A New Year – My 100th Post!

100 posts graphic

Celebrating the start of 2013 with our 100th post!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I love the new year because it feels like a clean slate. “This year is the first year of the rest of your life” kind of thing, and on my second day in, I haven’t goofed up so much yet.  Unlike Daisy, I am very accomplishment oriented.  I’ve counted, measured, set goals, crossed off lists, and otherwise driven my family crazy since I can remember.  This works for me.  There is a positive energy that goes with making goals and accomplishing good work.

Today, as a great way to start the new year, I am celebrating 100 posts with you!  You may want to pat yourself on the back if you’ve been traveling with me on this adventure in writing.

Liesa's business card with celebration note.

Some lucky Einsteins patron will get a free card today.

Today, I will go to my local Einsteins, buy a gift card for some unsuspecting soul, and ask the Einstein’s team to give it away with my Daisy Arthur business card. Perhaps, just perhaps, we  will have another new reader soon.  How’s that for a fun boost!

Right now, this blog boasts 200 followers.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to grow to 500 or more followers in the next 12 months. Whew!  Do you think you can help me with this?  I’d love to hear your suggestions, or names of friends you’d like me to email directly with an invitation to join our group.  It would also be cool if you have suggestions for improving the content of this site.

So now I’ve shared one of my resolutions, how about you? Do you have any plans for 2013?

I don’t often ask people about their New Year’s Resolutions because more often than not the answer is either guilt-ridden, “I haven’t thought much about it” or smart-alecky, “I resolve not to make any resolutions–there, done!”  These answers just make me sad.  They sound so hopeless.

I’ve also found that my huge list of everything from learning a second language to finding the best place to store my broom kind of bores people. So I don’t share many of my resolutions frequently.  However, goal-setting is a very healthy thing to do.

I’m not sure which book or motivational tape I heard this from, but apparently some bright people asked a graduating class from an Ivy-league school what their plans were going forward.  Eighty percent had vague or undefined goals, and there were 10 to 15 percent who had a vision they could verbalize, then five to 10 percent who actually wrote their goals down.

You guessed it, that five to 10 percent group was earning consistently more than their colleagues ten years down the road, and they were living happier, more fulfilled lives as well.  Yes, I think goals and New Year’s Resolutions are not only cool, but very healthy too.

I won’t bore you with my zillions of goals for 2013, but I will share a couple more goals for me: I’m going to make “13” my lucky number this year, and I am planning to finish my second novel, Sliced Vegetarian.  Please do wish me luck, as I believe in positive thoughts.

Meanwhile, I may  your year be filled with happiness, hope, and accomplishment.  If you’d like to share your best resolution, I’d love to hear from you.  If you do, I will try to check in with you from time to time so that your resolution becomes a goal and then an accomplishment to celebrate.

Prophet’s First Birthday Party Invitation

There is no doubt that Daisy’s dog, Thunder, is based on my own, Prophet.  I don’t know how I can add a doggie-welcome birthday party to any of my Daisy stories, but the concept is just too delightful not to record.

The invitation came by email.  My neighbor’s granddaughter was in town for a week, and a good deal of that time was going to be taken up with three special birthdays–my neighbor’s daughter and each of her two granddaughters had celebrations.  I would love to tell you the little girls’ names, they are so precious, but I try not to use even first names of people under 18.  I’m all about safety, even on the internet.

Prophet the dog, dressed up with doggie treats

Anything for a doggie treat. Party on!

“Tomorrow is (my granddaughter’s) birthday and I was wondering if you could bring Prophet over for a short visit,” said the note. “We just thought it would be fun for (her) if Prophet was a surprise guest at her birthday party.  She just loves him and talks about him constantly!”

Hello toy store!  I love the excuse to go into a toy shop, see the latest goodies and pick up something “I always wanted” as a kid.  I picked up a little something for each of the children and headed over.  I tried to have Proph lug the packages, but couldn’t find his doggie hiking pack and so we walked over with the gifts in a terrific fold up shopping bag I have.  Just before ringing the doorbell, I stuck the bag of gifts around Proph’s neck.

Between the time the doorbell rang and they answered–all of about 10 seconds–Proph managed to get a paw stuck in the bag with the goodies.  Our first five minutes were spent in de-tangling Prophet from the toys. Luckily, nothing was damaged and everyone remained calm.

Then Proph realized he was in heaven.  Three little people were all over him and he knew he was the star of the event.  He laid down and let the little fingers run all over his body. Then, for all the hard work of laying down and not licking too much he got treats.  Lots of doggie treats. What dog could ask for more?

