Sunday, August 29, 2010

GoD And DoG by Wendy J Francisco

This has come across my email and couple times...and it arrived again.  It gets me every time.  Definitely worth a moment.  There is a reason why it keeps circulating...

Quotable Quotes.

"My pack is in the hole too!"

Quotable Quotes.

"The rock moved."  (same movie...)

Friday, August 27, 2010

AZ Humane Society Waiving Fees this Weekend.

Just in case you have been "thinking" of getting a new family member...sometimes the time is just right!

Arizona Humane Society 

August 26, 2010

Nonprofit organization uses bold display of toy animals to demonstrate dire situation

(PHOENIX) – Today, staff and volunteers with the Arizona Humane Society set a bold display to demonstrate a dire situation currently taking place at the shelter: they are running out of room. As of August 25, the nonprofit organization has seen just under 35,000 animals come through its doors this year. Nearly 20,000 of those animals were cats and kittens alone – who despite desperate pleas, still are coming in at an average 150 per day.

The demonstration, which took place at Tempe Marketplace, included a display of toy animals lined up to represent just how many animals come through AHS’ doors every day. Volunteers and staff also held up signs relaying messages for the public to consider about pet overpopulation and the need, now more than ever, for compassion for animals such as, “toy animals don’t need spay and neutering. Real animals do.” The stuffed animals complement the AHS’ new ad campaign that centers around the concept of the difference of toy animals versus real animals.

“While it’s not new, the situation is extreme,” said Kimberly Searles, AHS’ communication manager. “We have more animals coming into the shelter than we are adopting. We simply are out of space.”

In an effort to help empty AHS’ kennels, the organization will waive adoption fees on all animals in lieu of a monetary donation this weekend. The adoption special will run Saturday and Sunday (August 28 and 29) and is valid at all AHS locations.

“Since 1957, the Arizona Humane Society has fostered the belief that every pet deserves a good life. Right now we desperately need our community to put their compassion in action and give these lovable pets a second chance at a good life,” said Searles.  

To take save a life this weekend, visit either AHS’ Sunnyslope Facility (9226 North 13th Avenue, Phoenix) or Campus for Compassion (1521 West Dobbins Road, Phoenix) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 28 - 29. Additional adoption locations include Petique at 24th Street and Camelback and inside Valley-area PetSmart stores. A two pet per household limit will be in effect for this adoption special. No rainchecks will be offered.  All adopters must meet certain requirements and undergo an adoption screening to ensure a good fit for the pets. For more information, please visit

About Arizona Humane Society
Founded in 1957, the Arizona Humane Society is the state’s largest nonprofit animal welfare and protection agency. The mission of AHS is to improve the lives of animals, alleviate their suffering, and elevate their status in society.

Kimberly Searles, Communication Manager
Kelsea Vescova, Director of Marketing and Development

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Progress...

What I am working on right now...isn't that cuter than cute???

It's not done yet...still some tweaking and changes to do...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chili! Them's Fighten' Words! Big Bad Collars.

Adding to the Book of the Bizarre that is my life are the massive marital fights we have had over CHILI in this house (I first typoed MARTIAL fights...there aren't much truer Freudian slips than that one!)

Those of you from the east may not understand it, but nothing can insult a westerner's integrity and soul faster than insulting his (MY!) chili.  Shouting "your mother" will only make us laugh, but insult a man's chili and you're talking spitting in the streets and guns out of holsters!

Some pithy folks out there might quote the saying "well if you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans."  Don't make me spit in your eye!  THAT'S TEXAS CHILI!  Like everything else, Texas has it own cuisine.  Here in the Sonoran Desert we eat Sonoran Mexican Food (although I must admit I have taken a locally very controversial turn there:  my favorite place to eat out is LuLu's Tacos and it is Guadalajaran Mexican food.  Lourdes makes the best Tortillas in the state!  But I have a feeling that has less to do with the food's region and more do with the cook!)  Don't offer me any of that yuppie malarkey that they try to disguise as "New Mexico" or worse "Santa Fe".  Black beans do NOT belong in food.  There is a farming tradition thousands of years old here.  That Pima cotton everyone loves so much:  the Pima Indians invented it.  Phoenix is named for the resurrection of the ancient Indian water canals.  With that said:  Pinto beans only please!  Refried preferred!

