Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recipe: Pepped Up Pinto Beans

I found the original recipe in a newspaper way back in the '90s. I changed things around just a little. I hadn't made it in a few years and after enjoying it last night, I have no idea why.

Please remember to prepare the beans several hours before cooking time (refer to the link in instructions).  My family and I enjoy them served over freshly made cornbread and topped with shredded cheese. (Edited to add: beginning in 2016 I no longer use dairy and have found Daiya (vegan) shredded cheese to be outstanding!)


2-1/2 cups dry pinto beans
1-4 ounce can chopped mild green chilies
2 to 3 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced


1.  Prepare the beans.

2.  In a large pot (8-quart size is ample) combine the drained beans, chili peppers, chili powder, salt, garlic, and 5 cups water.

3.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 2 to 2-1/4 hours or until beans are slightly mushy.

4.  Using a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid put beans over cornbread and top with shredded cheese.

5.  Refrigerate the remaining beans (with liquid) in an airtight container. They make excellent leftovers!

Servings:  8 to 10

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead in the Family
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #10
Author: Charlaine Harris
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Published: 05/04/2012
Publisher: Ace
Genre(s): Science Fiction/Fantasy


After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Fae War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new vampire king. And as the political implications of the shifters' coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. Also, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie...very, very angry...


Granted, it's been nearly two years since I read the last Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) novel. I may have forgotten the general "feel" of the series. I'm still not completely sold on the need for the fairies. I see them as "the last straw." How many different kinds of supernatural beings need to be in one book/series? Does nothing surprise anyone in Bon Temps any more? The unexpected has become...boring. Only once was a character surprised by anything (Pam) and her response was so perfect it elicited a long overdue chuckle from me! The whole story seemed to plod along without much emotion, humor, or passion. Sookie used to be interesting. Her life has become so overrun by these "supes" and yet it seems very mundane. Where's the thrill? Where's the silliness? Where's the chemistry? I'm definitely going to look for those missing elements in the next Sookie book and I really hope to find them in abundance!

Vegan Dessert: Carrot Cake With Creme Cheese Frosting

Forever Carrot Cake

This recipe makes the perfect carrot cake every time!  The vegan creme cheese frosting is outstanding!  I usually bake it in a 9" x 13" glass baking dish that has a fairly tight plastic cover; perfect for refrigerating. It also makes 18 cupcakes that requires reducing the baking time and halving the frosting recipe.  My family and I prefer dried cranberries (orange essence) to raisins. I've noticed that organic carrots really do make a favorable difference in the taste as well.

From The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek.

Why We Read What We Read and Like What We Like (Meme)

What's the biggest book you've read recently? Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.  I read the eBook (4697 pages of medium font), but the paperback edition contains 896 pages!

What's the lightest, most "fluff" kind of book you've read recently?
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich. Nobody gets me laughing like Stephanie Plum and her gang.

Which do you prefer?

Paperbacks, hardcover, or eBooks? When I seriously began reading (buying) novels in the early 90's I preferred softcover. When I quit buying novels and started patronizing the public library I learned that hardcovers were more comfortable for me to hold and use my book light with. When my sister gave me her 1st generation iPod touch and a gift certificate to for Christmas in 2008 I discovered the absolute joys of reading eBooks. An iPod can hold thousands of books. I don't need a book light or even my reading glasses because the font size, color, and background are all easy to customize. You can highlight text, add notes, and search for words. I will always love books but when it comes to novels I would prefer all of them to be digital.

Fiction or Nonfiction? Definitely fiction. I look to books as an escape.

Poetry or prose? Prose.

History or historical fiction? I like reading both but prefer historical fiction. My memory is so deficient that I cannot remember anything. I would rather read for enjoyment and not recall what I read than read to learn and not remember a thing.

Series or stand-alones? I enjoy both but have found series' to be more enjoyable. Some characters deserve to be re-visited over and over.

Classics or best sellers?
Definitely best sellers. I have trouble with the language in the classics. I get so bewildered that I cannot enjoy them.

Lurid, fruity prose or straight-forward, basic prose?
Straightforward every time. I loved reading Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Charlotte Brontë because of their beautiful "way with words" but I had to re-read portions over and over to truly understand what they had written.

Plots or Stream-of-Consciousness? A good plot is what keeps me turning the pages.

Long books or short? Long. If they are page-turners!

Illustrated or non-illustrated? Well, I LOVE my illustrated maritime books. My favorites have photographs on every page with captions rather than page after page of text.

Borrowed or owned? I don't mind borrowing from the public library but I never ask to borrow a book from an individual.

New or used? The whole book store experience used to make me feel almost euphoric. I loved opening a pristine book knowing that I was the first to read it. I'm still that way with library books. I think being the first person to check out a book is...comforting? The pleasure I get reading eBooks on my iPod (4th gen) is the absolute best though. It is a technological marvel with almost limitless possibilities. I am not an app addict, but I do have 7 different book/reading apps. ;>)

Do you keep all your unread books together?
I have gorgeous oak barrister bookcases that used to house all of my books. Those cases are now filled with DVDs. Our previous home had built-in bookshelves.  Our current home has only 3 bookshelves in a closet.  When we moved here I gave away every last novel I had.  My husband's are in the office. My daughter has two 5-shelf book cases in her room.  My maritime, cookbooks, and other reference books are in that closet in my study. My history/genealogy books are on my desk.  My Twilight movie books are in a dresser drawer. I used to have a "to-be-read" (TBR) drawer filled with books. Now there are only 2 paperback books in there. It also holds my bookmark collection and a few promotional author/book items. I am able to do a simple search of my Book Collector database to find my "to be read" books.

What unusual/niche books do you read?
I am enthralled with ocean liners. The classic and beautiful ladies of the early 20th century, particularly the Titanic. However, I am smitten with the modern marvel, Queen Mary 2. I currently have 22 maritime books, most of which I purchased through eBay Sellers and the bargain area of book stores. If I had any budget for it I would be scouring eBay for many more books about the grand dames of the ocean. Pictorials are particular favorites of mine.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review: Tough Customer by Sandra Brown

Title: Tough Customer
Series: Standalone
Author: Sandra Brown
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Published: 08/10/2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre(s): Contemporary Suspense, Crime Fiction


When a hardened cop turned Private Investigator gets a call about a woman he hasn’t seen in thirty years, he must race to Texas to stop the stalker terrorizing her. A blistering new thriller from the bestselling author of Smash Cut.

Colleagues, friends, and lovers know Dodge Hanley as a private investigator who doesn’t let rules get in his way—in his private life as well as his professional one. If he breaks a heart, or bends the law in order to catch a criminal, he does so without hesitation or apology.

That’s why he’s the first person Caroline King—who after a thirty-year separation continues to haunt his dreams—asks for help when a deranged stalker attempts to murder their daughter…the daughter Dodge has never met. He has a whole bagful of grudging excuses for wishing to ignore Caroline’s call, and one compelling reason to drop everything and fly down to Texas: guilt.

Dodge’s mind may be a haze of disturbing memories and bad decisions, but he arrives in Houston knowing with perfect clarity that his daughter, Berry, is in danger. She has become the object of desire of a coworker, a madman, and genius with a penchant for puzzles and games who has spent the past year making Berry’s life hell, and who now has vowed to kill her.

Dodge joins forces with local deputy sheriff Ski Nyland, but the alarming situation goes from bad to worse when the stalker begins to claim other victims and leaves an ominous trail of clues as he lethally works his way toward Berry. Sensing the killer drawing nearer, Dodge, who’s survived vicious criminals and his own self-destructive impulses, realizes that this time he’s in for the fight of his life.

From acclaimed bestselling author Sandra Brown, Tough Customer is a heart-pounding tale about obsession and murder, the fragile nature of relationships, and, possibly, second chances.


This was the 52nd book by Sandra Brown I've! I do believe those gripping and juicy parts she writes so well are what make me such a loyal fan. Tough Customer had them. They merely seemed farther into the book than I feel is her usual style. Dodge and Ski were both excellent hero material! The ending was not tidily wrapped up, but promising enough not to be a downer.

Eagerly awaiting her next book...

