Archive for November, 2007

Nala discovers …

Friday, November 30th, 2007

…the compost. By jumping onto the counter top.
A photo I should have taken. All four paws standing on the counter munching on the compost.

Her first week here she was scared. Her second she was agreeable and sweet. The third week – showing her true colors.

I love how a dog’s mind works. So I’m mostly enjoying trying to stay one step ahead of her. But she is a true challenge!

Our adoption becomes official the next few days, i have my work cut out for me, but she is a wonderful dog even if she is INTENSE. I will set up her crate this weekend as she does ned some time out once in a while. But I love dog training and all of the intrigue and puzzles it presents. Intrigue with her — what has she learned, what has she experienced, how can her bad habits be thwarted and turned to good?

But now that she is more comfortable her basic LOVE of everyone is really emerging. Nice to be part of that.

She is a truly great dog. I mean puppy. Because she is such a puppy still.

What is amazing to me is that it was just 10 years ago that I suddenly knew I had to have a dog to make life complete. And now she is my third dog. I hope Nala and I will have a long happy life together. Ambo lived 3 1/2 years and Zomba 9 1/2. Just too short a time.

Events this weekend

Friday, November 30th, 2007

The Steiner School Bazaar is this weekend, at the lower school on Newport. There will be many vendors selling interesting things as well as bodywork available 9procede go to the school), and rooms full of Steiner inspired art and books and toys. Food and entertainment – it is a fun well organized event. I’ll be volunteering my services 1-3 in the massage room.

Sacred Song is Saturday night, starting at 7:30. I’ve missed the last few years but it is a great community event with talented musicians.

More later….

Puppy settling in

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Nala is adjusting to her new home. Yesterday we had a wonderful walk in the woods, and we happened to run into my friends who have two ridgebacks. Everyone got along really well, which we weren’t sure would be the case as their oldest girl is often antagonistic to new dogs. But she was fine, we think because she got it that Nala was my girl.

She looks out the window a lot.

But she is also making herself at home.


She is playing with the dog toys a lot, and I’m thrilled to have a dog who will play tug with me. I’m careful about all the issues of alpha and all – but it is a game I’ve always loved with dogs and my other two wouldn’t play. But she also loves to bring stuff out to chew. She is still a puppy.

And she gets tired.


There is a light covering of snow this morning, and she spent a lot of time outside smelling and licking. Snow must be full of smells, my dogs have always loved to put their noses deeply into it.

Peanut Sweet Potato Soup

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

I’ve been remiss in posting soup recipes. Here is tonights.

Saute 2-4 clove garlics, 2 chopped onions, 1 chopped sweet pepper, 1-2 chile peppers, 2-3 chopped carrots in olive oil.

Meanwhile, scrape the skin off 1 large sweet potato (a spoon does a fabulous job — just use the side of the spoon to quickly remove the peel) chop into chunks. After the veggies have cooked inthe oil for 10-15 minutes add the sweet potato and water to cover. Let that cook for 15-20 minutes. Puree – a stick blender is the perfect tool, otherwise you have to put the hot soup into a blender or food processor).

Add either peanut butter or shelled raw peanuts to the soup — 1/2 to 1 cup depending on taste. Cook another 20 minutes or so. Add salt, fresh cilantro or parsley optional.

I made a quadruple batch and served it with corn bread. Fabulous.

If I wasn’t making it for such a large diverse group I would have taken the chance and made it spicier with more chiles.

word of the year

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

The Oxford University Press has announced that Locavore is the word of the year. This is huge! We’ve moved form fringe idea to mainstream concept. Language is the beginning of change. What does the word actually mean?

“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”

“Locavore” was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Other regional movements have emerged since then, though some groups refer to themselves as “localvores” rather than “locavores.” However it’s spelled, it’s a word to watch.

I’m sorry that “Colony Collapse Disorder” also made the list, as the “popularity” of this tragedy has become well known.
when it impacts food costs and availability we’ll know it even better. On a more positive we also have:

upcycling: the transformation of waste materials into something more useful or valuable

Language is powerful. It is a clear sign of change and gives us the words to better communicate concepts. Locavore is a concept that is of critical importance, and one that we will also need to continue to fight for. Raw milk is on the forefront of that fight, as well as the USDA’s general lack of support and insight into small farming. I continue to enjoy the intelligent discussions on this issue at

the actual origin of thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

We’re fed such bull in school – history becomes mythology, reality is altered to serve the purpose of raising good citizens. There is a fair amount of revisionist history, as well as presenting the US as always powerful and good. Always. We benefit far more by learning from our mistakes, considering hidden agendas and motivations, and learning to be watchful for corporate manipulations especially, but also people who strive to impose their religious beliefs on others.

Thanksgiving has a long tradition of being used for that revisionist “everything is nice” brainwashing of small children. It is a nice story of thanks and cooperation with “the natives” — all is well, no harm done. I just read Lincoln’s declaration that created the first Thanksgiving formally recognized by the US with the fourth Thursday being the designated day. It doesn’t mention Pilgrims, Indians, or Plymouth. And of course a harvest festival in late November isn’t a really “in tune” idea – the pagans and wiccans do it on the cross quarter day of August 1 when the harvest is actually bountiful.

Lincoln’s purpose was very much in a different direction

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens…

…and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.


The emphasis aparently being a celebration of peace, reconciliation, and unity after a divisive experience. The whole quote can be found with this link.

So there is the specific religious call for essentially a day of prayer to what can only be described as a Christian God. And not a single reference to this earlier gathering of Pilgrims and Native Americans. Who did have various gatherings, in different locations, at other earlier dates in the season. It is nice to imagine some of the more pleasant cooperative experiences – but only in the very real context of massacre and genocide that was also a reality of those early days of the beginning of the US.

