Friday, December 10, 2010

Iron Corset. Big Bad Collars.

2 hours shopping, digging for, and trying on shirts; 1 hour drying and braiding hair; 1/2 hour aloe face peel mask; 3 hours setting hair; 1/2 hour carefully applying natural make-up with natural sun-kissed look; spleen rupturing corset; carefully chosen push-up bra:  naturally not too high one; 1/2 hour to squeeze into corset and anointed bra; 300 year old Chinese shard necklace; $2 coconut shell purse brought back from Vietnam by Deuce as carefully chosen conversation piece to promote husband
effect the casual, laid-back, carefree yet natural hippie look.

I soooo still got it!
...just takes longer to 'get it' these days!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


POTLUCK EMERGENCY ALERT:  in case of potluck emergency, read below
(okay...confession...the first time I titled this it was "BBQ PORK ROAST ALERT"...which by light of day, I realized that it sounded like I had food poisoned my whole family.  Which, considering that I have set dinner on fire...more than once...and not on the grill...may not seem so far fetched!  Ah, if only I were as clever by the light of day as I am under shadow of sleep deprivation...)
Okay...tonight's dinner was sooooo easy...and sooooo cheap ... and sooooo awesome it deserves an emergency post, especially in this season of potlucks!  Sadly I have no pictures so I put the closest one I had to a ham-hock ...
Okay, I defrosted a pork shoulder butt roast that we had cut in half...not really knowing what to do with it other than I wanted BBQ pork sandwiches for dinner.  My girlfriend was over to pick up her daughter as I looked at her confusedly begging for advice.  I have a hot grill...I have a pork butt...I have not a clue...  I am still learning this grilling stuff.  Vanessa came to the rescue.  Her husband Robert is the Grill King!  She called quick for advice.  After Robert finally got done with the guffaws I heard all the way across the phone when Vanessa told him that I "didn't know what to do with my pork butt" (just glad I couldn't hear the follow up to that one...), he was able suppress the chuckles and snorts long enough to spit out this prescription:

1.  Cumin
2.  Paprika
3.  Black Pepper
4.  Salt  (I used Sea Salt)
when I mixed at first they were almost equal parts...pepper the smallest.  I was worried this would be too spicy for the kids so I added two more parts Salt.

Rub/cover the whole roast  (Alright people: no more pork butt jokes!)

Use brown sugar to make it sweet!  I patted and rolled the roast in brown sugar to cover the whole thing, but not loose the spice rub

Roast on the grill over indirect heat until the roast reads 200 degrees (my grill is four burner...actually it's even from Vanessa and Robert, Robert had re-furbished it as a gift for I put the roast in the center and turned off the center burners, put the outside on medium, closed the lid and VOILA)

all right this deserves an OMG!!!  It was so sweet and wonderfully crusted, the kids kept running up to steal pieces of the blackened crust!  I shredded the pork and mixed in the crust pieces to spread the flavor through.  It was so flavorful that the BBQ sauce for the sandwiches was really unnecessary.

My husband has deemed it his favorite pork dish.  It will work wonderfully just as a platter for a potluck or big group.

Thanks Vanessa and Robert!  Even though I had to be the...butt...of your jokes!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Two years in a row! Big Bad Collars.

Yep.  Two years in a row.
We even said about an hour out from home..."we can't forget again and drive in with the tree on top again".  Well we forgot...again.

You see, every year we buy a permit from the forest service to cut a tree.  We drive up north, out of the desert to the land of Ponderosa pines and chipmunks and hike for the day with the kids and bring home the kill.  And the couple hour drive home can be a long haul with tired kids, stopping for dinner and gas...and Starbucks...  So just like a couple of barn bound horses, the parents forget there is a rider on top...

