Angela Bocage


Another doggalicious food idea…

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 four-leggeds, part 2: the doggalicious recipe!

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. 

My partner thinks it’s unbelievably disgusting,  so I try to do all this while she busies herself elsewhere–but then, she eats sausage, commercial pork, even the fast food hamburger, any of which scares me rather more. But my pup, as I’ve said, is doing great. I’m sure there are imperfections in this diet, and that conscientious dog chefs could teach me a lot, and I plan to continue learning about making my dog’s food better; but as Carol Lea Benjamin is my witness, this homemakde food’s a lot better for him than commercial food, and less expensive than many of the organic dog foods I actually trust. 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!

Please smooch your puppy for Berry and me! S/he’s extremely lucky to have you if you made it through this entire post!!!


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. I’ll continue this tomorrow with what the process actually involves, some recipe ideas, and more canine nutrition links. Meanwhile, there’s an adorable Chin over there I must cuddle…


A young male’s harem! Older females’ infected brains! Is this, like, a late April Fools…with Whales?!

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, hello!

All this is me bein’ pretty silly, perhaps. But the leader of my pod, if I had my druthers–and was a pilot whale–would be the brilliant thealogian*/scholar-witch Mary Daly. Mary has had to time travel, a lot, in both directions, to hook up with Matilda Joslyn Gage and the future-Amazons of Lost and Found Continent, and what she’s learned thereby is now available to all of us women and critters caught in the truly messed up world of the early 21st century in her most recent book Amazon Grace. She lays it out: animals, religion, the environment, runaway anti-Biotic technology…in her inimitably spirited, poetic language, she presents an uncompromising philosophy grounded in the ethic of loving life. Don’t just get this book–read it aloud in good company, and similarly, all its predecessor works: they’re available at www.marydaly.net. Tell her I sent you! (*not a misspelling!)


“–Look, a rose-breasted grosbeak!”

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

I decided to make a change. I have too many things going on. I want to talk about playing bass, or a great new book, or a  site where you can find great stuff for dogs, or other items that didn’t seem appropriate to my original vision of this blog…so I started another one. So far, it’s mostly the beauty and skincare info from this one, but not entirely. So, from now on, if you want the info on skin care, hair care and beauty, without all the other things I want to write about Philadelphia, animals, books, the law, ADD, et cetera, I started a separate blog just for that purpose. For pure, lovely, friendly, fun Dyke Beauty….my other blog’s devoted to just that: www.dykebeauty.wordpress.com. OK, animals do enter into things as well, but that’s the “dyke” part–isn’t it usually the case that we who were blessed with the lesbian gene also have the Dr. Doolittle one?  🙂 


Underrated Urban Decay, and supporting companies that don’t support cruelty

One of my favorite makeup companies is Urban Decay. Their grouchy little garbage cans of shadow with flip-up lids are among the most underrated products around: get past their campily overpunked names like “gash,” “uzi,” and “asphyxiation,” or my fave: “polyester bride,” and you’ve got really lovely, wearable, durable color that’s as silky as a dream and as sheer or as bold as you choose to make it. It’s the combination of these shadows’ tenacity and their creamy-silky texture I can’t praise enough… but people like the brilliant and adorable Linda Rosewood(www.moremadonnalessjesus.com),  who’ve never bothered with makeup, will never share my wonder at Urban Decay, because they weren’t dopey enough in high school to wear the horrid, chalky, crumbly cheap-ass drugstore crap eyeshadow I endured. I shudder at the bitter memories! But perhaps if someone were to lure such ladies to indulge themselves in a playful session of ornamentation, they’d like the little garbage cans, or the bright satin of Urban Decay’s deluxe shadow line, in spite or because of the fact it comes instead in jewelboxy little thematically embellished mirrored compacts with more elemental names like Peace, Honey, Graffitti, and Fishnets. Peace is acid-trip cerulean, Graffitti pungent green, Honey warm dark gold.

I swear my makeup obsession really began when, as little Southern girls, bunches of us would be playing outside and choose one to be The Queen,  put flowers in her hair and berry juice on her lips, bedeck her with more flowers, and any “dress-up stuff” fabric or jewelry our female relatives let us play with, and adore the female beauty of our peers (which could be anyone’s)! Actually, it more likely started with those female relatives. Look at my cousin Jennifer Horne’s “Aunts” poem (linked to at right). Of course, we were damn lucky we didn’t get poisoned by the wrong berry, bitten by brown recluses, or felled outright by some deadly birdshit-borne virus…

Like deep-Southern little girls, the Urban Decay folks know how much fun makeup is supposed to be. More importantly, they are one of the rare companies whose sites take a stand against cruelty. Too Faced only talks about that anymore in terms of the boys’ (excellent!) makeup brushes, and nary a mention remains on Stila’s site–although of course after Estee Lauder sold the company it was bought late in 2006 by an “investment firm” that also runs, among other things, an aluminum extrusion company, a couple of plumbing supplies, building materials, synthetic textile, and other companies of no discernible aesthetic focus. (But wait, don’t give up on Stila yet–instead look for more Stila news here first, because an insider has promised to give this blog the real scoop real soon!) Although Urban Decay states that they are “not a vegan company,” they are nevertheless kind enough to designate, with an appropriate paw print, the significant number of their products which are vegan.  The site http://www.caringconsumer.com/ can help  find other companies we critter-lovers can actively and happily support. PETA also offers a downloadable catalog of cruelty-free companies as well as a yearly caring consumers’ catalog one can order at http://www.petacatalog.org.


