO! I can understand complaints about her dancing but the worst is the issues that Bristol has NO control over.
  • They show her mom on every episode - as they do every celebrity's  family. Just because viewers don't realize that's Kurt Warner's wife or Jennifer Grey's husband and they do recognize Sarah Palin doesn't mean the producer's are treating Bristol differently. When Momma grizzly didn't come, they showed Bristol's aunt. After every dance, the first audience shot is almost always someone connected to the celeb.
  • The Tea Party is stacking the vote - but if you listen to the producers of the show, Bristol and partner Mark Ballas only needed 1.5% more votes than Brandy to stay in the competition. I hardly call 1.5% a stacked vote.That's less than a margin of error in most elections!
  • The ABC website allows you to vote with multiple, unconfirmed email addresses - This may be true but again, the producers have publicly stated IP addresses are being checked...there's no way to fake that!
  • People are calling from multiple phone numbers - True... but it is allowed for an allotted number of votes. Back when Apolo Anton Ohno won and I had four phone lines for the house and the shop plus a cell phone, I would race around calling from all of them.
I just wish people would give her a break. Life is hard enough for Joe Schmo. I can't imagine how hard life would be as the unwed teen mom /daughter of Sarah Palin. Which brings up the one reason I'm thrilled Bristol has made it this far... MONEY! Base salary for the celebs starts around 125K with bonuses for each week they stay on ranging from 10K per week to 50K for the final show. The winner will make around 350K for the whole run with the two runners up making 50 - 100K less. How much life could 250K buy YOU??? I love that this girl can get an education or save for her young son's future or just stay home and be a mom if she chooses. I wish every single mother in this country were so lucky!

I promise, unless some miracle happens, Bristol won't be the best dancer Monday night. But she will have the most heart.  Just like in previous seasons, the voters will decide the final winner. And just like my mother taught me about my duty to show up and vote in a real election, "If you don't vote, you give up your right to complain."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

I feel like my blog has gone to the dogs.  Yes, it's true my dog is a HUGE part of my life. We are together 24/7 most days. And there are often times it feels like she is the only good and true thing in my life.  It's only natural to write about that...it is what I know.

But there are times, I just want to write about something else.  And I feel like I can't. Or I shouldn't.

It's all GABE's Fault - (mostly?)

Back in April, I participated in the Global Animal Blogging Event - GABE. Until then, I had been blogging along on what ever topic suited my fancy. I had some regular readers over the years but their comments had tapered off.. Suddenly after GABE, I had a whole bunch of new followers and folks leaving comments - which I loved. But the majority of them are dog bloggers...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Just a Comment Junkie

Yes, I will confess, I am a comment junkie. I love feedback. Which surprises me... ALOT!  I heard on the news the other day that the average human requires seven hours of human contact a day. I find this astounding! Seven whole HOURS!  I need like seven minutes and there are days when that's too much! I seriously think the only reason I tolerate my friends is that all of them have IQs in high 140s.

I am happiest when I'm working in the shop, prepping orders, listening to my ipod and talking to Mabel.  I can spend days / weeks on end like this with only an occasional customer to talk to and phone calls from my closest friends.

But let a blog go without a comment and I'm devastated.

Feeding the Beast
I'm torn over what I should do about it. Do I start yet another blog? I'm already overwhelmed with my bead blog (published M-Th), my duties overseeing the Fire Divas Blog and coming up with new ideas for it; I have a writing blog, where I store my favorite published pieces. I use that mostly for easy links when job-hunting.

I have two other blogs simply for SEO experimentation. I started them when i realized I was THISCLOSE to getting my first ever google paycheck.

While I'm never going to get rich off of this, every little bit helps! And I have still another bead blog I'm hoping to develop!

Needless to say, finding time to launch another blog to do what this one used to do feels pointless.

Do I keep plodding along here and risk "chasing away" the dog folks? Do I find a way to start another new venture?

No answers; just questions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Auntie Hero

Today, I was driving to the creek when the BFF phoned...she wouldn't be joining us. Even though I was almost there, I turned around and drove to her house. I honked and the boy dashed out, raced around to my side of the car so I could open the door and let him in. The BFF told me she knew we were coming because Bart got all excited before I ever honked. He knows the sound of the Jeep now!

I loved the excitement on his face. I love that I'm someone's hero.

I feel like Mabel Lou's hero too these days. I switched her to K-9 Liquid Health after some remarkable recommendations from friends. It's been a month and she stopped groaning getting out of the car. Of course, she started again when I bragged about that. But Mabel is a complainer! But she doesn't complain as much!
Another bonus is...well, I haven't seen her really let loose and run and romp and be her usual bossy self with other dogs at the creek since late last year. But I have seen that recently! Today, she and Bart and Chloe the doberman all had a great run. They chased each other; the girls ganged up on Bart and he ran faster; They all worked together to uproot a small bush which they tore apart and chased the sticks! It was fantastic to see!

Even though she was on the pills before - and STILL comes to the kitchen wondering where her treat is since I made the switch - I have noticed a great difference.

And in a shopping note... you know I love to save a buck. I can't recommend Amazon enough. I went to the Liquid Health website determined to find a store nearby so I wouldn't have to pay for shipping. I placed in a 30 mile search cause I drive a lot to pick up supplies for the shop. The closest store was here in my town... the locals call it "Pet B17ch" because the ladies who work there are never in a pleasant mood.

I checked the price there...it's 36.95 for the same jug I pay 19.85 for on Amazon. And if you spend 25 or more - FREE shipping!  For $3 bucks more, I get twice as much! Whooo Hooo! Good stuff!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Picking Up Bart

Bart was ALWAYS so HAPPY to see me. He usually drags me to the car with his leash but I was a bit uncoordinated with my phone video camera.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not All Fun & Games

I didn't mean to imply that my time spent "Bart-sitting" was all fun and games. Bart is a "roamer" and was allowed free reign in our southern mountains by his previous owner. And he still yearns to roam free - mostly to visit his girlfriend.

We've quickly figured out that all the neighborhood talk that landed Bart in doggie jail was just...talk. We've found that "leash-walkers" (that is my favorite curse word for uptight dog owners) would yell at him and mistreat him. So would kids on bikes - he will go berserk at the sight of a parked bicycle!  But the laid back dog owners - the ones who don't pee their pants at the sight of an unleashed dog - often fell in love with him and would invite him to go on walks with them.

While the BFF doesn't like to let him do this, sometimes, he just takes off! And he comes home on his own. If the gate isn't open or if his mom is out looking for him, he has a secret hiding place in their front yard where he waits.

It's no surprise he would test me on this while his pawrents were away! He took off up the mountain several times.  Once he went down a dead end road. I gave chase, Mabel patiently waiting in the car. Bart ran faster. Knowing this was a losing race, I jumped into a wide stance, lowered my chest, smiled and raise my head and wagged MY tail.

"YOU CAN'T CATCH ME!" I yelled at Bart.

I was wrong. He could and he did...as I ran in the front door of his house!

Other times, he got up the mountain so quickly, I had to chase him by car. Each time he had found a friendly fellow hiker / pup to take up with. Each time, he danced as my Jeep approached as if to say, "HI AUNTIE! What are you doing here?"  Each time, he gleefully jumped into the car and allowed me to drive him home.

But that would turn out to be a minor issue. I think any dog-sitter's greatest fear is having something bad happen to your charge. I once took care a  neighbor's fish - gold fish. We were good friends. The fish died. We weren't friends anymore. I think it scarred me!

Bart loves to jump out of car windows! But until one of my last days keeping him, he had always jumped out of PARKED cars! As we neared our parking spot at the creek one day, Bart was so excited, he leaped from the window. I was traveling pretty fast and in the midst of a U-turn to park and this flung his body at strange angle. I slammed on the breaks and screamed. I could see his eyes WIDE with fear and looking up at me as he slammed into the concrete! He landed on his forearms and chin.  I raced to him as he stood and started shaking it off. He moved his chin from side to side like I've seen boxers do after a hard punch. 

Sobbing, I got him into the car. I called the BFF in tears. And as we talked, it became clear that other than a skinned chin, Bart was fine and oh so anxious to hike!  Me? I still have nightmares!

And... I now roll the windows up before I get to the creek!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Loving That Barty Boy

I mentioned yesterday that I had Bart duties while the BFF was out of town on business.It was really fun getting to know him a bit away from his mom. 

The Nicknames 
I've heard it said that any dog worth their salt has a minimum of 14 names. The bestie and I have always called him "Barticus" because he hikes on ridges high above us and often way ahead.  But, I added a few more to Bart.

  • Mr. Bartlesby - for his regal and protective nature
  • Two dog - because I'm forever counting heads when hiking off leash. He always shows up 2nd. 
  • Pees Like a Girl - Rather obvious
Navigating Danger
Bart is not trusted in all areas of the creek because... he's been kinda slow to learn that those jumping choyas are his horrible nemesis. Since officially becoming part of the pack, the BFF has had to take him to the vet several times to have them removed! So, there are certain areas he remains on leash and certain trails we just don't take.

But the last Monday night we hiked, I spied Hank and Sue, our Rhodesian buddies on the levee. We all ran to meet and greet. But they were headed home and we were just arriving. We said our goodbyes and Mabel, Bart and I continued down the levee. About 2/3 to the end, a huge van pulls up and, judging by their dress, I felt they were gang members. More than 20 of them got out of the van and they had three big pit bulls.

I navigated the dogs back to the water. As they frolicked, I hung back to see what the gangsters were doing. They appeared to be congregating near the road. So I joined the pups at the shore, thinking all was well.  Suddenly, there was a snarling pit above my head on the levee. So much for the short hike I needed.

I went further downstream even though it was getting dark and coyotes were lighting up. I had hoped to find my pool man and his Aussie, 'tilla. But I ran into the young lady that hikes there with her lab. She had seen the gangsters and the pits and was debating what to do.

We decided there was no more time to go downstream to a friendly trail. It was too dark and the coyotes were loud and all around us. We climbed the rock face of the lower levee - only Mabel had trouble with that. Then we headed for cactus flats. I was so afraid I would end up with Bart at the vet. But I leashed him up and went slow. He listened to my every command and we made it out just fine.

FYI - the creek was abuzz the next night with various encounters with those pits and the gangsters! Scary!
Auntie, What's Wrong with Your HAIR?
I've written at length about my crazy-do-as-they-darn-well-please curls in my hair. One day, it was hot and my hair, which has a climate of its very own, was down...making my mood very bad. There are days, like today, where the wind is so cold, I will actually tie my hair under my chin and wear it like a scarf! But not when it's hot!

That day, as soon as the dogs paused to chase the ducks in Dirty Creek, I put my hair up in a bun. Knowing how well my hair will say in a given position, I determined I would have to tie it up three more times while hiking if I had nothing to hold it in place.  I looked around and found three slim, smooth twigs and placed them in my bun chopstick style and went on to enjoy and nice but warm hike.

Driving Bart home, he started rooting around in my hair! He gingerly pulled the twigs out of my hair and spat them out on the passenger seat! Apparently Bart doesn't like my choice of hair accessories!

I really loved 'Bart-sitting!' He was such a joy and it was great to bond with him. Today, they arrived at the creek first and he raced to my car to greet us. What a sweet boy he is!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sorry to Disappear - But the Shoes Were Calling My Name

I kept forgetting my camera after day 2 of my sister's visit. But we did more shopping than I've done in a year! I was dead dog tired!

And my sister wasn't solely to blame. I discovered J-41 shoes. Shoes designed by Jeep... are car sales so bad that they want to get in on the ground floor of the original mode of transportation??? I'm only kidding. I love my Jeep and I love my J-41s. They are so comfortable: Soles made from recycled tires; great arch support!

Only every store we went to had them in the wrong size. I finally found this red pair but was longing for their trail rated - water proof model.

 I finally found the water proof one on the left in gray and lavender... ahhh!

Dancing with the Stars was a hoot. No celebs in the audience if you don't count Rick Fox's trashy girlfriend Eliza Dushku. We had VIP seating, which I didn't realize. So we stood in line for two hours in 100 degree temps (I wore shorts under my fancy dress to sit on the concrete!) all to get to our assigned seats! LOL!  Rod Stewart was kind of disappointing. The screen behind us turned into gigantic teleprompter so he could read the lyrics. Snooze.

But, my sister got to be a hero when she held our place as I went back to the car for bottle water. A guy in a wheelchair jumped a curb and wrecked. An even though we were not supposed to enter the studio lot, my sister did! She ran and got security to call 911. The man in the wheelchair was so grateful.

The whole time my sister was here, my bestie was gone to Mesquite, NV for the World Long Drive championships. Her hubby made the quarter finals. I was on dog sitting duty in the mornings with my
godson on night duty with Bart. That was fun to get to know the boy away from the BFF. I have quite a few Bart tales I will share as I get back into the blogging saddle.