Angela Bocage

More on dog feeding

Forgot to mention one of the key ways my doggalicious recipe tempts a pup to eat. I warm it in the microwave (the amount of time would depend on how much you’re warming; for my little bitty guy it’s 20-25 seconds) and add enough yummy organic chicken broth to make sure it’s not too hot, and a teaspoon or two of olive oil for skin, coat and general good health. Warming is terrific because the molecules excited by the heat are more olfactorily stimulating; the good smell interests the dog, whose super-good sense of smell is much better than his or her sense of taste.

Poor dogs…when I think of how many are abused, left to die, live horrific lives in puppy mill cages or laboratories, and the fact that something like 75% of dogs bought as puppies are in shelters or euthanized before they’re two years old, it’s like the ones with loving caretakers in proportion to the number of dogs is like the number of American kids in proportion to the number who make it in the NBA or win the lottery. A companion dog’s won the human lottery if you love him or her and meet his or her needs with kindness and I hope every day that I do that for my clever, silly, loving, independent, wonderful little friend…


Feeding the dogs

Here’s the dog food even my Chin enjoys. If human, Berekiah would be a 1940s Oxonian scholar from the land of the Chrysanthemum Throne, with a little of the 15th century rabbi protagonist of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon thrown in (his namesake), in any event a gentle aesthete who’s never eaten like a lumberjack. He’s thriving and healthy on this diet.

Starting with about a pound of ground turkey, choosing the package with the highest fat content, I cook it thoroughly in a skillet on medium to high heat with about two cups of raw organic oats, mixing and turning as it cooks. This gives that part of the recipe a chance to cool before all the parts are added together. With a large square Tupperware container nearby, I then start cutting up the rest of the ingredients and turning them into mulch in our (bottom-of-the-line!) food processor: between one and two loose cups of the leafy parts (i.e., cut off most or all the stems) of parsley, either curly or flat leaf; a small-to-medium size raw sweet potato or about a third of a good-sized yam;  four to six smallish tender carrots–all the vegetables and fruit I’m mentioning are best if organic of course; a good-size crookneck yellow squash; a large apple, any apple with a deeply pigmented peel, having removed the stem and core. Sometimes all of this takes a while to mulch, especially the raw sweet potato/yam, but this is probably just a foible of our food processor. If by now the meat and grain portion is cooled, start adding it to the well-mulched mulch. If at any time the vegetable/fruit portion is failing to mulch, add a tablespoon of olive oil. If the meat and grains haven’t cooled, this is a good time to take a bunch of doggie vitamins appropriate to the size of one’s pup and pulverize them in a coffeebean grinder dedicated solely to this purpose and available cheaply at any number of discount stores. I put in about ten because it takes my small doglet about two weeks to eat this whole megillah, and a similar number of Wellness joint care, pulverize ’em like coffee beans to espresso-fineness, and check and see if the meat/grain mixture’s cool. If so, I start adding it to the mulch in the food processor and mulching it all together; it becomes kind of a pate, or similar to crunchy peanut butter. The overflow, and any already-well-mulched portions, start getting spooned into the Tupperware, because all of this won’t fit in the bowl on our FP, it might in yours. At this point about a quarter to half a cup of fish oil gets added in, as well as a similar amount of brewer’s yeast. I like Red Star, the flaky yellow stuff, but haven’t found it out east so have been using whatever kind’s at Whole Foods. Et voila. Now, if you don’t believe me…and have an iron stomach…dare to research what the average commercial dog food is actually made of. And don’t forget to check if it’s been recalled for toxicity.

