Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Victory Garden By R.E. Bertlow

An excerpt from: The Victory Garden

Megan and Kimie were the best of friends. As a matter of fact they lived right next store to each other in the same living complex on in a low rise building on avenue 30.

Megan and Kimie did everything together. They went to the same school, went shopping for school clothes together, went to the movies on Sunday together but; their very favorite thing to do together was plant flowers in their garden, for the living complex they lived in had a community garden and many of the people living their had their own little spot to plant flowers or vegetable and such. Megan and Kimie loved to plant beautiful flowers. Ones with long stems that they could pick and put in vases. Ones that smelled pretty and would fill the air with their scent.

These two girls loved to spend time in there garden so much so that their fathers who were both carpenters built them matching garden benches with their names on them that also doubled as a garden box to keep their matching gardening gloves, trowels seed packs and such in them.

Every Saturday morning you could find the girls down in their garden they had planted tall sunflowers on one side that were three feet high, They had Poppy’s and Freesias, Pansy’s and Bachelors Buttons, Gladiolas, and Tulips, and oh what a wonderful garden they had with much more room to plant new things.

When there mothers were looking for them they knew right where to find them in their garden sitting on their benches trying to decide what to plant next, or trying to figure out a name for their garden.

Megan and Kimie would sit in their garden and read stories and talk and play for hours and always looked forward to Saturdays. Where they would start their gardening day by trying to find two heart shaped items to place in their garden because they knew every garden needs a heart. Sometimes the would give some of there heart shaped found objects away to the other gardeners so that their gardens two would have a heart and produces as many beautiful things as their garden did. And they always got a nice thank you and their parents where always told what wonderful little girls they where.

One Saturday while sitting in the garden reading stories and trying to decide on a name for their garden. Kimie went to stand up but instead she fell down. Megan looked at her and said Kimie you can be so silly. But Kimie wasn’t being silly and she told Megan so. Megan ran off to get their mommies and the came and took Kimie to the hospital.

Megan sat in here garden worried about her friend wondering what had happened.

Later that afternoon when Megan’s mom came down to the garden. She sat next to her daughter and explained that Kimie had cancer but she was going to be all right because they caught it early. She told here they could go see her in the morning.

The next morning they went to see Kimie but before they did Megan stopped by their garden and picked a beautiful bouquet of flowers to
take to here best friend.

An excerpt from:Every Garden Needs A Heart By R.E. Bertlow

Sara and Sally were twin sister who quite often got board with things they would do.

First it was bubbles that they blew. Sally would say I’m board then Sara would say me too.

Then it was bouncing a ball back and forth it lasted for a while it’s true but then Sara said I’m board and Sally followed with Me too.

Their poor mother didn’t know what to do.

She gave them Jacks which lasted a while as well but soon their interest in jacks fell.

Roller skates lasted a day and dolls half of that.

Soon they had tried just about everything a child of four could try.
One day their mother had an Idea. She would teach them how to grow things. They could plant some seeds and each day they could water them and when the plants got big enough they could plant them in the ground.

She gathered up Sara and Sally got them in the car and they went to the Nursery where they bought gardening hats, gloves, trowels, dirt, pots and, seeds.

She to each of the girls to pick out the seeds they would like to plant. Sara picked Poppy’s and Sally picked Pansy’s as they took all there Items to the counter There, they noticed a sign.

Sally asked her mother what the sign said. Mother read the sign to the girls. It said,

Every garden needs a heart, not one that goes Kathump, Kathump. Or one that beat’s ten times a minute.

Just a rock or a shell or a piece of driftwood or Metal or Sea glass with a basic heart shape will do.

It can be brown, black, green, yellow, orange, purple, red, white, or blue.

But every garden needs a heart weather it is a garden stake heart standing tall above your flowers that says “Welcome to my Garden” or a piece of driftwood that sits between your vegetable nestled in the dirt doesn’t mater at all .

A garden with a heart will grow all the seeds that you sew with love and tender care.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Return of Belle and Daisy in Chasing the Drink

Desert Pet Sitting and Helpful Hank Presents

Two Minute Tales By


The return of Belle and Daisy In

Chasing the Drink

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Story of Bohdi

Hello All helpful Hank here

with a special story about a dog named Bohdi.

Recently I received an e-mail from one my friend Actor Thom Bierdz.
You may know him as the Actor who plays Phillip Chancellor III on the
Young and The Restless. He is a gifted actor, painter and speaker. He shared the
story of his dog Bohdi. With his permission I have reprinted it here.