We have done this for six years now.  Since Ellette was a newborn, three weeks old.  I have a big ol' wool poncho from my mom and the fabulous '60s to cover the babies and keep them warm.  I have drug the family down canyons in heavy snow.  Deuce has tried to get the "perfect tree" chosen by his princesses off of cliff faces.  He has hauled the girls...and tree across rivers.  We have literally crossed rain, sleet, snow, ripping winds, fire damage, underbrush and mud to get just the tree chosen by the girls.  

almost 3 years old Gwynni...the snow really started after this! Lorelei

2009 hiking out the kill




This year we had beautiful clear crisp skies so we decided to hike a new area with the absence of weather concerns.  I have never seen so many tracks before.  Elk, rabbit...even our first bear.  Of course scat from all...great for the kids!  There were badger holes and a coyote den.  I have learned to really watch the tracks...with the kids being perfectly snack size still, it is a real concern attracting a predator.  Also not too eager to cross a peeved Bull Elk.  One of the first years, I was cheerfully watching the deer tracks...quite fresh...and was happy to see cougar tracks too.  Then the cougar tracks were 'playing' with the deer tracks..."Deuce, time to relocate".  We have had to relocate a few times over the years.  Being from the Northwest, I am a bit of a nut about trail safety...quite the Cautious Clark.  My back country siblings often mock me, but they will all capitulate that when the kids are in tow, you can't be careful enough.  Always watch the trail and always watch the sky.  Need to add to that list:  watch the garage roof's been known to sneek up.






 This year we tried soaking the tree overnight in the Arizona thing, I'd imagine there are few logistics problems to this up north...supposed to help keep it twice as fresh.  Deuce did say it was twice as heavy to haul out!  Let you know how it worked! ;-)

But the way...the permits down here are only $15...aside from gas and food (and yes: speeding tickets), a pretty cheap holiday adventure! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Home for the Holidays. Big Bad Collars.


This is my childhood home.  Thanksgiving weekend was around -14.  Unusual.  But the snow is not.  When you grew up with this, the desert can never compare.

Out at my brother George's.   Yes, Heidi (his wife), kind as she is, convinced Boomer to let George come back in the house, despite his shooting record.  She even let George stay in for Thanksgiving dinner.

Actually, that was a dinner I was sad to miss!  Heidi is a fabulous cook...and bakes like you would imagine in heaven!  That dinner was 18 years in the making:  Her first hosting in her new home with room to seat all!  Many years ago they bought their dream land...and came complete with an aging double wide!  Heidi always knew where her dream house windows would face.  Every time I drive out there I think "why are they out here?" and when I make the last corner through rolling fields and Aspen groves, I always think "that's why they are out here."

Speaking of comforts of home and fabulous family cooks, my local sister-in-law, Courtney, makes a chicken noodle soup that can thaw the coldest toes and warm the soul.  If you have any doubts what to do with the last bits of left over turkey, this is your plan.  Turkey fits wonderfully in the recipe.  The eight-year-old loves it so much, she took it to school for their 2nd grade potluck and cookbook last year.

Gwyneth's Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup (from Courtney)
2 Cooked & Cubed Chicken Breasts*
2 Quarts Chicken Broth
1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Bag Reames Homestyle Noodles**
2 Celery Stalks-chopped
2 Carrots-sliced
1 Can Sweet Corn
-Sometimes I add a sliced yellow squash or zucchini.
Salt & Pepper

In a large pot, I add broth, chicken, celery, carrots, corn(including liquid) and simmer until veggies are tender. Once tender, I add the noodles and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste ; serve. Enjoy!

*I cook chicken breasts in salted water with a couple sprigs of fresh thyme. Drain & rinse. Chop into bite size pieces.

**My secret...use these noodles! They are the best! I buy them at Safeway, in the freezer section. I have also seen them at Walmart.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In the mean time...Big Bad Collars.

Yep...this time it was Strep!... Will this never end!!!

Anyway, in the meantime...

Anyone want to go caroling?

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me
Five Spaaaace heaters,
Four Bunny rabbits,
Three empty piggy banks,
Two terrified cats,
And Raccoon in Bramble bush.

by George

Yep...there's a story behind that one...a rather long one...just think what a dog would put on it's letter to Santa...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stream of consciousness...Big Bad Collars.


Now that I have loured you in with an adorable puppy picture...

I will attempt to claim intellectual identity by trying to fake literary content as "stream of consciousness" (aka rambling my thoughts along...)

First and Foremost:  I'M BACK!  It is hard to reenter the real world filled with responsibilities.  Part of me is hermit...I really could just go out in the cabin in the deep woods and be happy.  I was very content my years of teaching on a very rural island in Japan.  And the Grand Canyon is just that...very grand!  I always try to think what it was like to first discover or stumble upon something...just imagining what it would have been like to come out of the pines and just view into that gaping, impassable hole.  No wonder Powell was determined to explore every end of it!