Music Meme (Day 30) - My Favorite Song At This Time Last Year

With my poor memory I had to go look at a top 40 chart for February 2010.  Going down the list I bypassed several songs I've already chosen for this challenge or like enough to have in my music library.  The first song that I went "Aha!" over was listed as Number 21.  It is from a self-titled album by an Irish pop/rock band.  The song has a lovely melody, smooth vocals, meaningful lyrics, and always grabs my attention when it's playing. 

Here is the official music video of Breakeven by The Script. 

Breakeven (lyrics)
Songwriters: Andrew Frampton/Daniel O'Donoghue/Mark Sheehan/Steve Hussy/Steve Kipner

I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing
Just prayed to a God that I don't believe in
'Cause I got time while she got freedom
'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven

Her best days will be some of my worst
She finally met a man that's gonna put her first
While I'm wide awake she's no trouble sleeping
'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven, even, no

What am I suppose to do
When the best part of me was always you and
What am I suppose to say
When I'm all choked up and you're okay

I'm falling to pieces, yeah
I'm falling to pieces

They say bad things happen for a reason
But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding
'Cause she's moved on while I'm still grieving
And when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven, even, no

What am I gonna do
When the best part of me was always you
And what am I suppose to say
When I'm all choked up and you're okay

I'm falling to pieces, yeah
I'm falling to pieces, yeah
I'm falling to pieces
(One's still in love while the other one's leaving)
I'm falling to pieces
('Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven)

You got his heart and my heart and none of the pain
You took your suitcase, I took the blame
Now I'm tryna make sense of what little remains, oh
'Cause you left me with no love and no love to my name

I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing
Just prayed to a God that I don't believe in
'Cause I got time while she got freedom
'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't break
No it don't break, no it don't breakeven, no

What am I gonna do
When the best part of me was always you
And what am I supposed to say
When I'm all choked up and you're okay

I'm falling to pieces, yeah
I'm falling to pieces, yeah
I'm falling to pieces
(One's still in love while the other one's leaving)
I'm falling to pieces
('Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't breakeven)

Oh, it don't breakeven, no
Oh, it don't breakeven, no
Oh, it don't breakeven, no

And, I'm done with the 30-day meme...whew!  I hope I was able to introduce someone to music they enjoy and might not have found on their own.  That will have made this challenge worth it!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Music Meme (Day 29) - A Song From My Childhood

There's a little ditty my dad used to sing.  He was a sailor and even though I'm fairly certain he probably sang several songs (of the sailor & Navy variety) I can only recall a few of the lyrics to one.  I can still whistle a little of it too.  I don't remember when he started singing it to me or when the last time was, but it was probably when I was an adolescent.

 I searched high and low on the Internet for the lyrics, as I remember them, and couldn't find any mention of it...

Wait!  I just now found the original lyrics!  The song was Remember Me (I'm the one who loves you) sung by Dean Martin.  The only difference between its lyrics and my dad's lyrics is one line.  I've put Dad's line in brackets.  I wonder who changed that one line and made it a song for a military man to sing? 

Here is Dean Martin's version of Remember Me.  I can close my eyes and recall my dad singing, whistling, and playing his harmonica to his version of the song with these lyrics...

(Remember Me) I'm The One Who Loves You Dean Martin

When you're all alone and blue
No one to tell your troubles to
Remember me, I'm the one who loves you [I'm the Duty Chaplain]

When this world has turned you down
And not a true friend can be found
Remember me, I'm the one who loves you [I'm the Duty Chaplain]

And through all kinds of weather
You'll find I'll never change
Through the sunshine and the shadows
I'll always be the same

We're together right or wrong
Where you go I'll tag along
Remember me, I'm the one who loves you [I'm the Duty Chaplain]

(And through all kinds of weather
You'll find I'll never change)
Through the sunshine and the shadows
I'll always be the same

We're together right or wrong
Where you go I'll tag along
Remember me, I'm the one who loves you [I'm the Duty Chaplain]
Remember me, I'm the one who loves you [I'm the Duty Chaplain]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Music Meme (Day 28) - A Song That Reminds Me of Something Unpleasant

I tried to think of a song that reminded me of something personally unpleasant, but I just couldn't think of one.  However, there is one song that commemorates a tragic disaster that occurred November 10, 1975.  You've probably already guess it if you're of a "certain age" as The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Music Meme (Day 27) - A Song I Wish I Could Play

A song!?  The truth is I can't play any song because I can't play any instrument.  I can't sing worth a darn either, but that doesn't keep me from "feeling" music.  So, how do I choose a song I wish I could play when I can't choose an instrument I wish I could play?  I have to think about this...

...okay, I've decided - the song is While My Guitar Gently Weeps.  Wait for it...not because of George Harrison's version as much as Jeff Healey's.  I'm not disrespecting George (the songwriter), but I really admired Jeff's abilities.  He remains one of my favorite musicians even after his death (N.Y. Times Obituary) in 2008.

Here is Jeff playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps on his Fender Stratocaster (in his lap). *sniff*

Music Meme (Day 26) - A Song I'd Like My Daughter to Play

My daughter has been taking piano lessons for a couple of years.  She's had about 40 half-hour lessons to date.  She has an electronic keyboard in her room, but doesn't spend much time playing.  At Christmas in 2009 she received the Twilight Score Piano Solo Songbook.  It contains the music for 11 songs, including my favorite piece.  She practiced it for quite awhile before her teacher requested she try another piece (Phascination Phase), which she's doing quite well with.  My wish is for her to be able to play Bella's Lullaby proficiently enough that she's comfortable with me preserving the memory on video. Pretty please, Sweetie! ;;)

*Carter Burwell's (composer) Twilight Page

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Rabbit Habit

Lewis (1995 - 07 Sep 2007) and Clark (1995 - 26 Jun 2008)

We adopted Lewis and Clark from the House Rabbit Society in May 1998 when they were about two years of age. They were unrelated but each was a Netherland Dwarf mix, which translates to being tiny but mighty. Even though they could be quite timid they also had times when they were fearless. They never craved attention like my other rabbits, but they withstood years of me picking on them; i.e. grooming, trimming nails, and just 'cuz they were so darned cute, holding and petting them.

They lived in carpeted basement bunny bedrooms for several years. The rooms were spacious, cool, and filled with all good things - to bunnies that is. Deluxe housing, excellent food, and lots of toys to climb on, chew, and toss. They mainly ate timothy hay with small quantities of oat and grass hay just for variety. They received a limited quantity of Oxbow Bunny Basic T Pellets, and a healthy serving of organic veggies daily. Neither one ever weighed much more than three pounds the entire time I had them.

They were the best of buddies and rarely got grumpy with each other. Lewis was the braver of the two. Clark was the caretaker, which meant that he groomed Lewis, but Lewis rarely groomed him.

Their huge multi-level condo with attached exercise pens in the basement was their main residence. However, they would stay in an ex-pen in the living room when required - certainly less roomy accommodations, but receiving more attention and treats probably helped make up for that.

Lewis passed away 07 Sep 2007 leaving Clark all by himself. Clark withstood the loss of his BFF much better than I had predicted, but it was so sad seeing him without his buddy. Clark's health started to decline the following spring and he died 26 Jun 2008. I sincerely doubt that I'll have another houserabbit. The reality of it is that rabbits require a lot of special care and can be quite an expense. I'll always have a soft spot for rabbits. Once a bunny lover, always a bunny lover.

Haley (14 Feb 1993 - 03 Aug 2003)

I was told that Haley was born on Valentine's Day, which makes perfect sense, because I felt like I had been struck by Critter Cupid's arrow when I first saw him. He was a Broken Chinchilla Mini Rex and was barely a handful at 8 weeks of age.

I made a spot for him and his custom KW Cage in the living room. He was never a particularly spunky bunny, but he would manage a few binkies now and then. He'd occasionally jump up on the sofa too. The UP part was easy, but the DOWN part was something he never got the hang of. He loved chewing on his willow baskets and flipping his toys about. Things with bells were the most entertaining.

The hormonal naughtiness was avoided by having him neutered at 6 months of age. He got along very well with my dogs, cat, guinea pigs, and birds. In fact, he and my cat, Willie, played a great deal together.

I used to take him on outings to work and to the park on his "H" harness. I even took him to Bunnyfest (San Diego House Rabbit Society's annual event) several times. He was such a good boy on the harness. We both loved people's reactions when they found out he was a rabbit and not a cat!

Haley traveled well during both of my long distance moves. The first time I had him in a kennel on the front passenger seat. The second time, he and Hanna were in the back of my SUV in their individual cages.