This is Thom and I have a personal
holiday story to share.

My ex, Doug, and I have two dogs that we believe are our
sons. Bodhi, the shepherd/beagle is now 14 (we think) and Deen, the
Chihuahua, is 10. The only reason we figured out their ages is I remember that I
got Deen for Doug on a Valentine's Day in Chinatown (little dog was being sold
out of a box for $200) and Doug wanted to name him Godzilla. This was 10 years
ago when Godzilla was a huge movie in theaters. That same year we came across 5
gay guys walking their Chihuahua named Godzilla so I am glad I talked sense into
Doug and we named him Deen instead.

Bodhi was 4 when we brought Deen home, and, aside from a
rough first week, Bodhi has been the sweetest big brother a little needy dog
could ask for. Doug and I were together 6 years (he says 8) , and when
I moved out, I got a place nearby so I could visit my "boys" everyday. They
live with Doug because I have asthma issues with pets, and also, Doug
really needed them there after our break-up. And I learned what a divorced
father feels like who sees his kid’s everyday. It has worked out
great. Doug is a
great father to our dogs, and I am there at least once a day. Sometimes I take
the boys to my place, where they stay on my patio for hours as I paint,
and when Doug goes out of town, they stay with me in my second bedroom. I
just keep them out of my bedroom so my lungs are not challenged.

We had no idea Bodhi was 14 (15?) and didn't think much of
his extreme thirst for the past year. Then he started losing weight. Eventually
the vet said he has Cushing's disease, common for older dogs. He has an
over-active adrenaline gland and cannot keep weight on. His 70 pounds whittled
to 35. He is skin and bones. About two months ago he suffered a heat-stroke (neither
Doug nor I have air-conditioning and it was a very hot summer in L.A.)
so he was hospitalized for a weekend where he was freezing and being fed by
IV and they tried to raise his temperature by ice enemas. This may have
brought down his temperature but he was so scared after that, and he still didn't
put weight on. Last weekend he was doing so bad we again hospitalized him,
thinking he was going to die. I lay next to him a few days prior telling him it was okay if he
wanted to die, and then I tried to explain what death would be like for him,
not that I knew. But I think Bodhi understood what I was saying. He is the
smart dog, where Deen is not a smart dog at all (but cute). I was ready to let
Bodhi die by his own means if he wanted that, and I figured what does he has to
live for anyway? It must be boring to have the same day for 14 years, as dogs
do. Maybe he was ready to die. Maybe that's why dogs die - they just get so
bored. But Bodhi, even though the vet and strangers looked at him like he was
already dead because he was so skinny, and losing sight, continued to wag his
tail. He apparently was not suffering.

Bodhi went blind last week, and now has diabetes as well.
Diabetes and Cushing’s are treatable, but my first thought was why would Bodhi
want to live if he were blind? It would be a horrible existence.

Boy was I wrong. Bodhi is not sitting in a corner, afraid.
Not at all. He is wagging his tail, trying to follow sounds we make, sounds of
me tapping the glass coffee table so he can avoid bumping into it with his
face, sounds of Doug patting the couch so he can find that and climb atop it,
sounds of me splashing his water dish so he can find it, sounds of our new
guiding words, like "here's a step. Up. Up." Sometimes he walks with
his front legs kicked out like a horse on parade - it is his way to try
to feel what is ahead of him. He also bumps his bone-thin face and nose into
walls, doors, tables, you name it. Ouch. But he doesn't flinch.

Bodhi was never really affectionate. Now he loves to be petted
and coddled. It is like a whole new existence for him. I thought it would be
the end of his life and a tragic end at that. But he has a new life now
without pictures. He is as happy as he ever was. And I have developed a whole
new love for him, seeing what an inspiration he is, what a happy blind dog he is. My
love for him has been the same love for 14 years, and now it is a new love for
him. I am so proud of him. I lay in bed thinking about how much strength
(physically and emotional) it takes to live his day, and I am filled with pride.

Thom Bierdz

I hope you enjoyed the story of Bohdi, I received an e-mail
up-date from Thom and Bohdi is still hanging in there and still happy.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Helpful Hank Has Moved

Helpful Hank Has Moved to read Helpful Hanks newest blog
world AIDS Day Mini Blog as well as other post click Here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Holy Hoax it's Halloween Helpful Hank

Hello all, Helpful Hank here. My Husband brought home the Desert Sun the other day. I forgot how much I miss the tactical feel of a newspaper. Don’t get me wrong I love the desert Sun on line but there is something to be said for that tactical feel of holding the newspaper. I read it differently then I do the on line version. I read stories that I normally wouldn’t. That’s a good thing. I get use to reading the blogs and going directly to this byline or that one and I don’t always take time to read the stuff in between. The little filler stories with the happy conclusions the human-interest stories that provide you with interesting facts you never knew you needed to know. We all heard the news of our President winning the Nobel Prize. What we had to search for was that a record five women won Nobel’s this year and, this year we are seeing the first woman to win a Nobel in Economics.

