31 January 2013

Follow Up Friday:Carlos

Follow Up Friday: Carlos

I'm afraid I may have given the impression last week that Carlos is an extremely intelligent dog.
(Original post here)


Carlos is a very smart puppy. Emphasis on puppy.  He's not quite 11 months old.

And we aren't exactly sure what breeds he is comprised of, but definitely one of them is a chewing breed.
( I promise another Follow Up Friday on Carlos to clear up his heritage. Stay tuned.)

 These are some of the things that Carlos has eaten:

a football 

 a basketball

 the handle to his Jolly Ball

multiple tennis balls

 the mates to these flip flops plus a bunch of other
flip flops that have already been sent on to the trash.
there is a flip flop shortage at our house due to Carlos 
which is truly a crisis. 
a major crisis.

the mate to this shoe

a whole pair of these Sperrys
(this is the replacement pair)

the fringe on the only decent rug we own.
o no, he couldn't have eaten the Target rug that I purchased 
specifically because I did not care what happened to it

the bottom rung of the gameroom coffee table

some painter's tape that I then spent 30 minutes 
looking for

these thong panties 
(no, they are not mine) 
then he threw them up - unscathed

the noisemaker out of this squeaky toy
(thank goodness. it was SO annoying)

the handles to these throw toys

the insides of these dog toys

and many many many containers of rawhides and puppy biscuits.

Also, multiple soccer balls, a sock which has not surfaced since, and
lots of cat poop and even my daughter's fake poop that Santa brought her. 
I actually almost took the cat to the vet because I thought he had not "gone" in days.
Then I realized that sweet Carlos had been cleaning the kitty box for me. Ewww.

Apparently we can teach him lots of things but we can't teach him to stop chewing.

I can't wait until he's a grown up dog.

30 January 2013

Working on Nos. 50 and 12

No. 50: Build a  Snowman
No. 12: Take a snow skiing lesson (maybe)

This weekend I am headed to our cabin in south central Colorado.

Last time I was there, this guy was in the front yard.

This time I hope the front yard looks more like this:

Or even better, like this:

Because I have this and want to make a snowman, thereby completing No. 50 on my list.

I will be traveling with my two crazy girls. We may try to go Monarch Mountain, the closest ski area.
They may try snowboarding again, and I may get a chance to complete No. 12.

All depends on the weather.  And maybe whether there are any cute boys in town.
Traveling with those girls, I am pretty much at their mercy.

Keep your fingers crossed.

I'll update you next week.

And some gorgeous snow pics from our front yard:

The Twin Sisters
(or Twisted Sisters according to our neighbor)

some of the flora

and fauna

The Twin Sisters on a clear day-
this is the view out my front door there.
Yes, it is VERY hard to come back home to flat Texas.

28 January 2013

No. 44: Synesthesia, DoomsDay Preppers and Me

No. 44: Read a book a week for a month.
Wednesday is Indigo Blue  by Cytowic and Eagleman
 which brings us to:
Synesthesia, Doomsday Preppers and Me

My third book of the month was Wednesday is Indigo Blue.  This book is about synesthesia, a sensory trait that I only recently discovered existed and that I wanted to know much more about.

That said, this book was a bore. It's a science book for scientists. The subject is fascinating but the book is graphs and case studies and lots of "this trait goes this way but not that way".

But it did get me thinking. A lot.

First here is what synesthesia is: 
A sensation experienced in a part of the body other than the part stimulated.

There are many variations of how this presents itself but a common presentation is seeing numbers in color.  Whenever a synesthete sees the number 5 it might always be red. Or sometimes days are colored. Or flavored.  If a synesthete thought of Wednesday, it might be indigo blue. (Hence the title!)  Or Mango flavored.  Some synesthetes see  colors when they taste certain flavors, some visualize their weeks or months as floating in front of them in loops of  color, sometimes music even will bring on visions of color or a sense of taste.

 I am SO jealous of this trait and SO angry that I do not possess it. It is generally hereditary so I'm pretty angry with my parents over this one.  