He and Hanna never bonded to the point where they could be together, but they liked to hang out with a cage front between them. After Hanna died in 1997 Haley became depressed. I knew the only thing to perk him up would be to have another rabbit in the room with him, so in May 1998 we adopted Lewis and Clark. I rotated free time between Haley and Lewis & Clark. That routine worked out very well for many years.

Haley always came to the door of his penthouse and presented his head for petting. He was my husband's favorite (NOT a bunny guy my husband) and he still speaks of Haley with great affection.

My precious Haley died of cardiac arrest while at the veterinary hospital 01 Aug 2003. Ten and a half years together wasn't nearly enough time to have him in my life. His ashes and adorable spirit will remain with me always.

Hanna (27 Dec 1988 - 31 Jan 1998)

Shortly after becoming manager of the new Petco Store in Poway in 1989, my employees and I were considering what animal we wanted for our store mascot. Most of the stores had cats. We all loved cats but wanted to go another route because we were concerned about the safety and welfare of a cat in a building where the doors would or could be opened continuously. We didn't want to risk a cat escaping outdoors and coming to harm. Somehow or another we decided upon a rabbit. Well, we set out trying to find a rabbit to adopt, and through word of mouth found out about some young ones that would soon be available. My employee, Linda, and I drove to a nearby town and spied the most adorable young Holland Lop. We both thought her too precious for words and promptly brought her back to the store. I named her Hanna, and we kept her upstairs in the office for the first two weeks so she could settle in.

We assembled a double sized hutch on the sales floor close to the checkout area and front doors. We set it up with a litter box, water bottle, crock, hayrack, blanket, and toys and then introduced Hanna to her new, deluxe accommodations. To say that she received a lot of attention is a major understatement. She had people that came to the store strictly to visit with her. (Years later I thought we should have formed a fan club for the little darling.)

The salesfloor was too slick so we would take Hanna upstairs for exercise where we had indoor/outdoor carpet, and she could gain the traction a young bun needed to do some serious playing. Well, when Miss Hanna Nanna was not downstairs to receive visitors, the customers showed their disappointment. Many times I was pleaded with to go upstairs and bring Hanna to visit with her adoring public. I don't think she minded for the most part. She was big into all the fussing that went on. This lasted until she reached puberty and turned into 4 pounds of raging hormones. She would lunge, grunt, and bite most anything that intruded into her territory. We made it through this time in Hanna's life with some physical scars, but were quite thrilled with her wonderful turnaround after she was spayed.

Hanna's Hutch was decorated for all the holidays and special store functions. About 1990 we started doing education and adoption days with the start-up chapter of the House Rabbit Society in San Diego. On those days Hanna had to relinquish part of her domain to visiting rabbits. She was the queen, and was not pleased when her admirers lavished attention on those "other" rabbits. After the events, it took Hanna several days to return to her usual darling self. However, as the years went by, she mellowed a great deal and had very few of those bad Hanna days.

When I left San Diego I got permission from the company to take Hanna with me to Oregon. I had a new KW Cages Metro Cage made for her, and after arriving in Portland in November of 1995, she had to meet my rabbit, Haley, for the first time. After several unsuccessful attempts to introduce them in a neutral area, I gave up and decided to keep them housed separately, and to rotate them for free time. This worked out quite well, and Haley became quite attached to Hanna as long as there was a cage front separating them. He would linger in front of her house frequently. It took a lot of work on my part to get him moving or playing away from Hanna. During this time in Portland, Hanna developed a malignant tumor. I opted to have it surgically removed but knew she would be affected again. My poor sweet Hanna was such a trooper through the whole ordeal.

My doggies were very good with my small animals, and both Hanna and Haley were completely relaxed with them. Hanna was particularly fond of lying down by my dogs, Sydney and Tucker. It always amazed people how well they all got along. What a peaceable kingdom I lived in!

In May of 1997 I packed up and moved to Virginia. The rabbits and doggies made the trip across country very nicely. In the new place the bunnies had their own bedroom in the cool basement. I put indoor/outdoor carpet down and covered the lower part of the wall with tile so the buns would not be tempted to nibble. The room was filled with toys, a tunnel, a cardboard castle, and a chair for their mama to sit on for the longer visits. Things went smoothly for them until Hanna developed more tumors. She was nearing 10 years of age; and after discussing the situation with the vet, I decided to let Hanna come home and live out her days as long as she seemed comfortable. For the last two months she retained a healthy appetite, but had continual problems with gastrointestinal stasis. Each day I had to hold her under the faucet to wash her, and then I would put her in a towel to massage her dry. On January 31, 1998 she wouldn't eat, and her tumors had become very inflamed. That day my husband drove us to the vet where dear Hanna Nanna was euthanized. The veterinarian was so compassionate and gentle--something I was so appreciative of during this sad time. Even though I was going to have a baby in little more than a month, I felt empty. How devastating it is to lose a beloved animal companion. I wasn't the only one who was grieving either; my husband and Haley both did in their ways. Hanna's portrait has continually graced a wall in our home, and her adorable spirit is still within my heart. Hanna had many admirers, but I was blessed with being her lifelong companion, and for that I will always be thankful.

Brenner (1984 - 1993)

 Brenner was a Tort Holland Lop - shy and sweet. He was gorgeous and with those glorious Lop ears, hard to resist. I adored him, but he much preferred spending time with Wembley, his guinea pig buddy. I had them both for nearly 2 years before I gave them to a girl I worked with. They were safe with her, where they would not have been with my new husband's aggressive dog.

Aloysius (1975 -  )

Aloysius, a New Zealand White, was my first rabbit. A cousin in Northern California "unloaded" her on us in 1975, when she was just a few weeks old. She rode home to Southern California in the back of our clean horse trailer. She was supposed to be a he. She was supposed to stay small. She matured to 22 lbs! That's about twice the size of a normal White. She would sit on the sofa next to me and take up two places. The dogs were afraid of her, but she was a sweetheart!

Related Links:

A New Dawn

"I'll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time."  ~ Emily Dickinson

Digital photograph by Virginia Hill taken with a BlackBerry Curve 8330 on 02/16/2011. Some Rights Reserved (please see Creative Commons License in the sidebar.)

Music Meme (Day 25) - A Song That Makes Me Laugh

I wouldn't say this song makes me laugh, but it certainly evokes a chuckle or two from me each time I hear it.  The first time I did hear it was in 1981 (the year it was released) while driving to Disneyland with my friend, Beth. (Her cassette.  My truck.) This and several other songs from the same album still grace my music library, but this one remains my favorite.  The song is Big Balls from the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep by AC/DC.  The double entendres (lyrics) are to die for! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sydney: My Sweet, Silly Girl

Ginger Lynn's Sydney Marie
19 Nov 1986 - 30 Sep 2000

It was 1986 and I had wanted a female Black-Tri Australian Shepherd for a long time. I was in a situation where I knew I could do well by one, so my friend, Connie, gave me my choice of a Black-Tri female from a litter coming up. She sent me photos of the litter at two weeks of age and that was the first time I laid eyes on Sydney. I told Connie which one I wanted, and then I waited.

My first husband and I had purchased our first home and were packing up to move when it was time to go and get Sydney. Connie had arranged for her to be driven to Los Angeles County and I would need to drive up from San Diego. On Tuesday, January 6, 1987, after a long day at work for both of us, my sister, Margaret, and I got in my husband's truck and headed north to L.A. County. Whoever said it never rains in Southern California wasn't out driving that night because it was pouring so hard it was nearly impossible to see. About midnight we arrived at the home of the retired veterinarian who was keeping Sydney for a few hours after the other folks had dropped her off. He took us around to his beautiful backyard where there was a small kennel on the patio. He said something like, "Watch out ladies" and then opened the door. I had had visions of a sickly, tired puppy crawling out of the kennel but instead here came Syd, like a black-tri tornado! She was 8 1/4 pounds of dynamite and ready to herd. She went after my heels once that evening and after a shake of her scruff and a sharp, "NO!" she never tried to heel a human again.

