Monday, April 26, 2010

Nodaway Humane Society

I volunteer with the Nodaway Humane Society, which operates our community's animal shelter. As a no-kill facility, our cages are always full of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens who - through no fault of their own - do not have loving homes to call their own.

SPAY or NEUTER your pet, folks. Unless you are a professional breeder, the responsible duty is to keep your precious pet from adding to thousands of unwanted litters each year.

Some of you might think you don't need to. "My dog stays indoors. She's safe." But what happens if you have a fire or a natural disaster that requires evacuation and she gets separated from you? Or if she gets out one day? Takes a little tour of the neighborhood before wandering back home? That's all it takes. It's happened before. It'll happen again. SPAY your dog, please!

Or the male of our species might think, "I CANNOT do that to my dog. He's a guy! It's inhumane!" No. It's HUMANE. Studies show spayed/neutered animals - on average - live longer, healthier lives. So get over it.

Because we are a not-for-profit, we partner with a lot of different organizations and agencies to be successful. Our community is also blessed to be home to Northwest Missouri State University, which has a ton of students committed to our cause. One of them, Doug Kimball, recently produced a new public service announcement for the Nodaway Humane Society. AWESOME!

View it here at:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gooey Butter Cookies ROCK!

OK. I don't cook. I have a husband for that.

But I do like to bake. So when I needed a great idea for a New Nodaway Humane Society luncheon/fundraiser, my husband came to the rescue with this fabulous recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies.

Where, oh, where have you been all my life, you little drops of heaven??!

The cookies. Not my husband.

Can't wait to try the chocolate version.

These were super simple to make. Just five ingredients and VOILA!


Note: I didn't have trouble with the sticky dough. A lot of people commented that they put the dough in the fridge overnight. I didn't bother. Just use the powered sugar like flour and roll them in it, ala sugar cookies. Also, I used a convection oven (with parchment paper) so the cooking time was adjusted to 14 minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chaser goes to school

Thanks to my son's preschool for letting us bring Chaser - Wondermutt of West Edwards Street - to Show and Tell today.

Gabe introduced her to his classmates, mentioning she is 7 years old, a Golden Retriever and - I quote - "eats everything."

Chaser behaved very well. She even performed a few tricks. Although Roll Over was a little difficult on the slick floor. The kids didn't care. They said to give her the treat anyway. Thus, she loves them for life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Creature comforts

I hadn't heard anything out of the dog for a couple of hours this afternoon, so I went looking. And found this.

Now what kind of dog insists on getting her own pillow for a nap?

A retriever, I guess.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cooking up trouble

It was like a scene from “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

Except it was in the kitchen, my husband looked like he’d been shot and the dog was drinking beer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I hate to cook, but my husband LOVES to cook. That’s why I married him. Well, that and because he knows every line of “The Breakfast Club.”

In any case, he is most at home behind a stove stirring up something guaranteed to make the rest of the household ooh and aah in delight.

But that’s only when things go according to plan. If not…well…it’s time to duck and cover like you’re practicing for nuclear bomb drills ala 1952.

“GAWDDAMIT!” roared from the kitchen, followed by a few more curse words normally reserved for a Quentin Tarantino film.

I cringed and said a little prayer of thanks that our four-year-old son was playing outside, out of range of words that would undoubtedly earn a time-out if repeated at school recess.


Part of me wanted to grab the little guy and run for the hills, making a last-ditch effort to save ourselves and start a new life elsewhere.

But another part of me, that part I blame for the horrifically bad perm of 1989 and other unfortunate decisions based upon morbid curiosity, urged me forward into our kitchen that sunny afternoon.

As I walked in, my husband turned around and – holy mother of God!

“Were you shot??!” I screamed in horror, pointing to the large red stains blotched across his gray T-shirt.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and whipped him around, looking for the exit wound. Because – you know – that much blood usually means there’s an exit wound. Probably made by a large-caliber shell. Fired from – let’s say – a sawed-off shotgun.

At least that’s what I learned from watching “CSI.”

“OK,” I said, taking deep calming breaths, “here’s what we do. You wait here while I call 911.” Pause. “Oh, and by the way, how much is your life insurance policy worth again?”

He carefully asked, “Why?”

I shrugged and waved a dismissing hand, “Oh, nevermind,” and reached for the phone.

“Geesh, I’m not hurt,” he said. “Just mad.”

I looked around the room and asked, “And the kitchen looks like a triage center because…?”

He muttered “stupid tomatoes” under his breath and headed for the sink.

“Oh, those are tomatoes,” I said and pointed to his clothes. “So exactly how did they explode? Were they booby-trapped or something?”

He ignored my question and growled, “How do you get tomato stains out of clothes?”

“Honey,” I laughed and pointed to his shirt, “there ain’t enough stain-stick in the world to get that out.”

I leaned over to look at an overturned bowl on the counter, a large blob of tomato balanced delicately on the edge while the rest of his friends were splattered across the surface, over the side and onto the floor.

“Is that dinner? Because I’m thinking Martha Stewart wouldn’t really approve of your methods here,” I said.

He barked, “I was crushing them to make sauce.”

Now, I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about cooking, but I do know that they sell nice little jars of crushed tomatoes at these places called grocery stores.

So I told my husband that.

