Sunday, May 22, 2011

Camera Shy and Hopeful

Happiness is a fresh clean poodle.  Yes, I'm kissing my poodle.

Little Star Miles or Piddle Star Miles as we like to call her these days is being camera shy. Thought I'd let you see how well she doing. Considering she's had a rough few months. She's been poked, prodded, medicated, fed unusual foods, and sprayed by a skunk.

Today was the ultimate insult though... she got another bath.  She's been drinking so much water lately (side effect of one of her meds) she sleep pees occasionally; hence, early morning bath.  We've been picking her water up around 10 pm, but she seems to already be full of water by then.  New plan is the Vet told me back in January (when she wouldn't drink water and I had to force/trick/bribe her) that a poodle her size should drink 25 ounces of water a day.  The plan is we measured out 25 ounces of water into her bowl and that is all she gets today.  We'll see how that goes.  I wonder how long it will take her to drink that much.  My first instinct is I would hate it if someone told me I couldn't have a drink if I was thirsty.  On the other hand if I were peeing the bed I guess I would rather have my water cut back than be kicked out of the bed.

Update:  Spoke to Vet office today about a towel donation and thought I'd ask about my water plan.  They said an hour after dinner just pick up the water dish.  That no she doesn't need more than the normal amount of water.  The 25 ounces that I gave her lasted just until after dinner.  So, that worked out well.

Despite having been bathed she's in very good spirits.  She's eating well.  She's put on some weight slowly inching up to the 23 pounds that she should be.  We are hopeful she has many more years with us.  We go for a car ride every day.  We go for a walk every day.  We're enjoying our poodle every day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beef and Bean Enchiladas Will Make You Cry

DH found this recipe I don't know where about 20 years ago.  It's been a family favorite ever since.

Last night my DD asked to have enchiladas for dinner.  I said sure if you make them.  They really aren't hard to make, but they take a bit of time.

First thing one does with this recipe is chop the onions.

Using the Pampered Chef Food Chopper doesn't seem to help with the onion fumes.  It does chop the onions quickly; therefore, less crying.
OK maybe she was hamming it up a little and she was cracking me up.  It brought back to my attention what can one do to avoid the onion fumes.  I wear contacts and I have zero problem with chopping onions.  Nobody else in my family needs eye correction and has that option.

My mother said that she felt her glasses helped protect her.  I've also read to lean back.  Don't lean over the onions while chopping.  Years ago I even bought the onion goggles for my kids.  What my kids have told me is none of the above have helped them.  They just chop, power through the crying and get on to the cooking.

DD likes to skip the frying of tortillas to save time.  In the end the enchiladas turn out about the same like a casserole.

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 med. onion, chopped
1 (1 lb.) can refried beans
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. taco sauce
1 c. ripe olives, quartered
2 (10 oz.) cans enchilada sauce
Salad oil for frying tortillas
12 corn tortillas
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Crumble ground beef in a frying pan; add onions. Saute until meat is browned and onions are tender. Drain off excess fat. Stir in beans, salt, garlic powder, taco sauce and olives; heat until bubbly. Heat enchilada sauce; pour half the sauce into an ungreased shallow 3 quart baking dish.

In small frying pan, heat salad oil about 1/4" deep. Dip tortillas, individually, in hot oil to soften; drain quickly. Place 1/3 cup beef filling on each tortilla; roll to enclose filling. Place seam side down in baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

To Serve: Top each serving with sour cream combined with green chili salsa. May garnish with sliced, pitted ripe olives. Serves 4 to 6.

Lynne's note: I have microwaved and warmed tortillas up in the enchilada sauce in an effort to skip frying. Both methods lead to fragile tortillas and frustration. I stick with frying. How often does one have enchiladas? I have found frying them all up and draining them allows them to cool off. Enough so as to not burn my fingers and they stay flexible enough to roll.

Stop it DD you're making me laugh.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What's Next? We've Been Skunked!

I'm telling you the last few months have been the most challenging in the world of pet ownership and it hasn't stopped yet.

The Prednisone is making my dog drink a lot.  So, she needs to go out a lot.  I noticed Wednesday morning she had had an accident in the night.  Fortunately, it was on the easily cleanable vinyl flooring.  So, Thursday night when she wanted out at 2am I thought "thank goodness she woke me up."  I got up and let her out.  She shot out like a rocket.  I thought she went after a cat.  I was hoping the cat had gotten away, but there was still some scuffling.  Then there was a poodle sneeze.  The poodle trotted away and out from the fence into the porch light as proud as a peacock came strutting a skunk with it's white and black tail standing tall.