I was on vacation for the move so Sydney was with me 24 hours a day. I had bought a bunch of toys for her and about a half-dozen Nylabones. I had a Nylabone handy at all times. I had them in my pocket, in her kennel, in my car, in her toy box, etc. There was no way I was letting those razor sharp puppy teeth near me. She housetrained quickly and quit chewing on things that didn't belong to her. She was spayed at 6 months of age. Shortly after that I started allowing her in with the horses. She wasn't aggressive in her herding instincts. She mainly liked to hang out in the pasture with them and keep them in line.

She wasn't typical of Australian Shepherds in one way - she was entirely too friendly and too silly for her own good. She loved everyone and didn't have a stand-offish bone in her entire body. She thought she was so tough when it came to defending her property from dogs wandering by outside the gate. In reality she was a sheep in wolf's clothing. One day a very small Terrier walked past our property and Sydney high-tailed it down the long driveway to tell it a thing or two. She was barking and growling and her hackles were sticking up about a foot. When she got to the end of the driveway the little Terrier started to lunge at her and bark, well, Sydney let out a sharp "yip" and ran as fast as she could back up the driveway. When she reached the relative safety of the garage she stood her ground and the tough act returned. She was 60 pounds of the wiggliest Aussie in the world, but in her mind she was tough enough.

I insisted that all my animals got along with each other. Sydney, being a herding dog, had learned to be gentle with animals smaller than she. One particular night while I was out feeding the horses after work, I heard a lot of scrambling going on in the big "muck bucket" that we used to carry the hay. I shone the flashlight into the tub and about a dozen terrified little mice froze for just a bit before they resumed their struggle to try to get free of the prison they'd fallen into. I set the bucket outside of the hay shed and Sydney came up to inspect. She stuck her head down inside the bucket and the mice continued to do mad leaps to try and get out. She stayed there with her head in the bucket, ears flopped forward with the silliest look on her face. The entire time she made not one attempt to harm them. When I tipped the bucket and they raced away Sydney stayed put and didn't even give chase. That further reinforced what I already knew, that Sydney had the kindest of souls.

When Sydney was nearly 6 years old I adopted Tucker. After the initial few minutes where they huffed and puffed at each other their relationship was outstanding. They were great companions to each other and the best for me. She was much taller than Tuck so she would lie down and wrestle with him, as she did for all the smaller dogs that wanted to play. She was a very thoughtful playmate for the little guys and very protective of all the small animals I had.

The big cross-country move was nothing for either dog. She settled into life in a townhouse with lots of stairs and a tiny backyard. Of course, she was almost 11 years of age and starting to slow down a little. She was always careful with little creatures and when my daughter arrived, she was the same. Careful, gentle, and patient.

Late in 1999 Sydney started having health problems. She was losing her sight and hearing. She lost a toenail and we found that she had a nasty fungus in her paw. The contraindications on the anti-fungal medication prevented me from considering it, especially at her advanced age. Instead she was put on a long-term antibiotic regimen. She took her meds like a champ and ate up the yogurt that I added to her food each day. She did well for several months but in August 2000 her behavior became erratic. On September 30 she didn't want to stand and couldn't seem to make sense of anything. I knew that horrid day had arrived. My "Syddy Wyd" was leaving me. I carried her to the back of my vehicle and brought Tucker with us to the vet. I couldn't stay in the room when she was euthanized but Tucker and I came back in and sat with her afterwards. No amount of Kleenex could have held the tears I shed for my Syd. You just can't let such a special part of your life go without sending her off with a salute. I had Sydney cremated. Her ashes are in an oak box with her name on a brass plate. In 2008 Tucker's ashes joined hers. My sweet Sydney has been gone for many years but her essence remains with me.

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Tucker: My "Little Man"

Tucker at 16 Years
23 Oct 1991 - 09 Jun 2008

I adopted Tucker from The Foundation For the Care of Indigent Animals in San Diego on October 23, 1993. I had fostered many dogs for Penny at my store, but there was something about Tucker that made him stand out in my heart more than the others. For example, one day I had him outside for a walk when I had to run back into the store to answer the phone. He got all excited running in with ears flying and tail flagged. While I was on the phone I watched him as he sat quietly with the most loving expression on his face. The way he looked at me, all adoringly...well, I had to have him! Of course, I already had Sydney, my Australian Shepherd, and then there was the horse, the rabbit, the two cats, two birds, two guinea pigs, and 3 aquariums! I certainly didn't need another animal. I thought it would be nice for Sydney to have a canine companion when I wasn't home. After doing some minor renovations to the house, and having the adoption approved, Tucker came home from work with me. I had my sister, Margaret, bring Sydney outside to a neutral area where they could be introduced. After the initial grumbling, growling, and raised hackles they started to get playful with each other. When we saw that we knew they would get along fine.

He may have seemed like a small dog but that's because of the Corgi length, or rather the shortness, of his legs. Besides the Welsh Corgi he probably had Springer Spaniel in him and maybe some Longhair Dachshund. Hard to tell with these wonderfully unique "Special Blend" doggies. People used to ask me if he was Sydney's baby. She was a black-tri too, but, no they simply complimented each other well in every way.

When I moved across the country in 1997, Sydney and Tucker rode in the cab of the U-Haul Truck. Sydney was on the seat between my friend, Sally, and me. Tuck was on the floor on the passenger side. They were so good the whole trip. They thought it was neat to be getting constant petting and going for walks in new places. They enjoyed the night in the hotel too! Probably because it wasn't moving!

One of the reasons I was approved to adopt Tucker was that I didn't have children. He was very aggressive toward young boys and not all that nice with girls either. At the time I adopted him I certainly wasn't planning on having a child so I foresaw no trouble in that area. In 1997 when I found out that I was going to have a baby, my husband and I were VERY concerned that Tuck would have to go back to Penny in San Diego. I read about what to do to acclimate dogs to having a baby in "their" home and went to work getting Tucker and Sydney prepared. When we brought our daughter home at 2 days of age, the doggies were very curious and totally accepting of the new addition to the family.

On September 30, 2000 Sydney had to be euthanized. She had almost made it to 14 years of age, but our beloved companions never live long enough. I took Tucker with us to the vet so that he could say goodbye, and have some idea that she was gone. I kept him with me continually, and he handled her absence fairly well. However, he did not tolerate being left alone like he had before Sydney left us. We ended up taking him with us whenever possible but sometimes he just had to stay home.

He not only tolerated my daughter, but appeared to feel great concern for her as well. He was very trusting of her and showed his vulnerability without hesitation. He was the best "upside down" dog I'd ever been around and would often lie on his back for her to pet him. Most of his serious sleeping was done on his back with his legs shamelessly splayed. He had a wonderful Bowser Donut Bed, which he loved but when he got too warm he headed for the hardwood floor.

As he got older he had cloudy lenses, a gray muzzle, and an occasional pain that caused him to limp. But, even at 17 he still got really frisky at times. He acted like he was going to climb the giant trees after the squirrels. He'd rush out the door with his head and tail up lookin' for trouble. He followed me around so much that I felt guilty for all of things that kept me going from morning 'til night. At 15 he developed a heart murmur and a cough for which he received medication daily. He didn't seem to get markedly worse until June 7, when he couldn't stop coughing. The cough suppressant didn't work and he was miserable. We had him euthanized on June 9 and his remains cremated the following weekend. We'd been together for almost 15 years. I still cry when I look at his photos and videos. I hope I never forget the feeling I got when my "Little Man" looked at me. I am certain he knew how special he was to me by the way I looked at him.

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My Feline Friends

Cats are such a unique and strong presence in a home. I often think about my cats, who are all gone, as they gave me much joy and affection.

I have spent time with many other cats at animal shelters, by fostering them, and by volunteering with a feral cat group in California.  Not all cats are aloof. Really, they're not.  (Willie was the only one that fit that description.)  The other 6 were attentive, loving, and loyal.  Pretty good percentages if you ask me.

Honey (1994 - 2009)

We adopted this handsome orange tabby from a family member in 2004.  He was so timid and frequently hid under the bed.  Thankfully, he left that behavior behind shortly after coming to live with us.  He was quite vocal and was not shy about asking for attention.  He was tall, lean, and pretty active for a senior kitty. He loved being groomed and he rubbed his face on just about anything you held in front of him, particularly books while my daughter was reading them.  He had a cat bed but preferred sleeping on my daughter's bed.  He enjoyed sitting in the windows and he faithfully used his scratching post.  He waited politely every evening for playtime with the laser light toy and he raided the trash can for paper wads to bat around.  Honey was a very cool cat and superb a companion.  We all miss him very much!


