With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought LOVE would be an appropriate topic…

Sadie is a rather aloof dog. She loves to hang out nearby, but rarely snuggles (unless it is cold out!). She likes attention, but not too much. She refuses to share her sleeping space with anyone. And yet…every once in a while…she decides to show her brother and sisters that she does, indeed, love them:

365/28: Looooovvveeee you!!!!

Usually, it just involves a few gentle nudges with her nose. But, sometimes, she goes so far as to snuggle with her chosen victim. Not long after I took this photo, she curled up right next to Bonnie and they napped together. It always makes me smile to see the kids getting along!

In a whole different manner of love…my new books arrived on Friday! I love F. Paul Wilson. As an author, that is. I adore the characters he has created in his Repairman Jack series and have enjoyed his ability to blend science fiction and general weirdness into everyday scenarios. I highly recommend his books to anyone who enjoys a little strangeness in a very well written storyline. His other books are equally well written, with fun main characters to follow…I’ve just not read that many of them. Yet.

365/29: F. Paul Wilson

Back to more critter love…this last one is not part of my picture a day project, but fits the topic of discussion here. I happened upon these two snuggling when I came into the room to put away the clean laundry. They were so sweet together – normally they chase each other around the house trying to maul one another to death. It is reassuring to know that it is just play-mauling (I hope).

Kitty Love



We went to see the matinee of Avatar 3-D yesterday. I enjoyed it a lot. The plot was very nativist and (I thought) trite, so don't expect anything new or mind-blowing there and the corporate head-honcho character annoyed the crap out of me with his apparent wishy-washiness (I don't want to throw in any spoilers so I won't go into any more detail). The movie itself though was stunning. It is amazing how far 3-D technology has come…I remember watching some 3-D movie as a kid with the red and blue glasses…this nothing like that.

A friend on Facebook asked about getting nauseous…I could see someone feeling ill if you have a tendency toward motion sickness. Even with the advances, the 3-D sometimes has trouble keeping up with the fast action (I learned about the whys and such from Neil LOL) which sometimes makes it feel a little wonky to watch. I noticed in some of the fast action scenes people became sort of see-through…I think that was how my brain was processing the images.

And I would definitely caution against sitting too close to the screen – our seats were almost all the way at the back of the theater in the dead center of the row (which was amazing considering the theater was already packed when we got there!). And I can't imagine trying to keep up with the action while watching it on an IMAX screen. With that said, our friend who went with us was worried about that because she tends to get ill and she LOVED the movie. I believe her words were "the best movie she's ever seen".

All that aside, it was beautiful. It is long (nearly 3 hours), but I sat through the whole thing even after pounding a 32 ounce Coke at the start of it. ūüėČ The scope of it really draws you in, and even with the script predicatbility, you want to keep watching (well, _I_ did anyway).

My only other gripe about the movie is that they recycle the glasses…mine looked like someone had taken fine grain sandpaper to them…so check yours out in the lobby before you get into the theater (I didn't).

Bottom line is, I would recommend seeing it in the theater for the spectacular imagry. If you are worried about cost, do what we did and hit up a matinee (still not cheap, but much less than prime time). :) 

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“Rescuing Sprite”

So, another tear-jerker dog book. As I stated in my last post, this one is much more "to-the-point". It is the author's recollections of his family, and dogs, and having to make the tough, end of life decisions for one of them (one of the dogs, that is). There really isn't a story to it or a plot, it was just a guy talking about his love for his dogs, but it was still a good read. My only real gripe with it is that there seemed to be some serious name-dropping going on in a few sections. But it could also be that this guy really is good friend's with these folks and that they played an important part to his coping with his grief. The problem is, I didn't get that sense from it…it really just seemed like name-dropping in the middle of a sad memoir.

If you have dogs, I would recommend this as a good read…it touches on the inevitable and as the author even says, it is nice to know we are not along in our fears of losing our favorite pals.
Oh yeah, and this one is SUPER short…he even states that it started as an essay…which is pretty much what this book is, an expanded essay. 

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I just finished reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain”. The first (3 pages) chapter made me cry and I was hooked. The plot gets a little soap-opera over the top in places, but overall, a very touching book narrated by a dog who is reminiscing about his life. It is a very fast and easy (if you can see through the tears) read for anyone looking for a quick story. The author is from Seattle which is why I finally bought it to read.

I must be in the mood for some kind of release, because I am now reading “Rescuing Sprite”, which is a memoir written by Mark Levin. It is much more to-the-point. I didn’t think I would like it as well, but I do. His recollections remind me of my own interactions and feelings about Sadie and Moo. The overall story is about how he and his family dealt with the end of life decisions they had to make for their dog Sprite and the lessons learned about life and love. I am almost done with it, but again, I keep crying (dammit)…made it really hard to read on the plane while sitting next to the very corporate business man in his serious business suit.

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Back to work!