My poodle was heading for my door.  I slammed it shut.  I wasn't sure if she got sprayed, but I was pretty sure she had, because of the sneeze.  It's 2 am and I really don't want to wake up dear hubby, but I don't think I can handle this myself.  OK I don't WANT to handle this myself.  So, I wake up dear hubby and tell him "I think the poodle has been sprayed by a skunk."  He groggily says, "Are you sure?"  I walked back to the French back doors and I can see the poodle patticaking at the door for me to let her in.  What she was doing was forcing skunk smell in through the crack in the doors.  I walk back to the bedroom and say, "Yep, I'm sure!"

Dear Hubby doesn't get near enough sleep mostly by his choice, so when he's a sleep I don't like to wake him willy nilly.  When there is a mini crisis though he gets right up and can be counted on to help calmly and surprisingly uncrankily.  Is that a word?

First thing I did was turn on my computer before I woke him up.  I remember seeing a formula for getting rid of skunk smell on a PBS Skunk show about 5 years ago that was guaranteed to work well.  I remembering saying, "I should write that down" back then.  I thought when will I ever come in contact with a skunk?  Talk about famous last words.  Want to hear some more famous last words?  Because my poodle had surgery a few weeks ago I asked my husband THAT night "Would it be safe for her incision to give her a bath tomorrow?  She's kind of stinky."  I didn't know the half of what I was saying.

Krebaum’s Formula to De-Skunk Pets
Items Needed:
1 quart of fresh (not old or out-dated) 3% hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – to act as a buffer
1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid soap – to alkalize the peroxide (don’t use shampoo)

If it’s for a larger pet, 1 quart of lukewarm water can be added.
Be careful to keep this formula out of your pet’s ears, eyes and mouth. Lather thoroughly and deeply into pet fur. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse well with water.

Do this cleaning procedure outside, and if you have plastic goggles–wear them. Dogs especially are notorious for shaking their fur out when wet, you don’t want this stuff spraying in your eyes.

This recipe can be used on people, pets, clothing, or outdoors where needed. Be careful when applying and don’t let it get into eyes, ears or mouths.

Skunks can carry rabies, take to vet immediately if you find any bleeding or open wounds while washing your pet.

Amazingly, I had ALL the ingredients.  I got a plastic tub from the garage.  I wasn't sure how much would be needed to wash her.  I wanted to catch the formula in the tub and reuse if needed.  Armed with the formula and tub we headed to the backyard hubby in shorts me in my pajamas.

The hose I needed was coiled up right where the skunk was last sighted.  I decided to use the hose by the other back door only the teenagers had disconnected it.  I wondered why as I screwed it back on the hose bib and turned it on.  Next thing I knew a 6 foot tall rooster tail stream of ice cold water is spraying my backside through a giant hole in the hose.  OK now I know why it was disconnected!  I scream.  Dear hubby thinks the skunk is attacking me.  I quiet down and quickly tell him I was hosed down with cold water.  He sees me me fighting the hose like a water wiggle.  He's now fighting to hold the dog in the tub who wants to come to my rescue.  Now we're laughing, but trying to be quiet at 2 am in the morning not wanting to wake the neighbors or the kids.

We wetted her down with the ice cold water from the hose and she's looking at us with eyes that are saying, "Why are you being so mean to me?"  Dear hubby is scrubbing her face and neck I'm scrubbing the rest of her.  I am getting worried that she's going to get too cold since she's got some health issue and recovering from surgery.  Dear hubby says I'll rinse her in a warm shower.  That made me feel better to get her in a warm shower.  As he rinsed her in the shower I got towels from the rag cabinet.  I pull back the shower curtain and there she is in his arms like he use to bathe our babies when they were itty bitty.  Poodle is looking itty bitty and sad.  I took her from his arms and I could tell she was relieved it was all over.

Remarkably this all took less than half an hour.  We were back in bed at 2:30 am with a dog who smelled nice enough to be welcomed back in the bed.  Considering 30 minutes earlier she stunk so bad we didn't even want her in our backyard.  The formula worked GREAT!

Next day I got many recommendations of tomato juice, but I've been told it really doesn't work that well.  Plus I never have tomato juice in my house.  The formula worked great.  Yeah if you stick your nose in the hair on her neck there is a faint smell of skunk, but how often does one do that.  We used about half of the formula and she was soaked through and through and suds up.  So, for a 23 pound dog it was more than enough.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Living With a Roomba?

Since my poodle's increase hunger began with the taking of Prednisone I've started to get the feeling people must have that own a Roomba. "The Roomba is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner sold by iRobot. Under normal operating conditions, it is able to navigate a living space and its obstacles while vacuuming the floor."

The last few nights I sat down in the living room to enjoy a few programs on my DVR and in walked my shadow (the poodle). She begins systematically sniffing every inch of the living room floor. She walks around in no particular pattern.  Bumping into things and going in new directions.  Hoping I'm sure that a tortilla chip or the like has fallen to the floor. After sniffing every square inch of the living room floor she jumps up and lays down beside me.