But Thanksgiving celebrated in Novemebr as a national holiday? Very different origins indeed. And the importance of peace, unity, and harmony somehow got lost in the myths of story telling. Why? We could learn so much more from the true history and origins.

buy nothing day

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, receives heavy news coverage celebrating the people who line up for hours to spend money at malls and big box stores. I’ve always watched with fascination and revulsion. Why would someone do that? I just don’t get it.

I do understand the counter experience of “Buy Nothing Day” and find it a simple matter to honor that special day. But where are the newscasts and the media coverage of our counterculture way of celebrating post thanksgiving bliss?

Oh right, we don’t pay the media’s bills.

In any case, I hope you’ll consider sleeping in, putzing around, and spending no money this Friday. Here is the art from the above linked article:



Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Here she is….




Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Somehow I had the amazing fortune to have a 2 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback need a new home just as I needed a new dog. She lost her people, I lost my dog, and we were connected through my ridgeback mentor.

The adjustment that might have been hard for both of us has been as wonderful as it could be. She is intelligent, well trained, fun, playful, energetic, curious, beautiful, and a quick learner. She was given up because of her issues as well as the family not having enough time. I don’t understand. She is a willful manipulative ridgeback, what other kind is there? She has thrived on the round the clock attention I can give her – as well as lots and lots of exercise thanks to the help of friends.

Saturday we just did a medium walk, Sunday she played hard and rough with the puppy I’ve been helping to walk, Fin. They ran and chased for 1/2 hour as if they were old best friends. Fin knew the Ridgeback play style (chase, dart in and out, leap over, twis and turn, shoulder slam, grab by the throat, lots of vocalization, etc. Then they came inside for 1/2 hour of plain old wrestling. It was so fun to watch them. One would get tired and try to quit, and the other would start it all over again. They were a very even match of intent, strength, endurance, and style. Love to see those tongues hanging out!

Yesterday my neighbor took her for a long (5 1/2 mile) run. She came back a little sweaty, but hardly tired. We napped together for about an hour, and she was full throttle again. I took her for an hour plus walk later in the evening and she was OK with that as well. And what was really wonderful is that it was drizzling rain and she didn’t really care. Zomba was a rain wuss – a few drops and she was hunkering close to the ground, trying to get away from it. I love to walk in the rain. And the snow. Pretty much anything except hot sun. I’d like my dog to be able to join me!

She is sitting on the chair looking out the windown just now. Ambo used to climb into these chairs occasionally. She can actually fit, all curled tight, he would try but 95 pounds of long lanky just didn’t fit.

She is clearly not as comfortable with men, she greets women with enthusiasm and shies from male hands especially – and if they have a graying beard she is especially concerned. She was also terrified of basements – but worked it out so that she can come down and be with me seeing clients.

She is good with kids, even yesterday she was easy with my client who has Down’s syndrome – which means not only is he a kid but his vocalizations and movements are odd and even more unpredictable than most kids. He seemed to really enjoy her, she got in a few dog kisses, and watched us closely.

She is great in the car, she walks easily, she has a high prey drive and it persists well after the squirrel has disappeared in the tree. She clearly would like to learn how to climb the tree. We’re doing many bonding things as well as being clear about her role. ‘m hand feeding her, and requiring that she look at me and not just the food as I do that. She has to sit for many of the things she wants. She is on a short leash, no dominating the walks and where we’re going. A flexi is a great tool, but not for beginners and we’re starting over she and I.

Waiting for me to cross streets, so many details and small moments to let her know I’m in charge. But lots of time to snuggle and just be hanging out as well. I think all Ridgebacks are beautiful but she is a very interesting combination of Ambo’s head and Zomba’s head. Her bodyis a little shorter and more muscular all over, where Zomba was a very deep chested girl with powerful leg muscles. Nala is also a redder dog, with a prominent ridge but her crowns are less so.

I would post photos but my camera is out of batteries — and I haven’t yet left her except once for a quick Co-op shop. So we’ll get into the leaving her alone stuff starting tomorrow. Crate or no crate? That is the question.

Meanwhile, it seems like at least a minor miracle, if not a major one, to have found each other and to have her here even as I continue to grieve the loss of Zomba. And now, it is almost time for the long walk for the day. She is a joy to walk with, and a good inspiration to me to get out and enjoy the day.

In Love With Dogs

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

It has been very painful to lose Zomba, and it has also been so strange to be without a dog. I guess I got very used to it after almost 10 years. Not really very long, but it just seems like a more natural way to live.

So I’ve been visiting dogs, longing for dogs, walking a puppy friend, enjoying the dogs I meet (with a bit of pain each time).
Last Saturday I thought it was time for some Ridgeback time, and got to see a friend’s Ridgebacks – many tears, as they were god friends of Zomba’s and we spent so much time at their place playing and running and having good dog time. Then, suddenly out of nowhere my friend got a message from a breeder that she had a returned dog who needed a home if I wanted to some see her. The call came just as I was leaving, so we just drove right over to meet her. Suddenly there were Ridgebacks all over and puppies as well. Five four week old darlings just starting to bite and play and make the sweetest noises.

But it was the 2 year old girl I came to see. She was about Zomba’s size, just 60 pounds, with a shorter muzzle and deeper read coloring. Calm and obviously really smart and very much at ease.

She is coming on Friday for a three week trial.

That makes me happy.

We may have some challenges, lots of training and bonding and learning to do. I love the dog mind, I look forward to getting to know her. Perhaps we are meant for each other, I guess we’ll know soon.