This big guy was one of two feral cats that lived in my father's neighborhood.  My dad thought that Stuff (named Fluff 'n Stuff by the kids in the neighborhood) was a kitten from the female cat.  Dad eventually had "Mama Cat" spayed, and Stuff neutered.  He built them a little house and fed them so they didn't have to raid trashcans to eat.  Mama Cat disappeared but Stuff stayed around my dad's house.  When my dad was leaving the state I took Stuff to my place of employment.  He was so frightened in the beginning, but as time went on he became quite friendly with my employees and me.  He adored being petted, scratched, and groomed.  He adapted to being an indoor cat very well; faithfully using a litter box and his scratching furniture.  He would come downstairs to keep watch over me while I was on the sales floor but would run upstairs if something frightened him.  He was somewhere around 8 years old when he came to stay with me.  He lived for about 10 more years.  For starting life as a feral cat, Stuff sure seemed to appreciate his lifestyle change.  I certainly appreciated the affection he freely gave to me.


After Topanga died I had to get through my grief period.  After that, I still wanted to have a house cat, so I went to some local shelters in search of one.  In December 1987 my friend, Deborah, and I went to one of the local shelters to spend time with the cats.  After several shy but sweet kitties came to visit us, Willie was brought in.  He was a big guy with a horribly aggressive personality.  The volunteer said he was termed "un-adoptable" because he always scared potential adopters.  Well, silly me, I put in my application, and the wait was on.  In a few days, I was notified that I was approved to adopt him.  On my day off I drove to the shelter to pick him up.  I had brought a plastic kennel, but they insisted that I take him home in a cardboard one.  By the time we arrived home, he had successfully torn his way out!  For the first month he remained in the master bedroom away from the 4 dogs, and all of the small animals.  Every time I tried to pet him he would scream at me and walk away in a tiff.  Once, while I was giving him long strokes down his back he turned around and bit through the skin between my thumb and finger!  I learned then that I had to make him come to me.  As the months went on we worked out a routine.  He had no trouble with the dogs or small animals.  He would follow me around the house while I did chores.  He greeted me each day when I came home from work, and would lead me to his food bowl so that I could watch him eat.  He slept on the bed with me, but always at the foot.  He was wonderful to bathe and groom, but the veterinarian and his staff were scared to death of him!  I always had to go get him out of the crate after they were done taking care of him. He would drink out of the dog bowl only after swiping his paws over the surface of it for a few minutes.  He loved cantaloupe and would eat it to the rind.  He would lie only on the back of the couch when I was seated on it; always above, never beside me.  He was so dominant!  He never purred, and his only vocalizing was a scolding type of meow.  He's been gone for many years, but my memories of him are still vivid.


In 1983 a litter of two-week old kittens was dropped off where I worked.  There were 6 of them.  During the day we tried to place them with someone, and at the last moment, a man (who already had 13 cats!) took 5 of them.  I was elected to take the 6th one home to raise.  I named her Bailey.  She took to the Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) and grew up to be a healthy, beautiful girl.  She was supposed to be more of a foster cat than my personal one, but I ended up keeping her until she was 3 years old.  I placed her with a nice family when I got married because my new husband's dog was horribly aggressive.  One day at work I got a phone call from a woman who had found poor Bailey dead on the side of the road.  She still had her collar and ID tag with my name and contact information.  I called the family and found that they were on vacation.  The person who was taking care of the animals hadn't known she was supposed to remain inside and had let her out.  Another beautiful little girl lost in the dangerous world outside.


This stunning girl belonged to one of my grandmother's friends.  Tuyen's father was Tonkinese, and her mother was a black and white Manx.  She had lovely coloring, brilliant blue eyes, no tail (called a Rumpy Manx), and was a polydactyly (extra toes on each foot.)  To say that Tuyen wasn't quite right, intelligence-wise, is an understatement.  She was sweet but had no clue how to adjust to situations.  She rarely seemed to learn from life.  A favorite veterinarian suggested that Tuyen had schizophrenic tendencies.  I tried to keep her safe from herself, and from the world, but barking dogs so horribly frightened her one night that she escaped out-of-doors, and was hit by a car.  After a frightfully long drive to the emergency hospital at midnight, they told me she could not survive her injuries.  The poor sweet girl was only 3 years old.


If there was ever a cat born especially for me, Topanga was it.  She lived at a barn, where I worked the horses.  I ended up taking her mother to get spayed and bringing this little gray furball home with me.  She had a little monkey face and more personality than I had ever seen in a cat.  She loved me as much as I loved her, and she showed it at every opportunity.  She moved with me several times but never seemed to be overly stressed by being uprooted.  She was clean, affectionate beyond description, had excellent manners, and was my feline soul mate.  She always greeted me immediately upon my arriving home.  She would jump up on the coffee table, wrap her front legs around whatever part of me she could reach, and rub me affectionately with her chin, often drooling just a bit.  She would always be in my lap as soon as it was a lap, "doing toes", as I called her kneading.  She would do toes on my legs, turn around, put her front legs on my shoulders, and give me kisses on my chin.  One of her favorite things was to curl up in my clothes or bath towel when I was done with them.  My roommate and I thought Topanga looked like The Pink Panther character.  We would hum the music when she was about, and it surely fit her personality.  For months after she suddenly died from an aneurysm, my mind would picture her running around the corner to greet me.  How lucky I was to have had her in my life!

Kristofer David

When I was 16 a Siamese cat got in our car, came home with us, got out of our car, and roamed the neighborhood...all without us realizing it!  I noticed her one day, asked the neighbors if she belonged to anyone they knew.  All answered no!  A short time later, "Samantha" was living with us and delivered 5 kittens.  Kristofer David was one of them.  We were finally connected with Samantha's owner, but he didn't want her since she had had kittens.  We kept her, had her spayed, and she lived with my grandfather for many years.  Kristofer was never very playful, even as a kitten.  Mostly he was into rolling over and over and watching the birds through the windows.  He would sleep on the bed with me, mostly keeping to himself.  However, when he wanted out of the bedroom in the morning I had better get up and let him out.  One morning after I continued to ignore his "polite requests" he jumped up on my chest, stared me in the face, and let out with a howl like I'd never heard before.  After that, I responded in a timely manner.  I didn't want to push my sweet boy to that extreme ever again!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Gypsy Mellodee and Her Foals

Gypsy Mellodee's Photo Album

I was fifteen years old when Gypsy Mellodee ("Gypsy") AHR #106548 (view pedigree) was foaled (2:35 a.m.) and it was on a school night! My best friend, Lauren, and I had stayed up all night to assist with the foaling then were "forced" to go to school anyway - how unfair! Gypsy was our third of three fillies foaled that year. The other two pestered us all through the night while we waited for Gypsy's arrival. Her dam, Bonita Velvet (Syzygy x Asil Vanity), was bred by Alice Payne. Her sire, Sahara Prince, (The Real McCoy x Sahara Queen), was a multi-champion stallion bred by Frank McCoy.

Right before her first birthday Gypsy scratched the cornea of her right eye. The cornea ulcerated and we were very worried that she might lose her eye. The veterinarian prescribed a treatment (keep her out of the sun & medicate the eye around the clock) and it worked! Her vision was poor and her lens remained cloudy, but her eye never required further treatment. One thing did happen though. Gypsy started snorting. At everything! A dark spot on the ground, a piece of paper, a halter on a fence, but the one thing that caused a continual chorus of snorts was soap suds. She was bathed very frequently (to keep her white) and she ALWAYS snorted at the soap suds.

She was highly sensitive and aware of EVERYTHING. She was alert to things well before any of the other horses. Even with her "sensitive" nature she did well in halter training and later ground work, i.e. longeing and ground driving. She was just over three years of age the first time I rode her. I'd been ground driving her when I decided to give it a go. I snapped the side reins together and got on her while she was wearing only the surcingle. She walked off with perfect balance and a confident stride!