“This is better,” he replied darkly.

I looked at the mess and asked, “How exactly?”

“Because it’s fresher,” he answered. “The sauce will taste better.”

“Is that before or after you scrape it off the floor?” I managed to ask before turning to run for my life outta the kitchen.

And that’s when I tripped over the dog and landed in what appeared to be a puddle of – I leaned down and sniffed – beer.

“Uh, do you know you also spilled your beer?” I asked my husband while pushing the dog away, praying that I’d caught her before she lapped up too much of the brew.

God help us if we end up with a drunk 100-pound Golden Retriever.

She’s enough trouble sober.

“MY BEER!” my husband screamed and collapsed on the floor sobbing. “THAT WAS MY LAST ONE!”

And that, my friends, was the final straw and a sign it’s time to call for take-out.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Paw Prints

Three months later and the weather finally cooperated so we could use my mom's Christmas gift to Chaser: a paw print kit.

I wasn't sure what to think when I opened the box. Other than my mom must really hate me. It looked entirely too complicated for someone of my non-crafty nature. But I prevailed. Probably because I followed the directions. That's a rarity. I'm usually a Let's Wing It kinda gal. That's when the real trouble starts.

However, I'd like to note for the jury that my husband's only contribution to the project was saying, 'You'll never get her to do it,' then walking off to get a beer.

Oh, ye of little faith. There was no biting. No growling. And the dog was well-behaved too.

I'll have to find a special place for this. It's much too pretty for the yard.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Took Chaser for a walk over to campus yesterday. Note to self: even if dog is on a lead, do NOT let her anywhere near the water. No matter how adorable said dog may be.

So.....she took a little unauthorized swim in Northwest Missouri State University's Colden Pond. Fortunately, she failed to pull me in after her.

Here she is laughing at me. Seriously. The dog was laughing. Then she shot me a look that said, "No idea why you're so mad, Mom. Why put a pond there if they don't want anyone swimming in it? Waste of a perfectly good pond, if you ask me."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kite is a four-letter word

The instructions clearly stated, “Quick & Easy Assembly.”

Clearly, they were insane.

I upended the bag and no fewer than 63 pieces fell onto the table.

For a kite. You’d think I was building the space shuttle.

Two hours and three paper cuts later, we were in business. Standing in our large yard, with no power lines and the only trees edging the lawn in back.

I lifted the kite into the sky where it caught a gust of wind and immediately soared.

I yelled to my 4-year-old son, “RUN!” and off he went. The kite trailing behind, following him with each turn. Until....

I warned, “Don’t fly so close to the ---.” Too late. “Trees.”


I looked at the brightly colored kite swinging from a branch 30 feet in the air. Then a large gust of wind caught the kite and tossed it downward where it snagged on a lower branch. “Keep it coming, baby,” I whispered with hope. “Keep it coming.”

I told my son to hang onto the string handle and give it some slack, allowing the wind to blow the kite further down. It came to rest on a limb about 10 feet above my head.

I told my son to stand watch and, “Whatever happens, do NOT let go of the string. Got it?”

I strode to the garage and grabbed the sides of the extension ladder, heaving it upward and over so I could carry it out.


That thing is a LOT heavier than it looks and, uh, did that crack used to be in the garage floor?

I leaned over and tried to wrestle the ladder back to a standing position, promptly blew out my shoulder and dropped it on my foot.


No friggin’ way was I hauling that torture devise across the yard. On to Plan B.

I returned to the yard and saw the kite had dropped even further down the tree.

I jumped, took a swipe and discovered it was only a mere inch from my reach.

“Curse you, gods! You will rue the day - RUE THE DAY - you made me only 5 feet, 4 (and three-quarters) inches tall!”

With one final Herculean effort, I jumped high enough to snag the kite from the tree. I hollered in triumph and waved my prize in the air.

Only to watch my son let go of the string and it shoot to the top of the tree where it was looped over a branch.

Damn physics. OK. Plan C.

“You hold the kite while I run inside and grab some scissors,” I instructed to - well - the dog. Because my son had gotten bored and was gone.

I looked around and noticed a small chunk of tree limb on the ground. I put down the kite, used the limb to anchor it in place and ran into the house.

I was gone for only 8.2 seconds. I know. Because I timed it.

I ran back to see the kite flying off over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard.

“What the hell?!”

Then I noticed the dog halfway across the yard. With the anchoring limb in her mouth.

Insert swear word here.

I retrieved the kite from the neighbor’s yard, cut the string, threw said kite into a crumbled heap and lit it on fire.

Now to get the string outta the tree. I pulled on the loose end, trying to pull down the handle as close to me as possible. It eventually snagged about 6 feet above me.

Two minutes later I was swinging a heavy garden rake above my head, trying to reel in the errant handle.

And, yes, it’s as stupid - and dangerous - as it sounds. Especially when I realized I needed a few extra inches of height and grabbed a leftover landscaping brick and stood atop it.

OK...I stacked three of them THEN proceeded to wave said heavy rake over my head thinking it’d been a while since I’d been to the E.R.

With no small amount of luck, I actually caught the darn thing and pulled down, reeling in the string and vowing the next time my kid wants to fly a kite, he can ask his dad.

But he’ll need a new kite first ‘cuz this one is toast.