She does this for every room. If I'm cooking she comes into the kitchen and again runs her nose over every inch of the kitchen floor. My original thought was she was looking more like a blood hound, but last night I realized that she is vacuuming. She's my Roomba!

So, now I'm getting a little feeling of "I hope she doesn't find any food on the floor I'll feel like such a slob." Like I'm not doing my job or my family isn't doing their job of picking up after themselves. I know my poodle isn't judging me. In fact if she found food on the floor it would be a good thing in her eyes. I can't help, but feel like I'm being given the white glove treatment about ten times a day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


In the continuing saga of "How the Poodle Turns" last week my poodle had a liver biopsy.  I thought they'd just stick a needle in her and take a plug out.  The Vet explained oh no we'll need to cut her open and take a sterile sliver of her liver.  We've tried everything since January when this all began to figure out why her liver isn't functioning properly.  I consented to this final test.

When the results came back it was about the same as every test.  No real reason why it's not functioning properly.  They said there are signs of a "toxic event" (Vet words.)  The Vet goes on to tell me her liver seems to be struggling to recover from this.  To help the healing along we'll need to put her on Prednisone.  On Prednisone she may notice her become more hungry and thirsty.  I asked the Vet, "Do I need to feed her more?"  He said, "No, you may just have to watch out for her nipping things off the counter and getting into the trash."  I said, "Oh she already does that.  We have a whole plan to keep her out of the trash and off of the counters."  He laughed and we concluded our conversation.

Flash forward about a week that my poodle has been on Prednisone suddenly she's drinking 2 bowls of water a day and she's asking me for food all day long.  When I don't give her food she goes outside and grazes.  We now have to go out with her, because she's eating things that we have no idea what it is and she's eating her own poop.  No more leisurely going out and picking it up.  We have to pick it up immediately.  I'll be walking along with her and suddenly she's crunching on something.  I've watched her like a hawk and don't know what she's eating.  She knows to swallow quickly or I'll drag it out of her.  I'm hoping they are acorns or some other nonlethal plant substance.

She asks to go out about every hour.  I don't know if it's to eat or to pee the 2 bowls of water.  This afternoon she asked to go out and I told her no.  Next thing we find out she's peed on the carpet.  I felt SO badly.  I told the family every time she asks we just need to walk her out.  The Prednisone is supposed to be a 3 month treatment.  In fact after about a month we start backing down the dose and I'm hoping her hunger will back down to a normal poodle level.

Today I was cleaning off my dresser and came across this cartoon one of my favorites and it just seem so apropos for our life right now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beware of Guacammus!

My daughter and I made this recipe a few weeks ago.  After we made it my daughter said, "Mom you need to blog about this.... to warn everyone!"  I had to laugh.  She was absolutely right.  When I came across this recipe I thought it sounded delicious.  We love guacamole.  We love hummus.  What a great idea!  NOT!

I bought the ingredients and thought we'll make it and take it to a friend get together of my daughter's that I was also invited to.  As we started to make this I told my daughter that really one should never try a new recipe when going to someone else's house.  I said it tongue in cheek as I had full confidence this would be good.

Recipe for Guacamole Hummus
(my life saving additions in parenthesis)
1 can chickpeas
3 cups fresh cilantro (3 more cups of cilantro)
1 garlic clove (1 more clove of garlic)
1 ripe avocado (1 more avocado)
3 T extra virgin olive oil (2 more T of olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (juice of one whole lemon and one whole lime)
salt and pepper to taste (lots of salt, pepper and some cumin)

I made the recipe just as it said to do with the ingredients asked for.  My daughter took the first taste.  She said, "Mom, you need to taste this some thing's wrong."  I told her sometimes recipes need a little tweaking to account for personal tastes.  I took a taste and was alarmed by how terrible it was.  LOL  Oh my we're on "emergency fix it" mode now.  We can't take this bowl of ... of.... gluck to a party!  Yet, I didn't want to waste all these ingredients and throw them away.

First thought was it desperately need a perk up.  It was very bland.  The recipe called for 1 tsp of lemon juice I added the rest of the lemon I had juiced.  Adding about 2 T of lemon juice.  Tasted dip and it was still bland.  No more lemons.  I had a lime juiced it and added the whole thing.  This improved the taste quite a bit.  I threw the rest of the bundle of cilantro in.  I added quite a bit more salt and pepper and even some cumin.  We both tasted the dip and thought it tastes pretty good now, but the texture is kind of unpleasant.  Not the texture of guacamole and not the texture of hummus something in the middle that wasn't good.  I suggested we add another avocado to lighten up the texture.  The addition of another avocado did improve the texture.  We were now at the stage I wouldn't be embarrassed to take it to a party.

Since this was a party of mostly teenagers it didn't go over well.  The 3 adults found it OK.  Would I make it again?  No.  I had to add so much to make it acceptable I'd rather try something else next time.  We started referring to it as Guacammus.  We thought it was as appetizing as it's name.