The Arachnophobe and the Butch Knight in Shining Armor

I’ve only met one individual, my lovely co-worker Mahesha, who seems to really understand arachnophobia. She agreed that when a spider’s on the ceiling, the worst thing, ever, is for some klutz (or–and a very arachnophobe-specific paranoia kicks in here: a crypto-arachnophile! *shudder!*) to take what will inevitably appear to the arachnophobe as a half-hearted shot at it causing it to dangle or drop rather than eliminating the threat! The memory of the fear of arachnid revenge this phenomenon evokes is visceral; so is the red rage at the inept or possibly species-quisling would-be saviour. Mahesha, Goddess bless her, even understands that part of the fear is that of the spider’s inexorable return to avenge. It would appear to be some kind of preverbal-infancy-rooted powerlessness thing or guilt thing….but analyze away, and it makes no more difference to the physical panic of the phobic experience than the fact that I intellectually know all about our garden friends, their spinnerets and spicules and elegant design, their gorgeous webs and mythic relations to a Goddess who wove a story of injustice into her cloth. I am unable to sleep with a spider wandering the walls or ceiling until it’s dead or physical exhaustion enables me to rationalize myself to sleep. 

What happened to the tarantula in one of my favorite movies, Nadja, upsets me each time I see it. I cried like every young girl who reads Charlotte’s Web. Nevertheless, when I saw a strange shadow on the ceiling last night, and slipped on my glasses to resolve the blur into a spider the size of a cookie (including the longish legs–if it had been the kind with the sturdy legs I would’ve screamed) I knew it had to die. “I shall kill it,” announced my gallant beloved upon my confirming the sighting, musing that she usually uses magazines for that. Reading her mind effortlessly, I knew she was thinking that her print-crack, People magazine, had only just arrived and she’d been just about to read it.

I offered her a thick paperback instead, as my racing thoughts about the situation took an anxious turn. We are mature women, as she puts it, “when left with no viable alternative.” We’ve been together for some time and by no means initiated cohabitation on the second date or even the second year of our coupledom. “My driveway is steep, to discourage U-Hauls,” quoth she. But would she fail at this most important task? (Providing the psychic sense of safety I’m too immature and irresponsible to provide myself?) Would I be enough of a jackass to let it affect my trust in her if she missed?

She declined the book, and stood on the bed with her shiny new mag in hand as I babbled incoherently about the importance of waiting until the spider was over the bed and not the pile of knitting yarn and clothes and books that have accumulated on the my-side floor, so it wouldn’t be lost in the mess if it fell: no body, no proof of death! I was at the same time attempting to underline the importance of getting it in the first blow. The importance, the importance. WHAM! The tiny body fell. On the sheets. My love scooped it up in some Kleenex, threw it in the toilet. “Burial at sea,” she muttered, humming Taps in acknowledgement of the nobility of her opponent; and proceeded to freight the groaning symbolism to the breaking point by peeing.

“You’re peeing on the spider,” I croaked. “Aren’t you afraid it could crawl up and bite you on the–”

“It’s dead, Angela,” she said firmly.

“You are my destiny,” I concluded.

Feeding the four-leggeds

In the face of the expanding pet food crisis, it’s a great time to look at better ways to feed our critter friends. I added a link today (under “Animals”) to the FDA’s regularly-updating site, as more and more commercial foods are found to be dangerously if not fatally toxic, and to an article by Carol Lea Benjamin that’s really quite sensible about preparing your dog’s food more or less as you do your own. Benjamin, an award-winning writer and respected real-life dog behaviorist, provides some common-sense encouragement to dog lovers on this matter. Check out the rest of her site as well, because her “Rachel Alexander and Dash” mystery novel series is so true in its depiction of the woman-dog relationship between the private eye and her rescued-from-abuse pit bull. These books are at times very dark, at times very moving, and, just as often, as goofy as any ongoing human-canine communication gets. As a bonus, they give even your jaded-New-Yorker reviewer a vividly-realized downtown Manhattan.

I started feeding my li’l pup, a seven-year-old Japanese Chin, homemade food last September. His coat is shiny and faster-growing, he has more crazy-puppy energy with which to enjoy our new home in the Philly ‘burbs (I just know he’s thinking, “I have my own entire dog park!”), and his notoriously finicky appetite’s frequently given way to something approximating gustatory eagerness. Homemade food’s also been far more economical than a good canned food, even though I get organic ingredients.