You are a transplant you say?  What do you know about authentic cowboy food?  Don't make me stomp on your foot after I have to spit in your eye!  I can't vouch for the food of those fish eaters over in Seattle, but Eastern Washington Ranches can put anything in Texas to it's measly shame.  Rolling hills of 9 feet of top soil that don't end.  Ever wonder where those Walla Walla Sweet Onions come from?!  And don't offer me some south easterner masquerading as an onion called a Vidalia!

My sister was once almost lynched over chili.

Back home in Spokane in the way back '90s, one of her buddies was a too proud Texan.  (When his first child was born:  he flew down to Texas, dug up some dirt and returned right back so that the first soil his son's feet would touch would be Texas Soil!)

Every year he and his wife hosted the Great Texas Chili Cook Off.  Since one of them worked for the local paper, this event had evolved to be quite large.  My sister, who hates to cook, got talked into entering.  In planning...avoiding cooking...she came up with an idea:  Milli Vanilli Chili.  It was even lyrical...unlike the infamous duo!  So she and another friend went to Wendy's, ordered a bucket, got every hot sauce and chili condiment they offered, transferred it into a pot.  There it was entered and posted for all to see and taste:  Milli Vanilli Chili.  They assumed everyone else was in on the joke too...well you know the saying about assuming too: u, me, a couple donkey bottoms...  They actually were voted People's Choice!  (Didn't Milli Vanilli win a Grammy too?  Her symbolism rang a little too true...yes, musical pun intended.)  So the time came for awards...a public confession was made...commence lynch mob.  Needless to say, they were not invited to enter again the following year.

This has been a household battle for about 15 and 1/2 out of 16 years I have been married...and for about a couple years before that!  My husband once stooped so low as to call it eastern chili!!! Like what they make in chicago!!!  (I have both cast iron frying pan and rolling pin and yes I know how to use them!)  Granted the man has not made a pot of chili in his life!

Lately, the battle is over spicy vs sweet chili.  I like sweet chili.  I am cooking it.  We eat sweet chili.  He calls my chili an abomination.  I call him an abomination.

Again, since I am a pinch of this, handfull of that cook...I will list ingredients and techniques.  I cook in bulk too...there is always a package in the freezer.

Chili powder (browned in butter...wonderfully deepens flavor)
Pinto Beans. Soaked, simmered and softened. (I do like a three bean chili:  more depth of flavor.  I will add red and kidney beans.  NEVER black or black eyed peas...they overpower other flavors!)
Chopped Onion
Cream Corn (the secret to a good sweet chili!)
Brown Sugar
Black Pepper
Hamburger, cooked
Pureed tomatoes (a lot, I used the big costco cans for my bulk batches)
Water or chicken stock or both.
(the celery in the picture was just needed to be eaten :-)

For the Chili Historian:  below is a copy of the battle between AZ Sen. Goldwater and Texas Sen. Tower.

For the longest time I only had John Tower's recipe (Only half the story!) but much thanks goes to Harry and Denise Broderick of Woodside Consulting, Inc. for sending us this finishing puzzle piece. Here is the EMail to me exactly as sent...

I have been using this recipe for over twenty years, and I think it was
originally published in the New York Times, . Unlike many recipes that call
for spices that are not native to the southwest or Mexico, this appears to
be the original chili of the Goldwater story.

It all started when Senator Barry Goldwater praised the chili of his native
Arizona and deplored that of Texas. "A Texan" he said "does not know chili
from the leavings in a corral" A few day later Senator Tower rose
indignantly to defend Texas chili. "Comparing Arizona chili to Texas
chili " he said " is like comparing Phyllis Diller to Sophia Loren." In a
chili cookoff that spring Senator Goldwater's recipe was chosen best by a
panel of five experts. Here it is:


1 pound course ground beef
1 pound dry pinto beans soaked overnight
1 six ounce can tomate puree
2 cups chopped onion

3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt to taste, add water to desired consistency

1. Saute beef, drain off excess fat.
2. Add beans, puree and onions.
3. Combine chili powder, cumin and salt, add water, Bring to a boil. Reduce
heat and cook slowly until onions and beans are tender, adding water as needed.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 

This version of Barry Goldwater Chili stolen from here 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little pink bags. Anonymous.