Crashing down on me is the fact that the holidays are HERE!!!  I am sooooo not ready.  So assuming you are like me...low on cash, low on time...I will put out some ideas for food and gifts that are high impact yet low cash and time.  (And the big question is...will I actually finish last year's christmas gifts before this year's holiday?!?)

On the subject of money...and little anecdote that may soothe your cash flow soul:

My kids piggy banks have been sooo tapped out!  I was just talking with a friend  who was suffering guilt raiding the kid's bank to help make Santa's visit possible.  Now I will say my kids are very proud to have helped the family:  each have bought groceries when we couldn't have otherwise and each was inordinately joyed to take the family out for dinner as a grand treat when there were no other treats.  With that said, my 8 year old came home with the funniest story from school:

Apparently Gwyneth was describing a hat she was dying to buy to her girlfriends.  She had to explain, however, that she couldn't get it until her parents had the money to pay her back the money they had borrowed for groceries.  Well, apparently every kid's piggy bank in Gilbert, AZ has been raided by their parents!  The girls, 5 or 6 of them, all chimed in that their piggy banks were empty too!  "Ya, my mom had to empty mine."  "Oh, mine's been empty forever..."  But the best part was how all chipper these kids were about it.  No one was sad or angry...they all laughed about their piggy bank raiding parents. 

They were all honest and hopeful.

I hope to take a cue from them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Still here...and sulking!

Sorry about that...been a rough week!  But we are still standing...

Let's just say urgent care one day, bad brake job = car out of commission another day (I mean seriously out of commission:  they didn't tighten the bolts, right front brake broke apart and seized the wheel, chunks in the wheel...yes I know I am sounding very technical here...let's just say we are counting our blessings!), not to mention the prolonged joys of pneumonia.  I am just glad that week can be put to rest!

Today is a new day!  My sister and her buddy arrive today!  Road trip and hiking with the girls!  (But I unfortunately have to bow out on the main lungs aren't repaired enough to responsibly do the 4,000 ft elevation change...sulk...sulk...sulk...luckily my steadfast Gail will stay with me on the Grand Canyon rim while the others hike in...though she says we still must fulfill our bucket list someday!  But please quit calling it the "bucket list"!  Gail's 'premonitions' have been coming a little too true lately!!!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Morning of the Living Dead. Big Bad Collars.

Happy Day after Halloween.  
AKA November 1.
  Maybe there is reason why today and tomorrow are celebrations of the daughter's school was filled with Zombies stumbling into the schoolyard, Zombie parents attempting to drive and drop off the little zombies.  It looked like the scene in "Shaun of the Dead" when he is obliviously going through the convenience store, not noticing the Zombie population functioning around him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


$65 (normally $125)
Swarovsky Buckle
from the NY Garment District
COBRA Skin  
 SIZE:  16 in. (16, 15 1/2, 15, 14 1/2, 14 in)
1 inch wide
So here's the deal:  I have learned the hard way...again...not to try to make things when I am sick.  This collar has all the works:  Swarovsky Buckle from one of the oldest brick and mortar stores in the New York Garment District, real Cobra skin, Fine latigo leather...but unfortunately the crystals are in a wavy line...and for some reason I went delirious and thought I was making it for a mastiff, not a french bulldog, and I awkwardly put the end crystals that are only needed for the big collars.  It is still a beautiful piece and the flaws won't be apparent on the dogs neck...but I KNOW!  And since I am OCD about my crystals in straight lines...I just couldn't sell it and I remade the special order (with straight lines!!!)  I hate to waste the work hours...and Cobra cut out the buckle to salvage...soo I am trying my first factory reject sale (trying to salvage the money to replace the skin and the buckle...)
One would think I would learn....I once tried to work with a bad sinus infection...and I think it literally puts pressure on my equilibrium or something...I spent 30 minutes constructing something, and 1 1/2 hours taking it apart and re-making it (not too mention the leash decorated...and forgot to leave spot for the snap hook...).  Apparently pneumonia has the same delirium effect....sigh....
It will be first, come first served if there are multiple requests.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Irreconcilable Differences. Puppy Wars alliances broken. War ends.

The alliance is broken.  The war ends.

It is the end of an era.  George and Boomer have broken up.  I guess my only surprise is that it took this long.  Boomer has given George the boot.  Boomer is suing the state for emancipation.  In his court documents, he is citing irreconcilable differences.
Boomer states that  
"George's shooting average is irreconcilable!"