Soon we went outside.  Prophet played hide-n-seek, one of his favorite games, then lick whichever child wasn’t watching and eat one of the girls’ soccer balls–the pretty one in pink and black.  We scooped up the ball and put it into an old kennel that was at least two sizes too small for Prophet to fit in, and let the play proceed.

Prophet helped clean up in the yard of anything interesting to sniff.  He found an old steak bone, no doubt a treasure acquired by the fox who has been known to nest in my neighbor’s yard, and carried the thing around for all to see.  We took that away and he got more treats.

Later, Proph performed his tricks for the children–sit, bang! fall down, say grace, and an attempt at roll-over.  The last one was hard, as Proph is about twenty-five pounds heavier than an ideal 85.  Still, he got over once, and this was a party, so no watching calories for him on that day.  More treats.

At last, there were photos.  Even the littlest guy, a toddler who wasn’t quite sure about a beast who could look him in the eye laying down and has teeth as large as the pictures of the big bad wolf patted away and smiled for the camera.  And of course, you guessed it, Proph had to have payment for sitting still–surprise–more treats!

We went home, and Prophet fell right asleep. Parties are hard work, I guess, for good doggies like Prophet.

One time I had to make grain-free treats for my dog.  We were testing him for allergies, so the vet encouraged me to make my own version with oat flour.  I am not known as a great cook (that is a post all in itself), but my dog, picky eater though he may be–not!–loved this recipe I adapted from The Doggy Bone Cookbook:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons molasses

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix your wet ingredients, then slowly add the dry.  Pretty standard cookie steps. When you have an oatmeal cookie look going on in the bowl, scoop out melon-ball sized treats and stick ’em on a cookie sheet.  Pop them into the oven for about 35 minutes.  They taste rather bland for people, but my dog loved ’em, and the cooking makes the house smell nice and homey.

Have fun and happy party times with your own doggie.

Daisy’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One of Daisy Arthur’s favorite snacks is homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.  Why?  Because I love those lovely, chewy, reduced-guilt goodies myself.

cookie photo by Janet Hudson <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://nopsa.hiit.fi/pmg/viewer/images/photo_3838762018_603317f827_t.jpg"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" property="cc:attributionName" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganfeast/3838762018/sizes/m/">Janet Hudson</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a></div>

This photo by Janet Hudson sums up my love of the world’s best cookie.

I’ve been eating oatmeal raisin cookies since I can remember.  My mom, then sisters made them while I was growing up, and later, the box-top recipe for them was the first I followed to any degree of success.  When I think of that Quaker Oats man on the round containers, my mouth immediately begins to water.

Thing about cookie recipes is that no matter how good or bad they are for you, they always seem to taste good at every stage of the making.  Yes, I admit, both Daisy and I are spoon and bowl-lickers from way back. Can’t you just taste that lovely sweet-salty flavor of butter mixed with brown sugar?

And the oatmeal itself is a treat for me.  My grandfather had a small kitchen of his own when he lived with us. I remember going to his “apartment” for breakfast sometimes, and he would serve me oatmeal in a tea cup.  The grayish-white goop was made so much better when he stirred in a little red box of raisins.  But the best part of all was how he would allow me to cover the top of my oatmeal–and I do mean cover it–with a thick layer of brown sugar.  Probably half-inch–maybe an inch–of brown, delicious, melting sweet flavor, that sat there until I made pretty swirls in my breakfast cup.

I don’t remember Grandpa laughing at me, or scolding me for using too much sweetener.  He would just sit across from me and let me explore breakfast with my four-year-old ideas of what tasted good, and use a non-stop stream of consciousness talk to his much older, quieter and most generous spirit.

Over the years, I came to think of oatmeal cookies as “reduced guilt” treats, because after all, they had oats in them that were good for you.  And lets not forget about the raisins.  Those are good for you too, right?

I don’t make these goodies too much anymore. My special man has diabetes and doesn’t need any more sugar in his diet.  Besides, he never liked those cookies, preferring the English butter cookies or Indian gulab jamun. But whenever I think of oatmeal cookies, I can’t help but smile.

Heading off to breakfast.  Having my usual bagel.  But I taste a bit of heavenly memory each morning with the kind of bagel I have–cinnamon-raisin.  I think Grandpa is somehow with me for this meal.

THE RECIPE

I never “improved” the original recipe from the folks at Quaker Oats, so there is nothing “special” about the recipe I use, except for the memories. Please click this link to see how the folks at Quaker Oats suggest how to make my favorite oatmeal cookies.

Photo by Janet Hudson.