You see I have come to yet another of my social theories of life (I could write a book on men who are fiscal risk takers vs men who physical risk brother who was once known in the ER by name...they offered him a "frequent user card" the biggest putz when it comes to money.  In contrast I know some husbands out there that are about be signed up for Ultimate Fighting by their wives in hopes that by beating the adrenalin out of them it will make fiscal conservatives!)

This past year I have suffered yet another enlightenment:

Apparently I used up all my good fortune on people.  I will never win the lottery.  I have requested all my friends to kindly forfeit their friendship to me so that I may suffer financial fortune!  Sadly, no one has as yet complied.

As many of us, too many of us lately, know the hardest place to pull back is the kids.

Around here, as my brother-the frequent ER user/money putz- puts it, was ground zero for the economic collapse.  As my husband put it:  how does it feel knowing your state help spearhead a world economic collapse.  In the neighborhood, we high five on pay day...because there was a pay day.  Ah, you may say that is because you guys were all construction...but not true.  There's a pilot, my husband the ex-mortgage guy (yep that was our death knell), carpenter, print shop salesman, engineers, community college staff amongst us...the usual mix of odd balls in any neighborhood.  At the meet the teacher night, I noticed a funny change in our language here.  I heard it over and over:  "Hey how are you?  Good. Good.  You still working?  Wow the baby grew!  Does your husband still have a job?  Great.  Great.  Hey how are you guys faring?  Oh, that sucks.  Do you need anything?  Ya, I'll keep an ear out."  You can mix and match the conversation, but the jist is the same.  "Mike came home from work early.  I don't know whether to be happy or cry.  He said be happy today...if it happens again tomorrow, then cry."

But the simple fact is I am hoping in the end we will all be a better nation for it.  I am amazed at the true colors I have seen.  You see the truth of a man when he is beaten down.  Everyone can have grace in their glory (though some even fail at that!)  What gets me up each day to fight again are the little things I see.

Today it was a little pink bag hanging on my door when I came home from delivering a five year old to kindergarten.  The simple fact is, when you live on commission sales, you don't have a "pay day" per say.  If a bank decides to take their own sweet time for pay wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Sooo everything else waits.  The car gets gas, the fridge gets food.  Maybe.  The kids learn to wait too.  We have not had the room in the budget for back to school shopping yet.  (Yep, AZ is off a bit.  We start beginning of August.  I have often thought that sunbelt states should go completely opposite...hole up in summer and have the big vacation in winter...)

In that little pink bag was just an unsigned note...and a gift card to take the kids shopping.  My eight year old has been a trooper, making due and making last.  She even gets into designing pieces to sew when she needs something new.  The five year old is as excited for the hand-me-down boxes as if she were headed to Bloomies.  But to go pick, fitting rooms and all, is a treat that has been too long.

It doesn't matter what the number on the card is, the simple gift is the joy.  $10 on some days is as great as a $1000 on others.

I thought I had the anonymous giver pegged instantly.  Style of the gift, intimate knowledge of where the girls had asked to shop.  But the more I thought about it the greater the blessing became.  See the fact is I have enough people in my life who are always ready to help out, that I can't say 100% that it was definitely this person over another.  And they also surround themselves with people who would help friends of friends or strangers too.

So there it is.  A world in a little pink bag.  It is my neighbor dropping by a loaf of bread.  The local church organizing a giant "back to school clothing swap".  My husband running out to harass the older lady across the street as she takes out her garbage because he hasn't seen her in a while and wants to check that things are okay.

I also have another theory on life.  Some of us are good at writing cards, thank yous and just plain hellos.  Some of us make soup. Some of us bake bread.  Some of us accost little old ladies with garbage cans.