Susan Pereira leased Gypsy to breed to her stallion, Justin++, in 1978. My grandmother and I were very excited about the upcoming foals from this cross. Justin++ was very tall (15.3hh) with a gorgeous long neck, a well laid back shoulder, and extremely long legs. Gypsy was extraordinarily typey and elegant, but lacked those qualities we so admired in Justin++. The first foal, a colt, was aborted at 10 months. Instead of breeding her back to Justin++ the Pereiras decided on Rho-Keem++ (Khemosabi++++ x Rhodanna). The result was the filly, Sweet Gypsy Rhose. For our foal, Gypsy was bred back to Justin++. My grandmother died before our foal was born and my grandfather requested that I sell the horses for him. Gypsy was sold to the woman who had once owned Sahara Prince. Patti Drennan sent Gypsy to Texas, where Lacy-J AHR# 243719 was foaled on May 12, 1981. She was chestnut, tall, and leggy like Justin++, but received the "pretty" we hoped for from Gypsy. Lacy-J was shown to many championships, including: 1991 U.S. National Champion Western Pleasure 13 and under, and U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Owner 13 & Under in 1990. (View show record.) Lacy-J produced two registered purebred foals: Bannacek AHR# 350881 foaled in 1986 by *El Kasaka and Leather and Lace AHR# 400665 foaled in 1988 by GG Bask Starr.

Bannacek was 1994 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Adult Amateur Owner 40 & Over, 1991 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Amateur Owner, and 1989 U.S. Top Ten Arabian Western Pleasure Jr. Horse.

Gypsy had a grey colt in 1981 by *Posatiw, but he was never registered. He was known as Carnaby Street. I was told that he was gelded, and working cattle on a ranch in Texas. I wrote the young woman who had him, but don't remember ever receiving a reply.

My sister, Margaret, and I bought Gypsy from Patti in 1982. I had not seen her in over two years, and she hadn't been ridden since I last rode her in 1978. She arrived on a rainy day in September with large scratches on her legs and looking quite gaunt. In the space of a month she was looking beautiful and was ready to ride.

I had my fill of ring riding when I was younger, and dreamed of trail riding. Gypsy and my first "major" ride was a 5-day trek to the Cuyamaca Mountains. She may have been a 14.1hh snort-all-the-time, never-get-tired, prissy-looking-girly-girl, but we still enjoyed ourselves on the trail. She neither looked nor acted like the other "trail" horses. She was ALWAYS groomed like a show horse and she was ALWAYS raring to go. She paced in her corral, "jigged" on the trail, pawed the ground when we stopped, and snorted at all things unfamiliar. But what a blast we had, once we made it to the higher elevations where she calmed down and learned to pace herself.

I very much wanted a foal out of Gypsy and after making arrangements with some dear friends I took Gypsy to Santa Ynez to be bred to their very handsome stallion, Abraxas Shah Maar in 1989. "Hugh" was by Ansata Shah Zaman and out of Little Bay. He was tall (15.3hh), athletic, and extremely handsome. After 3 months Gypsy was checked in foal and after her 45 day exam I brought her home. Unfortunately, when she was checked again at 80 days the foal had been absorbed. We were all terribly disappointed by the news, but I couldn't bear to send her away to be re-bred.

In April 1990 I purchased a suckling Khemosabi++++ colt. In preparation for his (Khodachrome) arrival another large paddock was built. I decided to put Gypsy there (because she was so active), and to stable Khody next to Margaret's gelding, MHR Port Typhoon. The day we brought Khody home Gypsy was frantic in her new paddock. I moved her back to her old corral and put Khody in the new one. Gypsy eventually calmed down and everything seemed fine. On July 4th we had a barbecue at our place and as I watched one of my friends riding Gypsy I noticed her limping. She'd never had a lame day in her life. I had the vet out the next day and his diagnosis was that she "may" have an abscess. After several days of treatments with no improvement, he did an x-ray, which showed that her coffin bone had rotated downward...she had foundered! I was totally devastated. We took action with medications, special shoes, constant soaking, bandaging, and a lower protein diet but she continued to get worse. In September her right hoof showed signs of founder. The evening of September 24 I sat in Gypsy's corral with her head in my lap. The next morning, when the vet was already scheduled to visit, Gypsy would not get up. That was it. No more could be done other than attempting radical and very painful surgery. She'd already been through so much. I just couldn't do that to her.

The biggest part of my horse-loving soul died that day with Gypsy. I still had Khody but no other horse could be to me what Gypsy had been. She was buried in the pasture where she had enjoyed her freedom for nearly 4 years. The next year Margaret's beautiful gelding, Port, died and was laid to rest near Gypsy. They had always attracted attention when they were turned out together. What a show they put on and what a striking contrast they were to each other. To lose them both when they were only 16 years of age still tears me up. When I close my eyes I can still visualize them loose together; tails flagged, necks arched, and nostrils flared. They were SO beautiful together and in my memories will always remain so.

Flamoniatar and Her Foals

Flamoniatar's Photo Album

My grandmother, Rose Kennedy, purchased Flamoniatar ("Flame") AHR# 65765 (view pedigree) as a three year old, indirectly from an Arabian horse sale in Utah on June 26, 1973. She was bred by Manuel V. Bauska of Kalispell, Montana, and foaled May 1, 1970. She was sired by Ikoniatar AHR# 28602 and out of Flamingo AHR# 9482. She was a lovely red chestnut with a blaze, snip; partial coronet, partial fetlock and a stocking. She was 15hh and averaged about 1,000 pounds. She had a wide chest, deep girth, short back, long hip, extreme tail carriage, and very sound legs.

We gave Flame time to settle in before starting basic groundwork. After a few months she and I started riding lessons with Nicki McGinnis. I had previously ridden bareback or Western and wanted to try Saddle Seat. Although Flame "looked" Western she moved quite beautifully and was best suited to English. She was smart and quick but had a hot streak, which triggered my temper on a number of occasions. After some months training with Nicki we relocated and found another trainer, Claudia Thompson, who we began basic dressage training with. In November 1975 Flame and I had our first schooling show in Simi Valley.

Flame did really well overall. She placed 1st in Arabian Halter (out of 15 including two Class A multi-champion stallions and a Jr. Champion Filly), 3rd in Open English Pleasure (out of about 18) and took me to a 1st in English Equitation. The thing that bothered her the most that day was the loud clicking noise the microphone made before the announcer spoke. Other than that she was GREAT!

In 1974 Flame was bred to Farlowa AHR# 8545 (Abu Farwa x Farlouma), who was the senior stallion at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center in Pomona. "Louie" was 21 years of age but still a wonderful stallion and well known for siring outstanding broodmares. Flame had two crosses to Abu Farwa and people thought that breeding her to an Abu Farwa son was asking for trouble. However, we had faith that the resulting foal would be fine in the markings department and not have white where the general population thought it inappropriate for a purebred Arabian.

On March 21, 1975 Flame produced a bay filly with a small star, snip and two socks. We named her Faria Loa and nicknamed her Cricket for her routine of play seemed to follow that of a cricket's. Flame hadn't a clue what to do with her foal, but after a week or so warmed up to being a mother.

We took Flame to a couple of Class A Arabian shows, but she was extremely nervous. She placed 4th in halter at one show and 5th at the other. She received some positive comments (a strong, balanced trot and remarkable ground covering walk) from one of the judges who had put her reserve in the English Pleasure Mares class. I felt pretty good with how she performed after she relaxed a bit.

In August 1977 my grandmother leased Flame to Paul and Patti (Drennan) Husband. They bred her to Khemosabi and the resulting foal was Khemos Advocate ("Sport"), a lovely bay colt foaled in February 1979. My grandmother passed away in November 1978. She never got to see Sport or Khelauea, the Khemo colt out of Flame's daughter, Faria Loa. During the time they had her Paul and Patti showed Flame at a Class A Arabian show at L.A. Fairgrounds in English and Western Pleasure. She was also ridden in a parade and an Endurance Ride.

Flame was bred to Rho-Keem++, a multi-champion son of Khemosabi++++ for a 1980 foal. She came home for a brief time before I accepted a position at Pereira Arabians in Santa Ynez. My grandfather gave me the choice of 2 mares to keep. I chose Flame and Cricket. I took them to Santa Ynez where they were kept together in a large paddock by themselves. In October 1979 two women from Hawaii visited the farm to see the horses. One of the women, Susan Moody, fell in love with Flame and we later negotiated the sale. Prior to that time I hadn't considered selling Flame. Susan opted to keep Flame with me until she foaled. Rhose AHR# 223536 was foaled January 29, 1980. Flame was then bred to Justin++ but did not conceive before she and Rhose were shipped to Hawaii.

