Friday, January 27, 2012


Please watch this video.  The most dire situations had already been removed, but now it looks like they are removing the dogs in better health too, as none of these dogs look too bad, short of the tail on the one Vizsla that is infected.

I am appalled that no criminal charges have been filed yet, and am still waiting from the Susquehanna SPCA about fostering a dog.

A photo of one of the worst-off dogs is on the Susquehanna SPCA news website:

Please spread this news around and send dog food to the SPCA to help these poor animals.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Thanks to blogger ScottRiggi for showing me the newspaper story in the Albany Times Union about the condition and situation regarding the dogs at Southside Kennels.  I am heartened to know that the SPCA is still working on the case but saddened to know that it will take quite a bit of time to resolve this and that Mr. Popolizio (owner of Southside Kennels) seems not to be repentant or concerned about the condition of his dogs at all; he instead seems to be more concerned that this is a business venture, not a situation dealing with living beings.

At this time, I think it is best to share the Albany Times Union story with anyone who is concerned, but to also refer them to the Susquehanna SPCA to read their statement about the situation and encourage them to make donations and possibly offer to foster potential dogs.  I'm afraid that the initial postings on facebook got a bit out of hand and the truth was stretched; I do believe the newspaper that the dogs were underweight, but that may have been stretched to "emaciated."  It would not surprise me to hear about poor shelter conditions either.  But at this point, I think it is best to be temperate, donate what you can, and offer to help where you can instead of spreading facts that cannot be substantiated other than by word of mouth.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Food: Risotto

I have been meaning to conquer risotto for some time.  I love its creamy texture, the nuttiness of the arborio rice, and how everyone is impressed more if you say "risotto" than if you say "slow-cooked rice."  Plus, it's creamy and delicious and oh, so amazing.

So I went to the interwebs and found me a basic risotto recipe and basically followed it.  With a few alterations.

Here's what I did.

First, I put a quart of chicken broth (Swanson organic) on the back burner to get really warm but not simmering.  Just nice and steaming hot.

Then, I melted about a tbsp of butter in a saucepan with a tablespoon of veggie oil (canola to be exact).  Then I cooked a chopped shallot (medium size) in it until the shallot was almost translucent.

Added rice and stirred until the rice turned translucent except for the center and it smelled nutty and delicious and amazing.

Poured in a half cup of good white wine: Casa Larga Chardonnay to be exact.  I would also recommend Toasted Head Chardonnay (my favorite white wine EVER; the Casa Larga was a Christmas gift and it was just as good).

Stirred and stirred and stirred until the liquid was almost absorbed.

Then I added a ladleful of broth and stirred and stirred and stirred until it was almost absorbed.  Lather, rinse, repeat until the broth is gone.  Don't stop stirring except to add the broth.

I tasted a few times to make sure the rice was absorbing the liquid.  Partially cooked arborio rice is kind of gross.

Once all the broth was gone, I stirred in 3 tbsp of unsalted butter and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese.  Freshly grated is good, but I use Wegman's brand in the green can because it has the most flavor of any canned Parmesan I've ever tasted.

Then I served.  And ate.  And ate.

I normally have a rule of no seconds, but this risotto was creamy, drowned in butter, subtle-tasting, and amazing.  It punctuated a glass of that Casa Larga very nicely.  So did the roast chicken I made to go with the risotto.  But really?  It was all about the risotto tonight.


Sorry no photos... I was busy stuffing my face after all the stirring.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I have been in touch with our breeder for our Rhodesian Ridgeback, and she has received the following communication from the Ridgeback Rescue of the United States:

RRRI and RRUS are both fully aware of the situation with Southside Kennels in New York and are monitoring things closely. 

The SPCA is on site and protecting the dogs that have been seized on a temporary basis.  This matter is before a court, and nothing can be done until the court acts.  Until that time, the dogs are still legally the property of kennel in question, and until the court resolves the ownership issue, no rescue group can become involved and take possession of any of these dogs.

Both RRRI and RRUS are receiving inquiries about these dogs.  At this point we cannot be sure that any of these dogs will come into rescue.  If we do get any of these dogs, both organizations will need experienced foster homes that can care for dogs who may have no socialization.  In addition, both organizations will need money for vet care, transportation and other rehabilitation. 

Let’s all hope that the court acts quickly, that the Rhodesian Ridgebacks involved in this case can be taken out of harms way, and (very important!) that all the members of the Ridgeback community will step in and help.  In the meantime, please consider if you or someone you know could be a foster home for one of these very needy dogs.

Jill Pickering
New York Coordinator
Mid-Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA, DE) Co-Regional Coordinator
Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue, Inc


UPDATE: I have spoken to the Otsego County SPCA and it is indeed true and very sad.  It is hard to get through on the telephone number because the phone is ringing off the hook for them, as the word has gotten out only today.  But please, please, please consider doing all that you can to help these poor animals.

I found this on facebook just a few minutes ago, and I want to get it to all people who may read anything and may be in the New York area.  Please consider donations, fostering, and help.