On eyelashes, part III; and getting my butt kicked…

In previous posts on the fringe, the lovely femmey fringe that we peek out from under or bat to express our various selves, I’m sure I’ve mentioned Diorshow mascara. My teenage correspondent and I have now gotten ourselves some of their new flavor, Diorshow Blackout. Today was my first experience with it, and it was sure enough beautiful, deeply black, very lengthening. Like its progenitor, it also sure enough dematerialized after a morning of hard work in a very warm law office. However, it did not flake or crumble into my sensitive easily-inflamed eyes, nor was it stiff or spidery. I’m certainly going to give it another go.

Before I leave this subject for the moment, just want to mention two hallowed principles of mascara that I have always ignored: wiping the wand before application, and making sure each tube of mascara you obtain is then tossed out after six months. I say, no no no–because while those principles no doubt sell more mascara, I’ve never had any harm from old stuff. Perhaps I just use it a lot and it’s always run out before six months? No, don’t think so, because none of the lovely wands of Diorshow I sometimes find in purses I haven’t used in a while 😉 have never harmed my eyes either…and they are rather touchy, irritable eyes. And wiping the mascara off the wand before using it? Redonkulous! The stuff’s supposed to get on your eyelashes, and all those stiff little bristles are designed to comb it through! (I feel such outrage when confronted by baldfaced lies, can’t you tell?) Also, 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.

On why I’m not the best makeup reviewer/blogger today….let’s review, now, some of the symptoms of depression. There’s sleep trouble, either doing it too much or too little. Eating troubles, likewise. Feeling worthless, or to put it in mundane terms, like you’re not doing a very good job as a mom, a racing-pig trainer, a manicurist, a competitive swimmer or whatever your passion is, and like you’re not doing very well for your children, or racing pigs, or manicure customers, or swimming coach, even though you love them very much. And loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities; which means, say, that even though you absolutely love going out on the balcony of your Venetian palazzo to blow soap bubbles of an evening, you suddenly notice several sunsets have passed without their wobbly rainbow shiny fragility floating out over the canal and you just don’t have the energy to care too much. It’s a mysterious and no doubt cyclical girly-thing and will no doubt be over any day now. Meanwhile, some sleep is in order…


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. 


Where minimalism fears to tread, unless you’re Tilda Swinton: a mascara primer, part I

From the cats’ eyes of the 1950s to the smoky eyes of just last season, sandwiching Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy and Joni, Madonna and Cyndi and Chrissie and Joan, Halle and Angelina, in between, fashion has never yet in my lifetime (and for some time before that personal milestone, smile) championed minimalism where the dark fringe of our eyes is concerned. Only Tilda Swinton is the exception, that lovely androgynous thing: to practice eyelash minimalism, thanks to her, is to follow her, and it’s simply futile. You’re Tilda or you’re not.

Like anything and everything else in fashion’s shimmering barometer of zeitgeistical fluctuations, this could be changing as I write, but it has been oddly consistent for fifty-some years. So for the next few weeks at least, perhaps months or a year, we’ll be emphasizing that penultimate vestige of approved body hair. [Or for even longer, should one live away from the coastlines and practice the wily art of protective coloration.]  I’m going to cut to the chase here; what’s the best way to help our eyelashes carry the burden, be the concentrated microcosm of all the information sent by healthy shiny rich shadowy fur? 

It’s essential to use a fine primer before applying mascara. While many of Shiseido’s products have inspired me to rapturous awe over the years (starting in my twenties, theirs was my first comprehensive skincare system), their mascara primer is not among the pantheon; it’s shockingly useless. Smashbox makes an adequate mascara primer, if used in conjunction with the balance of the system I’m breaking down here, but it’s to Sue Devitt’s that I always return. Devitt, justly revered for the Sari sheer lipcolor that is minimalism at its prettiest, makes the mascara primer product that would simply evaporate on contact when it hit Sephora shelves in the more amusing parts of Manhattan. [Remember, as with any product review here, please don’t hesitate to share with the class if you’ve discovered a splendid alternative.]

Primer is the first key, heat is the second. Even a so-so drugstore mascara will be more effective if you heat the tube under hot tap water until its very warm to the touch before applying. When you do the same with your Sue Devitt lash primer and your Diorshow black mascara, you’ll get an effect so gorgeous you may want to skip eyeliner. To be continued!


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