The original plan was to send Flame and Rhose by air with Flying Tigers, but when the costs kept rising Susan opted to bring them over by ship. I got all the necessary veterinary work and certificates done and on March 11, 1980, they departed Pereira Arabians with West Coast Horse Transport. The trip to Hawaii took about a week and they were quarantined for 2 weeks before Susan was able to take them home to Naalehu on the Big Island.

Flame had the three foals above in California, and these three in Hawaii: Sunset Mist AHR# 241748 (by Silver Sunfire) foaled May 18, 1981; Nazstaja AHR# 281151 (by Nazional) foaled August 8, 1983; and Kims Tiana AHR# 382662 foaled March 19, 1985.

Susan and I wrote back and forth for several years. I kept her up on what Khemosabi, Rho-Keem, and Justin were doing and she kept me up with Flame, Rhose, and their progeny. The last time I heard from Susan was in 1990 when she called to ask if I wanted to buy Flame back from her. Susan had taken Flame to Northern California with her, but when she was returning to Hawaii thought that Flame should not make the trip because of her advanced age (20 years.) At the time I had my mare, Gypsy Mellodee, and my Khemosabi gelding, Khodachrome, so I had to decline the offer. If it were at all possible I would have gladly brought Flame home to live out her life with me and her old friend, Gypsy. I have not been able to find out what happened to Flame, Rhose, or Susan, but still hold out hope that someone who knew them will contact me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Faria Loa and Her Foals

Faria Loa's Photo Album

Some horses have such a strong spirit and are so confident. Faria Loa "Cricket" (see pedigree) was one of those horses. She was foaled March 21, 1975. Her sire was the beautiful Abu Farwa son, Farlowa, and her dam was our double Abu Farwa bred mare, Flamoniatar. Other than having much less "chrome" (white markings) than we expected, Cricket was everything we had hoped for from this cross.

After the initial warm-up period that Flame seemed to require, being a first time mother and all, the first few months of Cricket's life went very smoothly. However, on the afternoon of October 2 Cricket suffered a compound commuted fracture of her left foreleg (cannon.) I had seen her just moments before it occurred and could hardly believe the person who raced to tell me that something was drastically wrong with her. Our local veterinarian arrived within an hour but Cricket was already going into shock. After stabilizing her and wrapping and splinting her leg several of us picked her up and laid her in the back of our two-horse trailer where I rode with her to keep her quiet and prone. She was taken to Chino Valley Equine Hospital where Dr. Robert Baker set the fractured leg with a steel plate and screws. In the wee hours of October 3 we watched as Cricket came to after surgery in the rubber-covered recovery stall. She remained at the hospital for about a week and upon her return home she had to be stalled away from all of her pasture mates.

The best way for Cricket to be exercised was to be hand walked. The tall cast did not stop her from feeling her age (7 months.) She would grunt, toss her head, and rear while I was walking her. We were so thrilled to have her showing such enthusiasm, we let her perform all the shenanigans she could muster. She continued to thrive and seemed to enjoy all of the special attention, grooming and walks. However, on October 29, the day before she was to return for her first check-up, she managed to roll over and get herself stuck against the wall in her stall. Even though I was there within minutes she managed to fracture her radius immediately above the cast. We hauled her back to the veterinary hospital where Dr. Baker implanted a battery and wires running to the fracture (to stimulate bone repair) and had a welder make a metal arc to keep her left foreleg completely off the ground. Cricket had been on a restricted protein diet of oat hay following the first surgery and this continued as she recuperated from the second fracture. She remained at the hospital for several months, and was finally able to come home in March 1976. Fortunately, we had been able to visit her many times at the hospital, as it was less than 2 hours from home.

Because she had to support all her front-end weight on her right foreleg, her right knee calcified under the stress. It became quite large (about grapefruit size) and through the years that leg was the weaker of the two and would be the cause of great concern.

In April 1978 we took Cricket to Santa Ynez to be bred to Khemosabi. Normally we would not have bred a three year old, but considered her age a positive in relation to her traumatized front legs. She settled right away and we brought her home in June. During this time my grandmother, Rose Kennedy, became quite ill. She passed away in November before Cricket foaled Grandmother's first 2nd generation foal.

Khelauea (pronounced key-luh-WAY-uh) AHR# 185777 was foaled April 30, 1979 in our backyard. Pereira Arabians acquired him as a suckling, and I returned Cricket to Santa Ynez to be rebred to Khemo. Khelauea was very personable and sought attention from me, which caused some conflict with his dam, as she was used to being the center of attention. She may have been "spoiled" but she turned out to be a patient and playful mother.

The Pereira's sold Khelauea in 1980 at The Pereira/Haifa Sale. His buyer was Chuck Ruhr in Minnesota. From there he was sold to Carol Donagin and Brenda Grant, then to Wayne Grooters, then to Crawford Enterprise, then Stonehenge Arabians, and finally to Mardale Burg in Sullivan, Wisconsin. He had been shown to Class A Championships in halter, western pleasure and native costume. After Mardale purchased him, he was shown to additional championships in Country English Pleasure. He sired 24 registered purebred foals, the last in 1991. One of those was Khelly, a multiple halter and performance champion. His last recorded owners were, Allen and Carol Perkins in Wisconsin, who had him competing in dressage. Although he had many owners he started his life loved by me.

Khueen (named for the rock band) AHR# 205227 was foaled June 11, 1980 and was to be my "keeper." She was lovely, sweet, and had excellent breeding. Her newborn exam showed her to be healthy. She received the recommended vaccinations and de-wormings. Her blood work and fecals had always been normal. When her healthy appearance changed so radically (rough coat and bloated belly) after weaning I was perplexed. In December she colicked the first time. I pleaded with my vet to find out what was causing Khueen's problems. The next month she had a high grade bacterial infection and then had to deal with the resulting anemia. With aggressive treatment her physical appearance started to improve, but she continued to have bouts of gastritis/colic. In May 1981 I took her to U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine where a battery of tests were run. The fecal sample done there was the first to show positive for parasites (strongyles). The vet recommended deworming Khueen with thiabendazole at 10 times the normal dose for two days. If no improvement was noticed in 6 weeks I was to repeat that treatment. On July 8, 1981 she colicked again, but this time she was not responding to treatment. After many hours and several visits from the vet, Khueen was euthanized at 11:00 p.m. I still cannot understand why this happened to my baby. She was only 13 months old! She is buried on the farm where I worked under a giant oak tree. After all of these years I only have a folder full of paper and a fading memory of her short life.

It was a difficult decision, but ultimately I decided to let Cricket remain in Texas to be sold. If my situation had been different, I would have brought Cricket home after Khueen's death. Bob and Cheryl McCally purchased Cricket in July 1981, and she foaled Khemo Klassic AHR# 230488 on July 16. He was a flashy black bay with a connected star, strip, snip, and four stockings.

In September 1981 I visited Lasma West in Santa Ynez where Cricket was being bred back to Khemo++++. I went there specifically to see her. When I called out to her, she raised her head and whinnied at me! I got so choked up I broke down in tears. After entering her paddock she followed me everywhere and gently nudged me for attention (just like the old days.) To say that she made it difficult for me to pet her colt is an understatement. She wanted me all to herself. I spent quite awhile with them, and it was really tough to say my final good-byes. That was the last time I saw Cricket.

Cheryl showed Khemo Klassic to wins in halter before selling him to Dr. M. A. Aboussie, Jr., and in 1986 he was sold to Marylyn and Gene Asher in Ohio.

Cricket's fourth foal, MC Foxy Lady AHR# 257370, was foaled August 20, 1982. Bob and Cheryl McCally owned her for several years before selling her to Larry & Penny Nace. She was shown and placed in halter and Western Pleasure Amateur Owner classes and had three registered purebred foals. Tragically, she died at 9 years of age on July 17, 1993.

Cricket was then bred to the McCally's stallion, Sir Gazon, an inbred Gazon son. On February 23, 1984 she foaled a bay colt, Sirtainly, who was later gelded.

In 1984 Bob and Cheryl sold Cricket to John & Kim McGrath in Oklahoma. Kim and I wrote back and forth for several years and even spoke on the phone a couple of times. They bred Cricket to the Spanish stallion, *Nilo, and the result was a chestnut colt, Abu Shariik AHR# 361486, foaled April 25, 1985. The next year she produced a bay mare, El Tayara, AHR# 358256, by a stallion named EE Aeri. Cricket's last registered purebred foal was a bay mare by her own son, Abu Shariik, named Farliita who was foaled March 30, 1990.