Well, it is back to work today after taking almost a week off. The day has been (and will continue to be) spent wading through emails. Doesn’t look like I really missed much last week. And this week is just more of the same-old, same-old.

Last night Neil took me to see Slumdog Millionaire. Great movie. Not really at all what I was expecting, though, I don’t really know what I was expecting. As we were leaving for the movie, somehow both Neil and I forgot to latch Marly’s crate. Probably because she was already sleeping in it as we got ready to go. So, she got to spend about four hours with free-reign of the house. Considering all she could have gotten into, the results when we got home were pretty good. She ate my birthday card from my sister…and when I say ate,¬†I mean there is no trace of that card to be¬†found anywhere in the house. She also chewed through the heating pad cord (which was still plugged into the wall).¬†For that, she got seriously scolded – thank goodness we didn’t come home to an electrocuted dog! And one of Neil’s shoes was found in the middle of the living room (no, not where he left it). Luckily, it¬†wasn’t chewed. When I walked in from the garage, Moo was actually asleep again in her crate. Crazy.

She is driving me bonkers today – whining. “Mom! Hey¬†Moooooommmmm! There’s snow, Mom! Common…I want to go play in it!!!!” Yes, we still have snow on the ground, though yesterday it melted completely off the paved areas. And today it is slowly, but surely melting everywhere else too. It must be nice to be a dog¬†and have no real responsibilities other than to eat and not go potty in the house. Alas, “Mom” here has to work…sorry, Moo!

And with that…I must get back to it. *sigh* I need to win the lottery so I can make my own schedule doing things that I really want to be doing.

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Books: “Real Food: What to Eat and Why”

Just a quick review of a recent read…I love this book.

OK maybe not THAT quick of a review – let me elaborate a bit. First off this book is an easy read. The author does repeat herself a bit throughout various sections, but overall, she makes her point clearly and well. [A disclaimer that I will throw in now is that this book (for me) is the starting off point in a lot more serious reading up on the topics that it discusses – the broadest overview of the topics being that industrialization of our food is making us sick.] I don't expect everyone to read this and then suddenly go out and start eating lard (which is what a lot of the reviewers of this book seem to think might happen) but what I do expect is that anyone with half a brain to read this and maybe do some more digging on their own to find out where their comfort level is with the information and make informed decisions that work for them. I will also say – because many of the reviews I read of this book before buying it seem to have missed this point – is that when Ms. Planck is talking about various diets and foods she also mentions time and time again how important exercise is to the equation. Changing your diet over to fully traditional foods without changing your exercise habits will not do you any good. This book does not tout any such "no exercise" diet miracle…it only gives a wonderful overview on why it may be very, very important for us all to get back to our roots when it comes to our eating habits.

This topic hits so close to home for me for so many reasons…my stepmother, who was an averagely healthy American died of a rare soft-tissue cancer last fall. My father had quintuple bypass surgery a year and a half ago. My FIL had quadruple bypass surgery yesterday. My mother, who is the epitome of health based on today's conventional standards, still has high cholesterol and her doctor wants her to start taking a statin drug. My grandmother was B vitamin deficient (as am I, but on a MUCH lesser scale) and had dementia in her final years. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's. A good friend's mother (who never smoked a day in her life) died of lung cancer. My grandfather, who ate two eggs with bacon every morning of his adult life was never overweight and never had cholesterol "problems".  

I have been a firm believer that our food and lifestyle choices were the cause of so many problems for a very long time now…since high school physiology class. When I was in college I was studying for a degree in biochemistry (for medical research, etc.) a lot of questions started popping up in my head about our food and why our society is so sick (generally speaking) – why there was so much more cancer, heart disease, etc. My unsubstantiated conclusion was always that it had to do with pollution in our air and our food. Of course, that didn't address why people who still actually ate well rounded home-cooked meals were also culprits of so much disease. To me the whole fast food/processed food thing was obvious, what was so much less obvious was the real effect new farming methods (particularly when raising meat) had on the nutritional quality of the end product. Sure I had read all about hormones and steroids and such, but knew nothing about the differences in grain-fed vs grass-fed, etc.

Again, this book is really just a high-level overview of these topics, but a wonderful starting point for anyone looking to do a bit of reading up on nutrition and the misnomers of today's popular dietary beliefs.

OK, ok…one last personal disclaimer and then I am done. I have never been a "hippy" or been into "homeopathic" or "alternative" remedies or medical practices (I say this because I know a lot of people who think this sort of thing – anything that goes against the grain of conventional thinking – is "woo-woo" kind of stuff). However, over the past years I have had several health problems that standard medical treatments have done almost nothing for. Because of that, I started looking into alternative ideas and methods to help with those ailments – what I found is that almost ALL of the alternative treatments revolved around changing what I ate. Yes, I am currently very much overweight, I have not practiced what I have learned well at all (I eat crap fast food and pizza regularly), and exercise? Ha! But for whatever reason, this book has really motivated me to make the effort to turn over that leaf and get going with getting myself back to a healthy me again.


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