When I was a kid, our German Shepherd died.  The Sheriff that patrolled the farms noticed that he wasn't around anymore.  He showed up one day with a puppy from his own litter.

My children may have a few less 'things', see fewer movies, and Santa may have to put more effort on the families that are really hurting this year and bring us less again, but they will know what it means to grow up in a community again...all because of a little pink bag.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kicked in the shins. Big Bad Collars.

I have a lot of thoughts running through my head right now.  If I sound discombobulated, I am.  I will attempt to combobulate the discombobulated.

You see, I feel like life keeps kicking me in the shins. And I am getting pretty bruised.

I want to kick back, but there is nothing to kick.  No opportunity to block, no chance to sidestep.


So what do you do?

I think that is what defines us. 

So what am I going to do about it?  Most importantly I am going to stand up again tomorrow, and do it all over again tomorrow.  That is the only way I can even have a chance to kick back.  Simply, you have to be on your feet in order to run with the opportunity when it does come to you.

Vayden up there was kicked pretty hard by fate.

You see, Vayden belongs to a friend of the family.  A friend of a friend had this neighbor who had gotten a new puppy.  And it kept getting out.  And out.  And out.  Every time this friend of a friend had rescued the puppy from the street, alley... her porch where it had learned to come knowing it was a safe place...she faithfully returned it to her neighbor.  Then this neighbor made a comment that opened a world of opportunity for her.  He made it clear that although his daughter would miss it, the puppy didn't really need to come back home...ever.  The next day the puppy was gone,  again.

This time the puppy was lost.  

Somehow the puppy couldn't find its way out of this friend of a friend's living room.  

Phone calls were made.  Eventually Vayden met my friend Sheila.  He was skittish, dirty, hungry, beaten down... and slowly being choked to death by a nylon puppy collar that had never been adjusted as he grew.  And he was oh so sweet.

Opportunities are there to change the direction of our fates, the direction of our lives.  The opportunities are sometimes presented by the most unlikely sources.  Sometimes we have to take the opportunity, sometimes we have to make it ourselves, sometimes we have to do a combination of both.  No matter how, we must be on our feet in order to get the opportunity...and go!

I intend to be standing tall.  Today, tomorrow, the next day.  No matter how hard life keeps kicking me in the shins.  And when the opportunity comes, I just hope I roll with a John Wayne saunter as I go.

correction:  I apologize to Sheila.  I confused Vayden with Raisin  :-).  (Please don't tell Raisin!)  Raisin and Vayden are both members of Sheila's pack of rescues.  Vayden has a similar story in the way that Sheila was contacted again by yet a different friend and told of a dog in need of a good house full of love.  Vayden's story is different in the way that his life was much worse than Raisin's and he needed a lot more help to adjust to the family.  And Sheila came through, again.  What is clearly the same in both stories is that Sheila is a caring, loving woman with a pushover heart!  (Thankfully for Raisin and Vayden!).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wiener Dog Song's 2:45 in the morning...and the blogging aspirations must yield to the need for sleep!
Therefore I leave you with this profound social commentary:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Spokane Song by Jewel.

The Spokane Song by Jewel.  OMG!

When I saw this on facebook from some friends back home, I honestly thought it was a virus!  This is wonderfully hilarious!  Thanks Jewel! from an ex-pat from the little town that never actually realized it was a city!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Afghani stray that stopped suicide bomber: SAVED!

Rocky: A True Military Hero
Operation Baghdad Pups: No Dog left Behind
 Rocky has been rescued!  Thanks to the coordinated efforts of many different animal welfare organizations, Rocky was rescued from Afghanistan last week.  In 2009, Rocky and another camp dog intercepted a disguised suicide bomber as he attempted to enter U.S. Army barracks and explode himself.  Rocky and Sam stopped the bomber in his tracks, forcing him to explode his lethal weapon before reaching the barracks, and saving countless lives.  Unfortunately, Sam suffered fatal injuries.

Rocky, a true military hero has the retirement he deserves - a safe and loving home in the United States.  Rocky will be living with, David, one of the soldiers that he saved on that fateful day in Afghanistan.  We are extremely grateful to Rocky, Sam, David and all the troops who are serving in Afghanistan to protect our way of life here at home.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bloggerlutions. Big Bad Collars.