The Great Hoax?

I watched as many of you did the unfolding story of Falcon Heene and his family as they lead us all on a wild goose chase. I think that it makes a rather sad statement about how fame hungry we are as humans. We have always been a people who seek fame. In addition, there are those who are just crazy enough to do what ever it takes to achieve it. I have never really understood the need for fame myself, I would much rather have the fortune and remain as unknown as possible (Money makes strangers act as if they know you.) fame at all cost though, is beyond me. To use your own child to acquire it is just wrong.

This family goes beyond insane. They did a music video that features their three boys spouting among other things fowl language, homophobia, and more. I am not surprised that this family did what they did. It is sad though that they felt it was perfectly natural to put their children’s lives at risk for their little stunt. However, I’m sure it was a question that never entered their minds.

Holy, Holy Ho….. ly, Holy Mack a Nolie

I love a good find, especially when it is free. I once gave my husband a sticker that said, “If it’s free it’s for me”. Recently we went to our favorite treasure haunt and I found of all things a solid oak church vestibule bench with brown velvet padded seat and back. The trim on the left side was missing completely and fixing that along with a new coat of all in one stain and clear gloss topcoat brought it back to life. My Husband cleaned the cushions, and we put it in the entryway of our home. We also found on this particular excursion a teak patio table that just needed a new coat of teak oil.

What is your favorite Treasure haunt? And what fantastic finds have you acquired. Let me know and I’ll be happy to share your stories of great finds.

All Hollows Eve

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced
Sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1 as it marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, which, was often associated with death. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth, causing trouble and damaging crops. Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.
During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

In 43 Ad the Roman were in power and combined the Celtic festival with their Feralia Festival that commemorated the passing of the dead and, the day they honor Pomona the Roman Goddess of the Fruit trees. The symbol for Pomona is the apple, which may be why bobbing for apples has been a Halloween staple.

By the 800 Christianity had swept the Celtic land and Pope Boniface the IV designated Nov. 1st as All Saints Eve a day to honor saints and martyrs. This was an attempt to replace the Celtic festival and is also know as All Hollows or all Hollowmas.

Becoming the Adams

Kids love Halloween, I know I sure did. It is a chance to be someone different. One year I was an Indian another a Ghost. It was fun. Oh, and the candy! Of course, our parents always went through it before we got any, though it was very tempting. As a parent of a grown child, I myself was given the candy checking task many times. Here is one way to keep them from being so tempted. Start the night with a Haunted or Spooky themed dinner. It is not to late the new Store on Indian Canyon (Just before it becomes a two way street.) Party Lab has some great stuff and reasonably priced. Get the kids involved.
Start by setting a spooky table. You can get mini Styrofoam Tombstones for a couple of buck each and you put one at each place setting. If you use the blank ones you can right your own message with a marker. The have some cool cups with skulls and hands on them. They also have inexpensive stuff you can use as decorations or how about you create your own. Go over to Wal Mart or JoAnn’s fabric in Palm desert and by a 2 yards of what every white gauzy material is on clearance (there is always some) Get a bag of cotton balls as well. The fabric is usually a 45” with cut it lengthwise. With one-half your fabric cut length wise approximately 4 ½ inches wide giving you for long strips.

Tie the four pieces together at each end and set in center of table. In a vase put some sticks and using a package of Halloween cobwebs ( you can get these most anywhere) drape them amongst the sticks ( you can even paint your sticks black with spray paint.) Place your vase on the fabric (Making sure your fabric stays billow.) and sprinkle some Halloween glitter over it.

You can as well instead of a vase with sticks and cobwebs carve a pumpkin save some of the stringy insides soak them in water with a drop of vinegar in green blue and red food dye let it soak for a couple of hours then dry it a bit and hang them over the side with the top on as if his brains are oozing out put a battery operated candle in it to light it yet keep it safe.

Take the other half of the fabric and cut into equal pieces (Four to Six inch squares works well) in the center of your square place several cotton balls gather up your corners together and type off the fabric at the bottom of the cotton balls to create your ghost. Let the kids draw their own faces on the ghost and use them as place markers.