The closest the scientists can compare it to for us non-synesthetes is tripping on acid- except for the synesthete this is how they have always been so it is just their normal reality.

Which brings me to the Doomsday Preppers. This, for the fortunate few who have not been exposed, is a TV show about people who are convinced that the world is coming to an end and/or being overrun with_____(you name it: illegals, extra terrestrials, bugs, melting polar ice) and so they are prepping their lives for their perceived eventuality.  This show has been one of the highlights for my husband of No. 23 on the list- Get Cable.

At first I thought "These doomsday people are loony." But after reading this book I realized that the BIG thing synesthesia teaches us is that reality is not real.  Or at least not the same for all.    For the synesthete  that has fives that are always red then that is their reality. But that isn't my reality. And probably not yours, either. Unfortunately my fives are usually in black. Or whatever color the computer monitor has them. Or whatever color my crayon is. But not always red.

So if in a synesthetic world numbers are always colored and Wednesdays are Indigo blue, well  then what else am I wrong about with my boring black numbers and Wednesdays that have no color? My reality is not yours and yours is not mine.

Man, I'm mad at my parents.

These are my cute parents.  My dad will be 90 in about two weeks.
I can't really be too mad at them because basically I got some pretty good genes from them.
But I sure would have liked to have gotten synesthesia from them, too.

Maybe I can just make myself synesthetic? Deepak Chopra seems to think so.  He says "Creating your own reality is the richest gift you received at birth".  
But I am not convinced.
It is like I have always told my Bunny.  "You can be anything you want to be- except that fire engine that you aspired to be when you were four."  
Unfortunately there are always limitations.

27 January 2013

Again- In Honor of Starting Something New.

Another fabulous project not quite completed.

Again taking a break from my 60x60 list to celebrate my third little project.   Except she isn't so little any more.

My baby Bunny turned fifteen on Saturday.  How can that be?

Here I am- 42 years old and 14 months pregnant. At least.
Pretty sure big sister was using me as an umbrella.

One week old. Love those sleeping babies.

And love those driving babies.

 And she loves her little cousins.

 She was a fierce pirate.

An even fiercer soccer player.

And obviously a fierce fly fisher.

These kind of driving babies make me nervous.

And now, somehow, all grown up.

My third child.   My last child.
Stubborn as a mule. I even went to the hospital three Mondays in a row just to have her. She's been making grand entrances ever since. 
Sharp as a tack.  Taught herself to read. 
Determined to be older and wiser than everyone else.
Has plans to be President. She says I can live in the White House basement.  
Another unfinished project. Can't wait to see how this one turns out.

24 January 2013

Follow up Friday

Follow Up Friday: Revisiting No. 47 ...Pay for someone else's coffee, meal, toll

O my, this was so much fun.

Throughout the month of December I bought drinks, meals, whatever for the people behind me in the drive-through lines.  (Original post here)  As long as it wasn't over $5.00 or so, I paid.   Overall I probably spent maybe $40.00 during the month.   Apparently there are lots of people like me who drive through for just a drink.

The responses were great. Lights flashing. Horns honking. Waves and grins. Restaurant staff saying "I wish someone would do that for me." And it gave me a good smile.  I was definitely rewarded.

And then I saw this article:

Canadians are known for their love of hockey, maple syrup and friendliness, but the last trait was most in evidence in the days before Christmas when one drive-through customer generously offered to foot the coffee bill for the one behind him in line. That customer set off a chain of events that soon made headlines on both sides of the border.
On Dec. 21, a Tim Hortons donut shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was in the midst of a full-scale domino effect, with the second customer paying for the coffee and donuts of the third and so on. The chain of generosity continued for three hours and a total of 228 orders, enough to inspire patrons who were ordering inside to start their own pay-it-forward chain. 

photo: www.flickr.com/photos/alanchan

...The chain reaction finally ended when one Grinch refused to pay for the three coffees that were ordered by the person behind him, even though his order of four coffees was taken up by the car before him.
..."We don't know who started it, but that's the beauty of this act of generosity," she added. "It was the start of something wonderful." 
The unexpected generosity came in the midst of the Random Cups of Kindness week, a promotional event in which Tim Hortons would give random customers their order for free until Dec. 22. More than 3,000 locations participated.                                             (by Jeff Stone | January 03 2013 4:30 PM)