 I simply wish I had more hours in the day.  I have always felt we need 3 day weekend:  1 day to sleep on the couch, 1 day to do chores, 1 day for family and friends.  With the attention span of a gnat...I start everything...and finish nothing.  Luckily for my husband...and these hard economic times...I am not much of a shopper.  Unfortunately for my husband, I am project person that is never satisfied with painted walls.  To me, once you get the walls painted, it just points out how much more can...NEEDS (or I will go insane) be done! (Yet I can't stay long enough with the first project before tearing into the next...breathe...focus...)

With this in mind, I am officially stating my BLOGGERLUTIONS!  (I love this whole blog just begs for more made up language to go with the made up word "blog".  Yes, my nerd is showing again...)

1.  To Write more!  To find a regular routine of writing and hopefully interesting topics for the world to read!
2.  Post more pictures!  Thinking a silly dog picture contest....
3.  Make more!  I need to get the ideas out of my head and into real, tangible things!
4.  Work out 5 days a week.  I have 40 lbs to lose and  a bet with a friend that if I lose the weight, she has to lose the mom-jeans!  It's not good to be wearing the same style as President Obama...First Lady Obama I could handle...
5.  Find a blog-schtick!  Something interesting to keep things humming along...
6.  Make the world a better place.  I am feeling a little to futile, ineffective and marginalized lately!  Sadly I think many of us feel that way right now...time to do some JOHN WAYNE around here!
7.  Launch my "Dust Rhinoceros" blog...because I do believe life is a shared experience.  It's nice to know we are not matter how bad we mucked it up today...
8.  Actually train my dogs...not just rely on their good nature...
9.  Win my war with the Mesquite Tree!  I have got to post pictures of the thorns on that sucker...5 inches I %^&** you not!
10.  Hike the Grand Canyon...coming November...and make it back out not on the 6 o'clock news!
11.Caulk the tub...long overdue...
12.  Grow pumpkins!
13.  Lauch my super awesome formal wear line!  Dog collars that Swarovsky!
14.  Have my family's christmas presents...from last year...finished before Dec. 25th!
15.  Become a Yoga goddess...okay the Yoga part may be setting the sights a little about just Goddess!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010



1.  blog:  Janice G.
2.  email:  Robert L.
3.   etsy: Bernolli
I will email the three winners now! Choose any item from the Big Bad Collars Etsy Store.
If there is an item that is chosen will simply be first dibs (using the time of email request).
NEXT MONTH (september) I will give away a CUSTOM COLLAR! designed by the winner of that contest!

There will also be a charity event!
New stuff coming!
Fantastic blogs written by me!
Silly dog pictures wanted at all times!

Monday, August 2, 2010




(yes I am shamelessly promoting!) 


(And just in case you don't know it: 
It can be as simple as "me me me" or great as "i love big bad collars".
(If I have your email already...just check in and say "hi" and you will be in!)  This will put you in my email list.  There will be more giveaways to come and couple charity items planned.  So don't go away!
(one email entry per can email just to say you care, too!)

Scroll down the right side to "FAVORITES" and click "ADD SELLER TO FAVORITES".  Please "heart" my store for the giveaway.  Please heart items just because you love me! 

Scroll down the left side here and sign up!
 CLOSES MIDNIGHT, MON. AUG 2nd...if I don't have you by then, then you have to wait for the next round!

PRIZE:  choose one item, any item, from my Etsy store and it is yours!  There will be three winners:  one from each category!  

In the random case that the same person is chosen from two categories, then a second person will be drawn so that three separate people may win.

I will have the two year old (she can't count yet so you know it isn't biased!) draw a new and separate number for each category.  Counting from oldest to newest, the person who corresponds with that number will be the winner in that category!  


I will be adding new styles, new LEASHES, new items, new sizes all this week!

Don't have a dog?  YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES!  just think, the next birthday, christmas is covered!

MAKE YOUR FRIENDS SIGN UP!  Get them to win the prize for YOU!