Throughout her life Cricket's right front hoof required vigilant attention. Her right leg bowed out below the knee and that caused the outside of her hoof to wear down. Kim told me that she had that hoof shod to help prevent such wear, but after being kicked and suffering tendon damage, Cricket's quality of life started to suffer. I can't remember the details, but Kim informed me that she had Cricket euthanized because she could no longer support herself. I believe this was in 1991. Many years have passed but I have very vivid memories of the way she looked, moved, and sounded. At the time I could not think of a way to keep Cricket, but I will probably always wonder how different things would have been had we stayed together.

The Horses of My Youth

The Horses of My Youth Photo Album

I got my first horse at the age of 11. She was an Appendix Registered Quarter Horse mare named Sugar. She was a beautiful sorrel, but too much horse for a child. She was sold after one month. My next horse was a Pinto-Saddlebred mare named Princess. I had her for a few months before it was time to move up to something with a little more spunk. My third horse was an AQHA mare named Babe. She was a good looking, solid bay, with loads of substance. I had her for several months before my grandmother, Rose Kennedy, decided what breed most interested her. Babe was sold shortly after we bought our first Arabian, a 7/8 Arabian mare named SWA Zephyr.

SWA Zephyr ("Tisha") was just the first of several Arabians that my grandmother purchased. Below are some of the horses we had between 1971 and 1978, when my grandmother passed away. I took care of the horses, took hundreds of riding lessons, attended shows as a spectator, and later as an exhibitor. I was at the ranch every minute I wasn't at school or sleeping. I carried the latest issue of the Arabian Horse World magazine with me until the next issue came out. I spent hours with books researching Arabians, and dreamed about them constantly. I slept with our mares when they were ready to foal, was the first to handle the foals, and later, to ride them. It was some fantastic life for a young girl, and one I feel privileged to have had.

On April Fool's Day in 1971 my grandmother bought Farseyf (view pedigree) AHR# 23673 (Lafarr x Raseyfa). "Zeus", as he was known in Simi and San Fernando Valleys, had been owned by a horse trader named Ken Stanley. He had been trained to do tricks, was an excellent roping horse, and sired dozens of foals by non-Arabian mares. My grandmother put Zeus into training with Vic Oppegard in Santa Ynez, CA. In his first Class A show he won his Western Pleasure Maiden Horse class at the Central Coast of California show in Santa Maria. Also, during his time in Santa Ynez Zeus was featured in a commercial for Wheaties Cereal. We were justifiably excited to watch the commercial during prime time three times a week. Years later we tried to get a tape of the commercial but were unsuccessful.

Zeus sired only 8 registered purebreds:

  • Farlady AHR# 43175 February 28, 1967 Mare Grey
  • Velrasa AHR# 47588 March 21, 1968 Mare Grey
  • Velayk AHR# 47586 April 13, 1968 Gelding Grey
  • Roayal Bey AHR# 60562 January 19, 1969 Stallion Grey
  • Ali Myrr Farseyf AHR# 54888 March 3, 1969 Gelding Grey
  • Boseyfa AHR# 70709 May 17, 1971 Mare Grey
  • Dayseyfa AHR# 87326 March 15, 1972 Mare Grey
  • Abu Sonse AHR# 115711 May 24, 1974 Stallion Grey

Grandmother had Zeus for two years. That second year he was home where I got to ride him nearly everyday. We played tag in the avocado orchards, and rode the trails in Moorpark and Simi Valley. He may not have been a great Arabian stallion, but he was an amazing horse. I was heartbroken when she sold him back to Ken Stanley. We had but one foal by Zeus. SWA Seyfa had been a very sweet and loving foal until she was traumatized by a veterinary treatment as a weanling. She was never the same after that. She was still sweet but was afraid of everything. Seyfa was sold in 1977 to some friends, who were extremely patient and gentle with her.

Grandmother purchased Sindi Mal (view pedigree) AHR# 42877 (Soteptann x Sindi Gemal) indirectly, from the Beehive Utah Breeder's Sale in June 1973. She had a Bo-Gin Samiri (Syzygy x Lalla Kadija) colt on her side, and was in foal to Shalimar Drifter AHR# 47087 (Garaff x Shalimar Bestgida). She was part of the dispersal of horses from the Estate of Clarence Dout, Harrison, NE. She had been pasture bred and handled minimally. She was a very kind mare, although terribly shy of people. The colt on Sindi's side was not purchased, but stayed with his dam until weaning. Sindi was 15.1hh with a lot of substance, a dry head, and very clean legs. With some gentle and persistent handling we were able to make sure that Sindi received the care she deserved. She was an exceptionally quiet and patient mother. Her daughter, Sindrifittizz ("Tizzy") AHR# 106548 (view pedigree), was a joy to work with and garnered great amounts of attention due to her flashy coloring and lovely personality. She was so flashy that a Canadian soft drink company chose her for a television commercial in 1976. Sindi's son, Akhir Al Nahr ("Ace") AHR# 136506, was tall and leggy with presence and attitude to spare.

Before moving from Ventura County to Shasta County, California, in 1977, my grandmother took Sindi to George Ferrante, a trainer in Hidden Valley. Although Sindi was with George for only a month, she made miraculous progress. Our plan wasn't to ride her but just have her respond to humans in a more relaxed way. In one month's time George had Sindi under saddle and moving out quietly. I rode her once but Grandmother and I decided not to ride her again. She had lived 10 years without being ridden, and we decided to let her remain unridden into her old age. After my grandmother passed away Sindi was sold and I never saw her again. I was in touch with the woman who purchased her for a couple of years, but regretably lost touch. Tizzy was sold to a husband and wife in Paradise, California, and Ace to a man in Anderson, California.

My grandmother purchased Bonita Velvet AHR# 50598 (Syzygy x Asil Vanity) from Rancho Bonita Vista in Moorpark, California, in 1972. She was in foal to Kello-Gwalor (*Gwalior x Sanibel), who was owned by the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center in Pomona. Rancho Bonita Vista also owned Velvet's full sister, Vanity's Echo; her dam, Asil Vanity; and her grand dam, Venus. She was barely 14hh and was nearly as wide as she was tall. She had lovely dark eyes, a short (but very well shaped) neck, was wide in the chest and deep in the girth. She loved to put on a show when loose - snorting, floating, and flagging her tail. She had very nice ground manners and was fun to ride. She was very smooth-gaited and when gathered up and collected, could nearly canter in place. After foaling Gwallorrias Belle AHR# 96954 (view pedigree) in 1973 she was bred to Sahara Prince (The Real McCoy x Sahara Queen). She had Gypsy Mellodee AHR# 106547 (view pedigree) in 1974. In 1975 we took her to Award Arabians to breed her to Ferdine, but my grandmother was talked out of that by Walter Zolezzi. Instead, Velvet was bred to *Eleuzis. In April 1976 she foaled twin fillies. One was stillborn and the other was Jene Sais Quois ("Rockette") AHR# 136508 (view pedigree), who was quite small but a real dynamo. Velvet was sold to Sandy Reis, I believe, in 1977. Lorri and Rockette were sold in 1979: Lorri to the same couple who purchased Tizzy, and Rockette, to my friend, Connie Iversen (later Murphy). Gypsy had been leased to Pereira Arabians in 1978 and later sold to Patti Drennan before I bought her back in 1982. I had her until her tragic death in 1990.

Grandmother purchased Ganeta Ann AHR# 71951 (Rafflad x Ganeta) as a two-year old in 1973. She was quite thin, anemic, and badly scarred; both physically and emotionally. She was surprisingly trusting of people but very spooky. She had horrible scars inside her hind legs and on her right front pastern. After building up her health and weight I started doing ground work with her and proceeded to riding her when she was about 3-1/2. She ended up being my grandmother's favorite riding horse, although they mainly just walked around the track on the ranch where we boarded. Ganeta aborted her first foal by Dunes Ace in 1975 and was re-bred to him later that year. She foaled Cytherea ("Cythy") AHR# 136507 in 1976. Ganeta was sold to my friend, Connie, for whom she had several lovely foals. Cythy was sold to a man in Orange County, California.