Donald D. Brown
I’m trying mobilize the rescue organizations for the different breeds mention below. Can you help?
We have a terrible, heartbreaking situation in Upstate New York with Frank Popolizio’s Southside Kennels located in South Worcester, NY. The Otsego County SPCA has been called in, as well as NY State Troopers, to remove over 130 dogs that are staked out w/barrels for shelter and no bedding in the barrels in subzero weather. The dogs are emaciated, eating their own feces, and in horrible physical condition and unable to fend for themselves. There are vizslas, GSP’s, Weimaraners, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks in peril that I know of. There may be other breeds at this puppy mill as well. 
Please help me get the word out to the neighboring rescue people. The Otsego County SPCA is overwhelmed with the number of dogs they are going to have to take in and they have asked for help. The director, and contact person for this SPCA is a lady by the name of Liz Mackey; her phone number is 607-547-8111. This is a Cooperstown, NY number and the SPCA is located just south of Cooperstown. 
Thank you for any help you can lend in this sad situation.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Food: Mishaps in the Kitchen

We all have our kitchen debacles.  For example, when I was about 9, I decided to make a jelly roll.  Instead of using regular dough, I used bread, crumbled it up, and added milk to it and tried to make that into "dough."  It didn't work, and was really gross-looking.  To make it taste better, I added jelly and stirred it all around.  What came out was an unseemly concoction that my mother served to me for dinner that night to "teach me a lesson."  I didn't eat it.  She cut me a deal: I could have regular dinner with them if I had NO SNACKS for the rest of the week.  Needless to say, I took the deal.  But I sneaked a snack anyway... several times.

Which brings me to tonight's debacle.  I wanted to roast a chicken, but it was still sort of frozen.  As in, the outside was soft, but the inside?  Rock-hard.  I didn't think this would matter; I'd just reduce the oven temp and roast it for a longer time.  No problem, and the house would smell delicious when I was done.  Which brings me to the thing I forgot.

The giblet bag.

Yup, there it was in the hole of the chicken, frozen in there solid.  Ice-pick solid.  I tried several methods of removing it, all while wearing rubber gloves (yes, I'm that wimpy about raw meat).  None of them worked, until it dawned on me: heat thaws frozen things.  (Who would have guessed that I have a masters degree?!)

So I popped it in the oven for an hour.  Took it out, got out a pair of tongs, and promptly removed the giblet bag.  It is now safely in the trash.  The chicken, meanwhile, is roasting and toasting in the oven, happily seasoned and getting ready to be devoured by the occupants of my house.

And no one was the wiser.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Psychology: What Depression Feels Like to Me

Every year I get pretty depressed once the holidays are over, especially when Christmas is over.  I look forward to Christmas every year like a little kid, and every year I am thrilled beyond measure at the fun of spending it with family and enjoying the fun of giving and receiving.  And I'm not going to lie, I like both rather equally.

So I feel the Depression Monster coming on today.  It's a new year, and tomorrow I'm back to the grind of waiting for the phone to ring for substitute teaching (my profession until I can find a full-time teaching position) and living day by day in a whirlwind of what seem like obligations: students who are determined to test every limit I have, keeping a house clean and orderly, dogs, husband, groceries, and the usual pile of psychological therapy.  While this is a small pile compared to most people, and while I get amazing help from the husband in most of these, I still feel as though the tasks are insurmountable and completely insane.  When the DM comes back, nothing brings me any enjoyment, not even cooking or music.  All I want to do is go to bed and pull the covers over my head for an indeterminate amount of time.  I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to take my stupid meds, and I certainly don't want to go sit on the couch in my therapist's office and talk about the new journey I'm supposed to be embarking upon as an empowered, healthy individual.  I just want to sleep.

Right now, at this precise moment, I don't really want to go into complete sensory-deprivation mode yet.  I'm simply irritable and filled with dread.  Everything is annoying or inconvenient or insurmountable.  Little quirks about people that I interact with are suddenly impossible to tolerate, even though they never bothered me before.  My poor husband can't do anything right - it seems as if he's either trying to push me through this and keep me cheerful when I don't want to be (dammit) or he's withholding affection and treating me as a pariah.  (Note: this is coming from depressed-mind.  My husband is wonderful, caring, and deserves a medal for putting up with this.)

I am trying to figure out how to fight this.  I don't want it to develop into a full-fledged depressive episode where I do take to the bed and get disgusting and don't do anything except the bare minimum.  Instead I'd rather just have an irritable day or two and come out of this funk.  I should probably look over my DBT skills handouts from the last round I attended.  (DBT = Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.)  I should probably go through some self-soothing routines.  I should probably journal.  No matter what I do, I will be forcing it.  But that's a DBT skill: Opposite Action.  You act opposite of what you're feeling and try to force yourself into it.

Anyway - that's how it feels and what I should do and what's going through my mind at the moment.  In writing this, I have a secret hope that someday someone might stumble upon this who is suffering from something similar and know this: if you are that someone, you are not alone.