Isn't that amazing? Two hundred and twenty eight people in a row picking up the tab for someone else.
I also received a blog comment from Pam at Simple Details with a wonderful idea.  
We all have gift cards this time of year and frequently there is the tiniest amount left on them after your big purchase. I've been carrying one around for over a year from Williams and Sonoma that has $1.42on it. I can never remember to use the dang thing. Pam came up with the perfect solution.

"My idea of fun! The other day at Starbucks the lady in front of me gave me the remainder on her card. Only .66 but that wasn't the point, so after using her .66 and my card I passed the remainder $1.57 onto the next person in line, everyone was smiling and I couldn't help but wonder how far it kept going!"  
So next time you end up with .57 on a gift card, hand it to the person behind you in the checkout line.(Pam has an amazing design and style blog. Check it out here.)
Next "10 Ideas That Will Help Set You Free"  by Ann Mehl showed up in my inbox.  

Ann is a life coach and she came up with ten ideas to improve your life. Her No. 6  fits here.
6. Give it away to get it back:
Whatever you want to attract more of in your life, give it away. Want more love and affection in your life? You have to give more love. Want more respect from your peers, then you have to give more respect to those around you. Want to feel inspired? You have to inspire those around you. Whatever it is that you feel you are lacking, give it away. Freely and often. You’ll get it back in spades.

And a few quotes on this concept:

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. 

"The more you give, the more you will receive, because you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life. In fact, anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given. That which doesn't multiply through giving is neither worth giving nor worth receiving".

And last but not least, from the Beatles:

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

So there. 
Pay it forward. Pass it on. 

Not a paid advertisement for any of these places, people, things. 

23 January 2013

We can all learn something new. Or can we?

Learning something new. Or not.
Also, my niece Allison is a GENIUS.

I used to have a a lovely little garden by the front fence:

                                                                        Ok. This isn't really MY garden. It is Monet's.
                                                                                 But mine was almost as pretty.
                                                                                  Giverny Photo by Ariane Cauderlie

Now I have this:

Garden mayhem.

And this:

Muddy dog wanting to come in but I am blocking his way.

This is Carlos.
Carlos is mostly nose. And mouth. But that's another post.

He came into our lives unexpectedly. At least for the adults of the house it was unexpected. The silly girls brought him home one Friday night when Daddy-O was out of town. And by the time the Prince of a husband got home-well, he was a pretty cute puppy.  (O! And the husband didn't speak to me for a week.)

Carlos- eight weeks. Pretty cute, huh?

And, as it turns out, Carlos is pretty smart.  (My niece Allison is a genius.)

He can open the back door.  Ok, lots of dogs learn how to turn the round knob with their paws.

Click here if you can't see the video.

BUT, Carlos also can close the back door.  (My niece Allison is a genius.)

Click here if you can't see the video.

Boy showed Carlos what to do twice and Carlos figured it out.

Now it is kinda weird when I hear the back door open, then shut and then this happy little face comes running to me. If I want to keep Carlos outside, I have to lock him outside.  He doesn't ALWAYS close the door after himself which can also be a problem.

But isn't it cool that he learned that?

Carlos also understands a little Spanish and sign language for "shut the door".

He inspires me.    Makes me wonder what he can't do.

And if he can do anything, maybe I can, too?   And so can you.

What do you want to learn but just haven't gotten around to?

Just a few footnotes:

I spent about two hours trying to figure out how to make these videos work. I emailed my Genius Niece Allison who has helped me with my blog before and she gave me advice. 
It didn't work. 
I googled things. 
It didn't work. 
I decided to go ahead and post this with the videos that DID NOT WORK and add a footnote on irony and humility at the bottom.  
I got another email from Genius Niece Allison clarifying her first suggestion. Lo and behold!  Everything works. 
Allison is a GENIUS. 
It is true that you can learn anything you set your mind to. Teachers are all around us. 

