Laughter is good for the soul

February 14, 2012 under Just for Fun

I wanted to get a happy picture of her, but forgot how much she hates my phone. She hates it almost as much as she hates baths. She was all happy joy-joy until I took my phone out.

It’s days like today that remind me why I love my dog. Not love dogs plural or in general, but why I specifically love my dog.


For those that haven’t met my dog, let me give you a little background into what she’s like on a normal day. She’s normally quiet and congenial. She’s a people-pleaser so she pretty much does whatever that makes me happy. Over the years, she’s learned this means if I’m on my computer she is not to pester me for anything unless it’s life or death (hers or mine). Since she’s not me (and a dog) sometimes we differ in understanding what constitutes a “life or death” situation, but for the most part we live together in harmony.  She knows me and we “get” each other.


She’s also generally a happy dog and loves people. All people. Any people. Children aren’t people. Children are gifts from God sent down to play with her, as such I lose all importance once a child enters the situation. For that matter, people that aren’t me also tend to get priority, unless of course she thinks I might leave her. There is only one real nightmare my dog has, and that’s being abandoned or not being able to be near me.


Anyway, back to today. It’s been a long boring day. So I decided to do all the boring things to get them out of the way. In an effort to subconsciously procrastinate the project I’m supposed to be doing, I decided I needed to take a shower. This reminded me that I was also supposed to give my dog a bath. Her “Aunt” had submitted a couple complaints about how stinky she was. I think she smells like normal dog, but it’s been a while since her last bath so I’d put giving her a bath on my “To-Do List”.


I am not a ritual doggie bather. It’s not like they sweat like we do, and being raised in a small town with inside-outside dogs by a farmer’s daughter, I was always taught that bathing a dog was really only necessary when the dog was actually dirty. With inside-outside dogs, this happens occasionally as the dog finds some doggie “Eau de perfume” to roll in which actually smells like “Eau de Rotten Roadkill”, or the dog decides it’s time to come inside wearing half it’s weight in mud. Since my dog is now a full-fledged indoor dog, she doesn’t really get dirty. So I tend not to bathe her. This is agreeable with her as well.


However, I also forgot that my dog is a stickler for rituals, and as such it’s been way too long since her last bath as demonstrated by her attitude. Since she’s very much a people-pleaser, it takes someone to know her well to catch on to her moods. She’s very much into civil disobedience in cases where she feels she’s being mistreated unfairly.


I should also mention here that she is extremely intelligent and learned early in life the principles of cause/effect. She does not like to get actually dirty or to make messes. Both of those activities she’s figured out lead to getting in trouble and/or baths.


So that she was “clean” prior made bathtime unfair. I also wasn’t packing to go anywhere, so no justified reason for the bath. In her mind, I was giving her a bath for no good reason.


I start the water to get it warm, and ask her to get in the tub. She usually will get to the edge of the tub and refuse to go further. Today, she refused to move completely, and tried to plant herself into the floor as much as possible.


I took her collar off for easy coat cleaning, then picked her up and put her in the tub. She stood in the tub stiffly and then looked back at me.


If it was possible to look at someone and have them burst into flames, she’d have done it. She was PISSED, and I laughed uncontrollably. I couldn’t help it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that mad about a bath before, and it was hilarious. (I really wish I had a picture of that look.)


Mostly it was hilarious because both of us knew that there was nothing she was going to be able to do about it.  I’m bigger, stronger, most days smarter, and I control the food and doorways.


She continued to glare at me the rest of the bathtime. After the bath was finished, I toweled her off, but she wouldn’t even recognize my presence. She’s passive-aggressive like that.


I took a shower then, and when I went to blow dry my hair, I decided to ask her if she wanted to be blow dried. This is not common place, and usually she could care less, but I thought I’d ask for fun.


Holding the blow dryer where she could see it, I called out. “You want some of this?”


She came running and I turned the blow dryer on. As soon as she was in the stream of air, she planted herself in the middle of the floor (where I normally stand to blow dry my own hair) and let me blow dry her…. and blow dry her… and blow dry her..


By this time, she’s normally bored of it as she usually doesn’t care to be blow dried.  I assumed she would just go away when she was bored. She did not. So I stopped blow drying her, and started to blow dry my own hair, but she was in the way. I asked her to move. She pretended not to hear me.  I moved closer to her expecting her to move out of the way, she did not. Instead she poked me with her nose and tried to get me to continue to blow dry her. Any time she could get in my way without actually moving her body from the floor, she would do so. She wanted to be blow dried, and she wasn’t done yet.


I seriously have not laughed so hard in months. She is so rarely that stubborn, especially over something I know she could really care less about, that I laughed and laughed and laughed.


Evidently, she wasn’t going to forgive me for the bath any time soon.

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Shopping for Jobs, Family, and America

November 25, 2011 under Just for Fun, Misc. Commentary

As it’s shopping season, which is quite possibly my favorite time of year, I couldn’t help but make a post about it.


But shopping anymore isn’t just blind shopping for me.


A few years ago, shopping was frivolous and fun and I did it without a care in the world. Then people lost jobs. I lost jobs. Tens of thousands of people lost jobs, and people got so sick of everything that they picketed, and protested.


The latter there made me realize just how cushy I was, and just how lazy and unbrave I am. I have a severe aversion to anything that might land me in jail, and that includes protesting.