Set your Halloween table with, Halloween themed paper napkins. Get cheep plastic clear cups and, with colored permanent markers of Puff, paints make your own scary cup.

Serve up Chicken fingers or Fried Mozzarella Sticks in French fry type containers dripping ketchup over the tops. Make a fruit salad and take some whipped topping and ad some red and yellow food dye into it to make it orange and mix your fruit in with the whipped topping for a cool fruit salad. Add a drop or two of red food coloring to a pitcher of lemonade to make it spookier. For desert, take a can or two of sweet canned cherries. A sponge cake or angel food cake. Drain the juice from the cherries into a saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. For each of the two cans of cherries. Mix juice and cornstarch while bringing to a boil. Once it boils for a minute or two (While you continue to stir.) turn of the heat still stirring. Your mixture should be thickening up you want it slightly runny set in refrigerator as it will thicken up. Mix in a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar with the cherries and set in refrigerator. When it is time to serve slice cake, pour cherries over the top add the thickened cherry sauce as blood top with a little whipped cream. Here is your chance to have some fun with your kids and share in the evening with them. Your kid will leave the house fed and fueled for trick or treating with out felling the craving for what is in their candy bag.

Using battery operated candles is a safe alternative to using real candles, Always make sure the a child’s costume is not restricting their movement and any props they may carry have no sharp edges that they can hurt themselves or others with. Michaels Art Supply sells glow stick for a 1.39 or so a pack these are good to have the kids can wrap them around their legs arms and necks so they are more visible if walking down streets not well lit. No child should go out without adult supervision (Someone responsible and over 21 is best.) Every child should know never to go into a stranger’s house or car. Pick up some cheap whistles at party lab for kids to wear around their neck and take them so that they can use them if they find themselves in trouble. Halloween is a time to dress up and have fun but we also have to keep it safe.

The Faux Costco Enchilada

Like many people, I enjoy Mexican food. Most of the time it is dinner for one so I really don’t want to ground up a whole package of ground beef to make Enchiladas (which are one of my favorites. Here is an easy recipe for making Enchiladas for one. What you will need is two pre cooked Chicken Flautas, Tomato paste one package of Taco seasoning, ½ cup of water and ½ cup of 3 cheese’s shredded cheese. Mix together two Tablespoons of Tomato paste with ½ cup of water and one package of Taco Seasoning pour ½ of mixture over Chicken Flautas the ½ the shredded cheese then repeat. Microwave for 2 minutes

I want to share one more recipe with you and that’s my recipe for a recipe I created

Cherry Bomb

What you will need:
½ cup of softened Butter
5 Egg Yolks
Filo Dough
1 ¼ Cup of Milk
1 ½ Heavy Whipping Cream
½ teaspoon Salt
¾ cups of Sugar
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
Coco Powder for sprinkling
Powdered Sugar for sprinkling
1 can cherries in sweet syrup.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Roll out your Filo dough and cut in half. Working with one-half cut the Filo in half again this time lengthwise then cut in three equal squares. On a foil lined cookie sheet lay out one layer of each square and brush with butter then sprinkle with powdered then add another layer of Filo and repeat process until you have five layers. Bake in oven at 375 for eight minutes then set aside put together three more sets of these so that you will have four deserts with six layers each.

Cream together Sugar and egg yolks and set aside. In a heavy bottom sauce pan combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup Heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup cherry juice (from cherry can) vanilla salt, Bring to a boil and add sugar and yolk along with remaining ¼ cup milk and ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. whisk in 1/3 cup flour until mixture is smooth pour back into bowl and let cool at room temperature .Once mixture has thickened chop up the cherries into small pieces and in a double boiler melt down 1/3 cup chocolate then add ½ of your remaining cherry juice cherry juice and chopped cherries Stir until thickened.
Take one layer of your Filo, spread your cream mixture on then, place another layer of Filo on top and spread chocolate cherry mixture on top of that. Continue to alternate mixtures putting the final layer of Filo on top and place in refrigerator and chill for desert

Before you serve, take your remaining half of cherry juice you set aside place in a double broiler and whisk in cornstarch. Bring to a boil continuously stirring. Once it starts to thicken remove from heat and transfer to a small pitcher and set aside in a double boiler mix together ¼ heavy whipping cream and 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips till smooth. With a spoon drizzle chocolate of desert and then thickened cherry juice and serve.