A nature show my sweet wife left on TV for white noise was addressing creodont-to-cetacean evolution, but once that had hooked my ADD brain in, it soon enough pissed me off with a description of a whale male joining a pod and fertilizing some female whales as “he forms a harem…the writhing bodies stimulate the young male.” And then, describing the pod structure of pilot whale life, no sooner does the plummy-toned O.W.M. narrator grudgingly admit they’re organized around experienced adult female leaders than he launches into speculation that the older females lead the pods to suicidally beach themselves because of ear and brain parasites. Oy.

Hey–look at lions. I did a teeny comic about them once in a 3D cartoon anthology, so trust me a minute here. What’s lion life really like? The girls choose what guys they keep around, which ones get to reproduce, which ones even get to eat, that’s what. “King of Beasts served by his harem” my luscious ass! Leo’s a big ol’ baby and Leonie and Leah do the real work!

So what did this baleen orgy really look like? I psychically tuned into the female whales to find out. The young ladies, it turns out, were sayin’ to each other–all of this in far more expressive and nuanced Whalish of course, but I’ll go ahead and render it in my own native split-personality English–first one says, “Ladies dontchu even think about leavin’ me alone with the sperm donor fogoshsakes!” And then another goes, “Whatta you tawakin’, we only let ‘im come neeah the pod for a few houahs a yeahh, stahhp kvetching-g–we’ll awwl be theah just like awwlwayz!” And then they’re all rubbing and swooping around. “Ah swayah, is he evah gohna git duhhhnnn?!” asks the third rhetorically. Then the water fills with a cloudy liquid, the gals roll around in it, and then they’re out of there. They’re not no harem–they’re cetacean sistahs who are sharing a donor!

“–Look, a rose-breasted grosbeak!”

That’s the back of the t-shirt. The front is, “They say I have ADD. But I think…”

We who were blessed with the Queer gene tend to also have the Dr. Doolittle one

Stuff unsupportive of cruelty


2. PETA’s downloadable catalog of cruelty-free companes:


Wipe the mascara brush off before using it? No.  The stuff’s supposed to get on your eyelashes, and all those stiff little bristles are designed to comb it through! The glorpier it is when extracted from the tube, the better the brush is for resting gently for a moment at the very base of your lashes where they’re thickest, wiggling minutely back and forth until it’s stuck in them, and then sweeping all that glorp out to the ends for gorgeous black curving fringe.


First, do no harm–a crucial footnote to any mascara primer

First, the latest post from Bass Cat Lady reminds me that the removal of mascara needs to be addressed pronto–before one more person’s eyelashes are “decimated”! The best way to avoid breakage, hands down, is to remove all eye make up, especially mascara, before bed or as soon as it’s no longer deemed necessary. Since mascara formulations must strike a balance between staying power and easy removal, any regular user has probably ripped out lashes, at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end of the spectrum, has seen only a grey under-eye smudge in the middle of the day to remind them they even put any on in the morning. One example: as much as I love Dior’s Diorshow mascara, I learned to fear the tenacity of their waterproof formula–for my needs, it was too, too solid. I accept that I have to watch for flakes and creeps under my eyes during the workday (and cheerfully concede the incipient allegory’s subtle as a brick!) but one can usually take a powder room moment to repair and reapply. If you can keep a tiny bottle of Lorac’s regular or oil-free makeup remover with you, or even better, a plastic bag with a soft makeup sponge or two soaked in either formula, you can be ready for anything. Almay’s eye makeup remover wipes are a very frugal and readymade alternative, effective little white disks in their own small flask, but contain so much solution that those without extremely dry skin will probably have to clean up the clean-up with a dry tissue. And if you’re too exhausted by bedtime to do anything else, like my loved ones who toil as a homeworked-swamped high school student and an ER doc, at the very least swipe a pretreated Almay disc or Lorac-saturated sponge over your tired eyes and gently pat your whole face with a damp warm washcloth for sweet, eyelash-healthy dreams. 


One green one blue

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