Sadly, I know that I am not alone in this, and as such I’ve found a few ways to help our nation for those of us lazy rebels who want desperately to help out without the slightest risk of being arrested or pepper-sprayed.


Essentially, it’s called “Dollar Voting”. Every dollar you spend goes to someone. How much of that dollar is going to your local town? How much is going to your local economy? How much of that dollar is reinforcing the American workforce?


Step One:

I’m going to make an major effort this season to only shop locally at local Mom & Pop establishments. I already do this to some extent, but I’m going to make a bigger effort.


A few of my favorite’s in Austin:


Instep: A local shoe boutique which carries high quality shoes that are good for your feet.


Cypress Vanguard: Carries a ton of products made by local artists and artisans. Soaps, accessories, fashion.. Definitely a place to check out.


JenHeartsArt: Any social media addict knows her Twitter nametag jewelry is a must have.


Phoenicia Bakery – I’m addicted to their pita bread which they make at their south location fresh every day. Their north location also does some really good Mediterranean fare in the back of the grocery. (PS: Cut up any leftover pita into chip sized pieces and place in the oven @350 for about 10 minutes. Hot, fresh, pita chips. So seriously good with any dip, you can thank me later.)


Coffee Shops – It’s hard not to find a local coffee shop in Austin, so if you’re not already supporting a Mom & Pop coffee place.. now is the time to do it. I will slap you with a ruler if you don’t.


For some good Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend specials at local Austin merchants, visit “Keep Austin Stylish“.


(If you’re a local Mom & Pop shop in Austin, please leave a link to your shop in the comments. I’d love to come check out your store.)

You can find more ideas for supporting small businesses here: Support Your Fellow Americans: Shop Small Business 

Step Two:

I really hope everyone takes this challenge. I’m going to make a very concerted effort to buy as much American-made items as I possibly can substitute. At first I was daunted with where can I buy American-made items? Is anything really made in the USA anymore?  Then I found some sites:


As it turns out, the Louisville Slugger is still made in the USA.

Louisville Slugger made in the USA – ABC News


There’s also a couple bloggers who write about American-made products:

Tina Polito of writes about American-made products and is a great resource. (See her video clip here.)

Bill Sawalich’s “Bye, American” blog details his year of buying only American-made products. It’s a rather interesting read, and a challenge that really changes how you look at spending money. (See his video clip here.)


As I did more research, I found that there are quite a few products that are made in the USA, if you just look.


  • Ashley Furniture (plant in Wisconsin)
  • Lane Furniture (made in Mississippi)
  • Lazy Boy (Michigan)

Shoes: (Check for more selection at: )

  • CAPPS Shoe Company
  • Johansen Shoes
  • New Balance (most are made in one of 6 factories in the USA)
  • P.W. Minor (made in Batavia, NY)
  • Okabashi

Buy American Gas from American oil wells:

  • Conoco,
  • Sunoco,
  • OA Sinclair,
  • BP/Phillips,
  • Hess,
  • ARCO,
  • Maverick,
  • Flying J,
  • Valero (sold at Stripes or Shamrock stations)
  • Murphy Oil USA (sold at Wal-Mart).

Kitchen Items:

  • Nordic Ware – Minneapolis
  • Pyrex glass products – Pennsylvania
  • CUTCO Cutlery – Olean, NY
  • KitchenAid – Stand Mixers and Blenders only.
  • Vita-Mix blenders
Other Sources – And for more American-made products:
The Daily News Online – article on American-made Products – Great source for finding American-made products – Another great source for finding American-made products


Now if you can buy American-made at a Mom & Pop shop.. that might just make you totally awesome. I’m going to try.


(And yes, I am totally going to use this as a reason to go shopping. I recommend you do too.)


Image: Master isolated images /

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The Real Life Farmville feeds the hungry

October 2, 2011 under Just for Fun
Chick Picture at CHF

Just $10

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I have to say I’ve never been more tempted to purchase Farm Animals.

The Canadian Hunger Foundation (CHF) has come up with a wonderful way to get people involved in providing sustainable agricultural items to those in need.

The phrase “Teach a man to fish” comes to mind.

The site is so ingenious that it reminds me of one of the greater evils of the last 10 years. Zynga’s Farmville.  Very few of us weren’t sucked into that trap at least once,  and in many ways CHF’s new shopping site brings that game to life.

Buy goats to improve the family farms. Oh, they probably need some seeds to plant for feed as well, must purchase those. They should be able to have eggs and milk, those are necessities, so “click” purchase some chicks and cows.  Maybe add some fruit trees to round out the farm a bit.

If you really want to upgrade your real-but-virtual farming, you can purchase things like peanut grinders, educational packages, and clean water.

How awesome is that?

Actually, one person commented (name left out for privacy reasons), “I like giving bees and pretending I am an evil overlord, plaguing the poor of the world with BEES.”

Ah yes, there are many ways to play this new farming game..  Imagine yourself as good or evil as you want. It’s all for a good cause.

(CHF if I may make a suggestion.. when items are purchased add them to a personal virtual farm for us to look at and upgrade. See now that would totally rock. “See my farm? Yep, those are real animals feeding people all over the world. Cuz I’m awesome like that.”)

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