George is on record admitting,  "Disgusted with my shooting percentage opening day, I caught Boomer pan handling on the street."

Betty's only commentary was, "It is so hard to find true loyalty these days."  Her statement was dictated between bites of New York Strip while upon her down filled sofa.
I must say though, that even I feel that Boomer has smited a low blow.  Boomer has hunted with George for years...
Boomer should know by now not to expect better.
Boomer, you are always welcome back here at Big Bad Collars.  Your modeling legacy could never be filled.
(You wouldn't happen to have Gauge's number on you, by the way...)

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Mama, that dog flying!". Big Bad Collars.

Tret:  parkour (free running) dog from the Ukraine!

When I watched this, my two-year-old started squealing and laughing "Mama, that dog flying!" ...And he does!  It is amazing.

I don't know if this is the world's greatest testimony to amazing training, too much time on your hands, or the amazing terrier drive...but it is most definitely incredible on all levels!

(Thanks! Eric for the find)

(I just hope George doesn't expect Boomer to start doing this...Betty, on the other hand, has been known to scale a few fences...)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sanctions. Puppy Wars.

"Suffering under the economy like the rest of us and too proud to eat cup cakes (modeling isn’t paying too well right now), Boomer has gone to work in the apple orchards."
(he really is picking apples out of the tree)
 The harsh winter months...

My brother has decided to wield the ultimate weapon of the Puppy Wars:  Guilt.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's it gonna take...Puppy Wars ensue...


I got an email:  (my family is soooooo predictable...and I love them for easy to bait!)

The email read:  " 'What's it gonna take to get.... ' my baby pictured on the blog.  Seems like your dogs and George's dogs are the only dogs that exist in your universe.   Hansi has seen some "web-space", perhaps that is because he has "Hans" in the name [my brother's full name is Hans George].  I guess I will just have to continue to know only privately how beautiful the Boop is -- here are few reminders of the princess' special beauty, since you seem to have forgotten her."
Well is the homage!  Apparently it just takes a lot of whining!  And the threat of being pushed off a ledge of the Grand Canyon.  And remember emails are legal documents...they could pin you for motive!  (baby sister survival tactic #1:  assume predictable reprisals...potentially violent as well)

Betty is another one of Marg's "oh no I don't need a new dog right now and there is no way I am keeping this one" dogs.  Betty was rescued at about 6 months old, starving, from the streets and full of tumors.  Now that thing is full of tenacity and self importance.  She is so fast, jumps so high, and swims so far that Marg actually had DNA testing done on her to find out her breed.  There was a lot in there but Russian Borzois was the dominant.  Betty was so mixed up and so rare that they kept her on file so they could retest her as the DNA testing improved.

This dog now has her own day care, play group, and has become one of Kathy Sdao's  helper dogs and helps Kathy acclimate untested and aggressive dogs!  This is a far cry from the fence leaping, shoe chewing mongrel sighthound that took off after every squirrel or assumed squirrel.  Not to mention the time Marg fell in the brambles, scraped on asphalt and was all cut up and bleeding (terrifying people that saw her bloody self coming out of the park) trying to protect Betty from a rabid raccoon.  (Or was that one Bob, the original "there's no way I'm keeping this dog" dog?)  Needless to say, there isn't much that hasn't or wouldn't be done for our little ego maniac :-).
Betty now has her own custom design (that God knows how many hours it took me to perfect!) following Marg's precise dictates and design approval.  With matching leash!  It is pink and whimsy...just like Betty!
Which,  by the way,  the set can now be found exclusively at Tierisch Exclusiv (on the home page even!)  Yep, the dog even has her own Couture Fashion Line now!
How's that for a proper homage!
Are egos appropriately soothed?  (And more importantly, have I secured safe passage on the Grand Canyon Trail?)
 (Now I just have to wait for Boomerdonna's prima response...Maybe George is out hunting and jeeping this week...)

(PS:  NOT pictured of course is Betty standing on the dining room table, eating all the "election day cupcakes" my sister's friend brought for the last Presidential election.  Note to self:  New Conspiracy Theory developing:  Democrats + secret memos = cupcakes.  I know more Democrats that baked cupcakes the last election!  Strange.  All I can say is "Go Betty Go!  Good Dog Betty! Good Girl!"  i know i'm gonna pay for that one...)