Also, I did not have anything to do with naming this dog. 

And yes, I know the back door could use a paint job. Try having a 60 pound dog opening and closing the door with his paws and claws and see how long the paint lasts at your house.  

And yes, possibly I did promise Allison that I would proclaim her genius-ness to all if she helped me figure this out.

21 January 2013

No. 44: Book Two: My Empire of Dirt

No. 44: Book Two: My Empire of Dirt
(No. 44: Read a book a week for a month)

My Empire of Dirt is subtitled "How one man turned his big city backyard into a farm".   "Locavorism gone mad" would have worked just as well.

The author, Manny Howard, was assigned to do a story on growing his own food by New York magazine. Already a bit of a foodie he dove right in with zero experience growing plants, raising animals, or apparently organizing any large project.  In his suburban backyard over the course of 7 months things grow, things die, things break, things eat each other.   I laughed probably more than I should have.

On one level this book reminds me of the fabulous Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  Except Barbara Kingsolver had a plan.  Manny, not so much.  Barbara managed to grow enough food for her family to eat off their land for an entire year. Manny made it (almost) a month. Feeding just himself. His family has almost disowned him by harvest time.  

No. 39 on my list is Grow a vegetable. One vegetable. Let's hope I have better luck than this guy.


I'm through with Book Two.

17 January 2013

No. 44: Book One: My Hollywood

Book One: My Hollywood by Mona Simpson
No. 44: Read a book a week for a month.

(It's a novel. See? It says so right on the front of the book.)

My first book for the month was a novel.  

The basic story: Young professional couple move to Hollywood, have baby, hire Filipina nanny.

The book is written alternately from the viewpoints of the mom and the nanny.

I could relate to the mom of this book on so many levels.

The mom, Claire, may have been in Hollywood but her issues were common to any suburban enclave: her fear of losing her self as she morphs from musician to "baby slave", the ebb and flow of a marriage and how so often the dads are oblivious to the incessantness of small children, the competition of mothers, how you never know what is going on in other people's marriages. There's even a little of that "why does she stay with him?" ick factor that occurs when you get a glimpse into the "not for public view" side of a marriage. 

The other half of the book is the nanny's story. Lola comes from the Philippines, leaving her own family to earn money raising someone else's children. She deals with the intricacies of emigrating to a foreign country complete with a new language, new customs, and new lifestyle.  Having gone to school in Mexico a million years ago, I could relate to the novelty of a foreign country that slowly becomes your new normal. I got bogged down in her network of nanny friends  (there were so many different names!) but maybe that was intentional. Half of the Philippines seemed to be in Hollywood with her.

And at the end there was a nagging question. Whose Hollywood was it? Claire's? Or Lola's? 

The book was a pretty good read but not a favorite for me. 

I liked the peek into the lives of the Hollywood "rich and famous".  I also liked the peek into the lives of the "not so famous"- the nannies and housekeepers who hold the whole charade together.  Even liked the ending. 
Much of Lola's narration required trudging through. I don't want to trudge when I'm reading.  

Book One is done.

And read or write the word "novel" a few times and you realize what an odd looking word it is. Awkward.

14 January 2013

In Honor of Starting Something New

Off track again... 

Taking another break from my 60 x60 list to celebrate one of the three most amazing projects I have ever undertaken. 

My son.

He turned 21 on Sunday.  How can that be? 

This is me 21 years and one month ago.

Hanging on to some 80s hair and loving those ENORMOUS glasses.

January 1992

 Nothing better than a sleeping baby...

From baby to Batman in the blink of an eye.

 Except maybe a kid in costume.

Love these two faces.

With our fabulous Golden, Jake, when he was just a puppy. 
Bone cancer took that dog much too soon.

My most favorite picture.

Love the kid, love the music, love that diamond earring.

 And just a few weeks ago.

With Christian from The Hates at the Beer Can House in Houston.
I'm claiming the kid on the right.
He's been my easy baby, my button hating boy, my music loving teen and now my challenging adult. Some projects are never ending.
Thank goodness.