Well folks that about all for now. Have a Happy Halloween and Keep yourself safe. Until next time, take Care and God Bless
-Helpful Hank

Oh one last thing, many of us love to put our pets in Halloween costumes. They can often be hot and cumbersome. Why not put a Halloween scarf around their needs with some glow sticks when taking them out. They will be easier to see and they won’t over heat. Find these and other tips for keeping your pets safe on Halloween at Desert Pet Sittings Helpful Hanks Guide to a happy pet

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, and Tips and, Deals at: askhelpfulhank@gmail.com Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009

All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Helpful Hanks Advice 17

Hello all, Helpful Hank Here, It’s been a few weeks since I have last posted a blog spot. Been kind of busy working on various projects. Hummie and Harvey Among many of the projects I have been working on one was the re-finishing of a secretary cabinet. Seen below

We had picked it up at Revivals thrift shop in the Sun Center, as we needed a piece for our guest bedroom, which we had recently put a new face on it with a coat of paint. We put up new drapes and then reconfigured the room. Once done we found that the room was in need of another piece of furniture to balance it out. We picked up this vintage secretary for $10.00 at Revival and with a little work, it fit the room perfectly. I always try to use recycled product as much as possible. I love to re-purpose old and used furniture and give it new life.

Memory Lane

Recently, I had the chance to put a video together for Bloom in the Desert’s seventh anniversary. It was interesting to go through the photos with Rev Kev and hear about some of the history of how Bloom got started in there home moving to Palapas’ outside area before finding a home at the YMCA. I had a wonderful time working on this video and learning some of the history of Bloom. Here is that result Memories In Bloom .

Lock it up Marie

I want to share an obvious safety tip with everyone. That tip is to keep your outer doors and gates locked. Many of us have gates to our back yards and Garage doors that we don’t tend to keep closed and locked in addition to locking the front door. So many people tend to leave their garage doors slightly up. This allows a potential thief the opportunity to shimmy under it and gaining access to your home. Unlocked gates do the same thing.

With the economic times as bad as they are right no, (Even though they say we are on the way to recovery.) home invasion robberies are on the rise. A neighbor of mine filled me in on what thieves look for. He said they will find a quit street (set back cul-de sacs I would imagine work well.) they drive down it looking for points of entry that make for quick escapes. I kid you not the very next day I was out in my front yard and a pick up came down our cul-de-sac very slowly and when the came to circle around in front of my place the sped out of the cul-de-sac. I can’t say that they where casing the neighborhood but it was the vibe I was getting. It is important to keep doors locked for the safety of your home, pets and family.

A Summer Salad

I want to share a salad recipe and dressing recipe with everyone’ It is one of my favorite meals for a hot day. Salads are easy to make and are quit refreshing on a hot day with a glass of Ice Tea or and Arnold Palmer.

Take 2 chicken breast marinate with Honey Garlic powder and Olive oil. Once marinated, grill until cooked making sure to baste with the left over marinade.
Once you have grilled your chicken set aside and let it cool as you put together your salad. (One of my favorite things to put in a salad is cut up nectarine.) Once you have, your salad made cut up your grilled chicken into chunks and add.

To make the dressing combine 1 cup of mango blended till liquid, ¾ cup Olive Oil, ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar, 1 and ½ tablespoons garlic powder and 2 tablespoons of Honey. Whisk your dressing till blended completely the pour over salad and serve. This makes for a nice summer/fall meal. The dressing also works well as a dipping sauce.

American Art Awards

Recently I received notice on a couple of pieces that I submitted to the American Art Awards. This is a national competition. Galleries from across the US judge the works from several different categories. I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity presented to me from Mr. Thom Bierdz (you may know him as Philip Chancellor on the Young and the Restless a popular daytime drama.) My Piece Cherry Bomb was one of the finalists in the Abstract Modern category and my piece Freedom to Marry was given top honors in the Political Art category.

Going to the dogs

I want to share a bit of other news with you. I have recently taken over Ownership and Operation of Desert Pet Sitting. We are a local operation that provides in home services for dogs and cats, as well as dog walks and off site doggie day care. We offer reasonable rate and excellent care of your pet while you’re away. You can read our Bio on our site http://www.desertpetsitting.com/. I have also started a second blog at http://desertpetsitting.blogspot.com/ and find out five things you can do to put a smile on your dogs face. And 10 things you should feed your dogs or cats.

Well that about wraps it up for now. As always, I welcome your tips comments and thoughts. Take Care and GBY

-Helpful Hank

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, and Tips and, Deals at: askhelpfulhank@gmail.com Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow