The BARF diet Wednesday, Jul 30 2008 

Yes, Auntie M knows this does not sound at all appetizing, but it stands for Bones and Raw Food, which is what we feed Radar and Murray at our house.  Contrary to popular opinion, dogs CAN eat bones and do all the time in the wild, they just can’t be cooked bones, which can cause splintering.  But a good chew on a real raw meaty bone (known as RMB’s in the lingo) keeps their teeth clean, their breath non-doggy (really!) and their weight down.https://i0.wp.com/www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/bluepeter/content/images/2005/12/01/i_italianspinone_mt_203x152.jpg

For meals they eat one of several things; raw chicken necks, raw chicken wings or raw chopped meat of whichever is one sale at our friendly meat farm.  Into this I mix some crushed alfalfa, ground egg shells to up their calcium intake, a dash of cod liver oil, and a tsp of cider vinegar.  We also save our fresh clippings from veg and fruits and blender them to smash the cellulose and mix this all together–yummy patties you can make ahead of time and freeze.  These add-ins supply all of the nutrients a doggie could want to wag its tail.  The cider vinegar has the added advantage, besides a whole host of Good Things, of keeping a white dog’s skin around their eyes white!

Both of my dogs, ages 12 and 1, have NO Dog Breath, great white teeth, and best of all, NO doggy gas, which is amongst one of the world’s worst pollutants.  Their dog biscuits are made of grains and things like greens and cranberries, all natural, that we get in Sam’s (Yeah, I know, but you can’t live where I live in the rural country and not depend on a monthly Sam’s visit to get you through).  They also have decreased shedding!

Amounts are by weight and there are several websites that explain this diet if you’re interested.  It’s the brainchild of  Australian vet Dr. Ian Billinghurst, and can be adapted to cats as well.  The theory is that dogs are from wolves and this is the diet they would eat in the wild and is best adapted to their digestive systems. And did I mention their poops turn white and go right into the ground after a day?

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Ask me questions and I’ll happily answer~

Summer Wedding Tuesday, Jul 29 2008 

This weekend Auntie M went to a lovely summer wedding with two female friends.  Down south it’s common for the bride and groom to issue an ‘open’ invitation in the local paper, where anybody and everybody is invited to attend.  I know the bride’s parents slightly and my two friends know all of the wedding party, so I was convinced to attend with them.

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It was an interesting experience being at the wedding of two people I really don’t know.  There was no pressure on me to have the perfect outfit, so as it was outdoors, I wore a comfortable long skirt and blouse, a pair of flats and my straw hat which is my souvenir from the Covered Market in Oxford.  I like it because the brim fits me well and it has no real trim–I add ribbons or a clutch of flowers to match whatever I wear it with–this time I tied on a pretty flowered scarf that matched my outfit.

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Under the expansive tent, sitting in the shade, waiting for the bride, I fanned myself with the programs which had conveniently been glued to stick holders for just this purpose.  The pianist needed more practice, but once the bride arrived, who really cared?  She was lovely, in a strapless dress with a beaded bodice and full chiffon skirt, a simple short veil at the back of her head.  Her tall groom was equally good-looking, a southern Pierce Brosnan type (now you know why I wanted to go), all long legs and nice smile and eyes.

The reception at a southern wedding is different from back home, too, in that once the newly married couple are introduced, the toast is given and the cake is cut.  This is to allow it to be served to the oldest people who eat and immediately leave, before the dancing starts in earnest, my friends explained.

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We stood on the long buffet line and I chatted with several people I know.  It was relaxing to have no responsibility for refilling the food trays or making sure everyone was having a good time.  Once we’d eaten and had our cake, along with the ‘old’ people, the three of us hightailed it out of there.  An interesting afternoon, a delightful day, free food and no pressure.  Just what I needed.

Until the next day and today, when I’ve been running to the john…hmmmm…then my two friends called to see if I was vomiting.  Not me, but they both were.  By the afternoon we’d heard of almost twenty other people who were at that wedding with us and all have food poisoning, some severe.  Two have had to get IV fluids.  It’s been traced to the crab dip, which I’d only nibbled at–thank goodness.

So much for the relaxed freebie afternoon  I wondered if the honeymooning newlyweds were affected~not quite the memory they’d hoped for, I suspect.

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What wedding disasters have you been a party to??

Great Beginnings Thursday, Jul 24 2008 

Auntie M is working on the content for a writers workshop she’ll run in Cambridge (oh, that it would be the UK one!), Mass with two other writers.  We’ll focus on Great Beginnings of manuscripts.  Attendees will send in the first page of their works, everyone attending will get them emailed to read and critique before the event, and then we’ll meet for a long weekend session.  After intro’s and ice breakers, we’ll have a session on what hooks readers and keeps them reading.  The all-day Saturday session will focus on their work and how to strengthen it–that evening the A’s will read more to us, either from that piece or another.  We’ll probably chip in for that, too.  We’ll also hit cliches` and how to avoid them during the workshop.  And play some games. And maybe drink a tiny bit o’wine in the evenings.

I enjoy these workshops because they let me have contact with writers whom would never otherwise cross my path.  I like the interaction, the discussions, and especially the huge range of writings out there.  It reminds me how many talented people there are in this world, if they would only give themselves permission to let it out.

For anyone in the Cambridge-Somerville area, the weekend is October 17-19.  Let me know if you wish details.  Two lunches included.  But for the rest of you, don’t let the thought of a blank page keep you from creating, if you wish to.  It all happens one word, or one keystroke, at a time.

Birthday Saga continued Thursday, Jul 24 2008 

As the 75th bday for Mom draws nearer, Doc asked me today about what I was doing for a cake.  MY plan was to order one, a double decker, with pale blue icing, Mom’s favorite color, and white lacey tracing on it.  I described the top, composed of things that reflect Mom: a tiny willow chair that usually sits on the ledge over my kitchen sink, and on that chair an open mini-book and a pair of mini-glasses.  Next to it will be a small black dog with a tag reading Pixie.  That is was my plan.

Doc: “No, I don’t mean the top, I mean the cake itself.”

Me: “From A Slice of Heaven, of course. (where Auntie M holds the Writers Read program.)  I know Rebecca will do a good job for us.”

Doc: “That sounds awfully expensive.”

Me: (Knowing where this is heading. . .) :I already checked with Chef Duff and Charm City Cakes start at $500, so this will be a breeze and a helluva lot closer.”  (Big grimace–wait for it, here it comes.)

Doc: Why don’t we just make it ourselves?

I refrain from stating the obvious: a really nicely decorated cake for 50 people, are you nuts?  And say instead:

“Now that’s an idea.”  You ARE nuts!

Tonight I have printed out the recipe for mom’s favorite cake, an Italian cassata cake, which has a sweet creamy filling with chocolate chips, just like the inside of a  cannoli.  Have I ever made this before?  That would be a no.  Has Doc, king of cheesecakes only?  Ditto NO.

As for the blue and white tracery, we now own every conceivable frosting device known to man and then some, including a bag of gum paste for making our own flowers.  See, I told you I knew where this was going.  I know Doc.  Oh, and did I mention he thinks we need to go for 3 tiers, and each one should be half vanilla and half chocolate–

See, the problem here is that Doc loves to learn new things and to tackle them.  I do, sometimes, too, but not when I’m in the middle of revising my own 275 pg novel, editing a 435 pg novel, proofing another of 175 and working up the program for an October writers workshop I’m moderating.  But hey, let’s not let those things get in the way. . .

On the bright side, mom’s cousin sent me some snaps of them together as children, toddlers and teens to copy and return.  Pat was mom’s maid of honor at her wedding.  I plan to mount these on a board that I’m decorating with cut out roses from mags and catalogues I’m been saving (her favorite flower) and scatter photo’s of mom, if I can find a few where she hasn’t closed her eyes.  These will be a great addition to the board and I made the copies today.

One really got to me.  Mom is about 9 and seated in a toy boat on a ride at Coney Island.  What got to me is that she looks like me at that age!  I mean, I guess I never realized how much I looked like her at that age.  She looks sweet with her hair newly permed and if I were a better blogger I could figure out how to get it onto this blog to share (don’t hold your breath).  In any case, today when we were in the Emerald City, otherwise known as Greenville, I had a copy of that one blown up nicely to put right by the cake.  The one we’re now making, for better or worse. . .  DO keep your fingers crossed on that one for Auntie M~

Birthday Tree Friday, Jul 18 2008 

Auntie M’s mother, the only parent Doc and I have left between us, turns 75 in a few weeks.  She married at 17 and I was born 12 mos later, so she is a very young mom for a 56 yr-old to have.  After deciding she didn’t want a big party, she decided what she REALLY wanted was a new big screen TV, which Doc and I got her at the beginning of the summer and she’s been enjoying.

On the Big Day we will have a nice dinner with her in a new local restaurant with Paramedic Son and his wife, then head to her church parish house for coffee and cake with her friends and neighbors.  I’ve insisted on this last bit, some sort of festivity to honor 75 years, and her cottage is too small to accommodate more than a few people at a time.  Plus, most of her friends revolve around her church, and, it’s free.

I wanted to do something special for her and a few weeks ago came up with the idea of a Birthday tree:

I sent out flyers to everyone back in the northeast who knows her, to family we no longer see routinely, so old friends.  I included a mailing label to me and a stamp, and asked everyone to mail ME a birthday card for HER.  My plan is to punch holes in the cards and string ribbons on them, then hang them on a funky lime green metal Christmas tree we usually put on our porch.  I’ll use it to decorate the cake table and she can have fun reading the cards later.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response!  The actual birthday date is August 13th, but as of today I’ve already received 31 cards for the tree.  Most senders have written a short note inside with good wishes and news.  A few sent photo’s of their grandchildren or added longer typed notes of what is going on in their lives.

This was such an easy thing to do and I know Mom will enjoy it long after the cake has been eaten.  Just thought I’d pass that along to anyone searching for ideas for a special birthday~

Funny Friday Friday, Jul 18 2008 

Earlier in the week I promised you a heads up to new Friday night summer shows worth watching, and tonight’s the night: On USA channel at 9 Pm we have the return of Monk, the ocd detective Tony Shaloub has perfected to a T, or should i say, M?

More brain candy follows at 10pm on the east coast with Psych, the oreo detecting team who manage to get there without a clue to how they did it.  Cybil Shepherd guests tonight.  Little redeeming social value, tons of giggles on a Friday night.

If we eat dinner out, we’ll watch them on DVR without commercials and still have time for reading in bed…

Love my summer Friday nights!

Last evening we sat on our dock and the dogs and I watched Doc as he threw his casting net several times to great effect, collecting enough tiny silver slithering fishies to feed the crabs that are in his three traps.  What is the fate of these collected crustaceans?   Doc is yet to decide if we are to eat them, release them to further pepper the breeding grounds, or use them for bait for bigger fish. . .

While he was fussing with the traps and the wiggling fish, I was watching the sun start to dip, bringing a pink glow to the edge of the few flossy clouds in the pale Carolina blue sky.  In the distance we heard a dog bark, not ours, who were busily sniffing the traps and hoping a stray leg would fall off.  Otherwise, the only sound was the occasional splash of a jumping mullet in the river or a passing martin overhead.

Doc sat down beside me and for a few minutes, as the dogs settled at our feet, we sat there just enjoying our immense good fortune in living in such a beautiful place.  Lately we have been talking about taking a Trip, to England/France, maybe, possibly, down the road, but living here is like being on a kind of vacation every day~one we don’t take for granted.

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We are indeed blessed.  Besides your kids and family, all givens, what are your daily blessings?

Monday, Monday Tuesday, Jul 15 2008 

In the summertime when my usual forensic shows are off the air, Monday and Fridays are the nights I watch television.  (Masterpiece is for all-year-round fun).

Last night two of the best shows on television premiered: The Closer, with Kyra Sedgewick, and Saving Grace, with Holly Hunter.  These two beat just about anything being written for TV, the dark and light of the best, on several counts: great writing, strong female protagonists, interesting storylines and secondary characters, a touch of humor that relieves the seriousness of the fact both women are involved in crime.

In The Closer, the lighter of the two, Atlanta native Brenda Leigh Johnson finds her skills put to the test as a Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief solving Serious Crimes.  With her fondness for candy and her loathing of LAPD politics, Brenda’s investigating and interrogating skills usually win the day with a fair amount of humor.  The steadiness to her ditzy factor is her fiance’, FBI agent Fritz Howard, played by the luscious Jon Tenney, who we could stand to see more of in the https://i1.wp.com/images.usatoday.com/life/_photos/2006/06/19/closer.jpgshower.

Moving to the darker side gives us Grace Hanadarko, an Oklahoma City detective whose has lost a sister

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in that tragedy.  The question of faith is served up deliciously in the persona of the angel Earl who visits her.  Hunter’s Grace is a hard drinkin’, heavy smokin’, sexually promiscuous kinda gal.  And in this season we learn the reasons why.  She is also tender hearted, loving and generous, and more than one is attracted to the rambunctious Grace.  Her team and her family are well-drawn, interesting characters, who allow Hunter to spread her own wings and imbue this character with gusto.

So the next time you think there’s nothing good to watch this summer on TV, just wait for Monday nights on TNT, 9-11.

For Fun Friday, watch this spot!

Foyle’s War Monday, Jul 14 2008 

For all of you Masterpiece fans, Auntie M highly recommends the last three installments of Foyle’s War, starting this week on your local PBS station.  Michael Kitchens plays the Chief Inspector of an English village as the end of WW2 nears.  This actor does wonders with silence and facial expressions.  The supporting cast is quite good, but as the war ends, so is this delightful series, so watch them while you can.

The previous seasons are available on DVD through several catalogues, so if you get hooked, you can go back and see what you’ve missed!

Incidentally, the new host for Masterpiece is Alan Cummings, who gives a delicious lead-in to whatever series is playing these days, half-smarmy, half-wise, all good fun.

Tony Snow Sunday, Jul 13 2008 

All weekend I’ve been listening to well-deserved tributes to Tony Snow, the Washington writer and newsman whose essays I’ve always admired and whose on-camera presence always lit the screen with his huge, genuine smile.

Dying of cancer at age 53 after a three year battle, Snow openly put his love for his family and his faith above all professional regards.  He had the good sense to know what his priorities were, and the good grace to share those priorities with us all.

He showed everyone undergoing cancer treatment that they should not hide their outside appearance, as he showed us all he was still the same person underneath the white face, lack of eyebrows and thinning white hair.  He showed up and did his job and did it well.  When his cancer returned and spread to his liver, he left his brief tenure at the White House as Press Secretary to earn more money for his family’s future.  His departure that day was met with a standing ovation from the entire White House staff, waiting for him outside on the street as he made his way to his car.

His wife and three children will permanently have a big hole in their hearts, left by this great man and the admiration he inspired.

Godspeed, Tony Snow.

Dream On Sunday, Jul 13 2008 

Auntie M is recovering today from a horrid stomach virus that is making the rounds.  This is what happens when one tries to be a do-gooder, as Auntie M found out after visiting The Son Who Should Know Better and his wife, and in the process, helped her change their sheets and neaten up the house.  And then remembered they’d both had the virus a few days before…

Anyway, bounding out of bed today, feeing much better, I ate lunch and worked for a few hours until drowsiness overcame me, sitting at my laptop.  I hit a spot in my revisions between chapters where I need to insert an entire new bit, something I need to mull over, the perfect stopping place to hit the sofa with a thin blanket and think hard about it.  I was asleep in minutes in one of those dreams you can’t wake up from~

In the dream, I’ve walked into town to impress Doc with how fit I’m going to get.  This is the start of the joke because ‘town’ as we know it, is 23 miles away!  Once I get there, the paltry rain we had last night has flooded the town so that the stores are under water up to their roofs!  On the way home, I’m suddenly on a bicycle (isn’t it neat how those things just happen in dreams?). I stop peddling when I hit a huge town I don’t recognize that looks vaguely like Cincinnati, a place I’ve never visited.

I ask for directions to my route and people stare at me.  Am I even in the same state?  I ask a youth for Route 264 and he tells me what’s playing at the movie theatre.  I narrowly avoid getting on a train and finally enter a cute shop and ask the proprietor, a man with white hair and eyebrows, where I am.  He, in turn, asks me if I’m going to buy something from him.

I burst into tears.  “You mean you won’t tell me where I am unless I buy something?”  I’m overwhelmed by his crassness when I turn around–and there’s Doc, come to rescue me.

“Thank goodness, I was getting desperate.  How did you know where to find me?”

Doc, meanwhile, is investigating some garishly beaded trays.  “We could use these to eat in front of the TV,” he tells me, before turning to me and adding: “I always know where you are.”

Fortunately, I woke up before I could hit him.

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dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp a perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

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