Archive for August, 2012

Friday tip of the day – What’s going on inside your pet’s head Part 1

You love them, you feed them, you welcome them into your homes and even your beds.  But no matter how much you share with your dog, he can’t tell you why he just spent 20 minutes settling on a place to pee.  And you ct is never going to attach a note to the dead mouse she just left on your doorstep.  That’s whey PARADE rounded up some experts (human ones!) to help clear up pet owners’ top head-scratchers.

1.  Why do dogs drool (and why do some dogs drool more than others)?
If your pup’s friendly welcome leaves your clothes looking like they’ve been attacked by a giant slug, you can probably thank his genes:  Certain breeds’ lips just leak more than others.  Notorious droolers like Newfoundlands, bloodhounds, and basset hounds have loose jowls and lots of skin around their mouths where saliva can accumulate, making it far too easy for them to share their slobber.
As for the reasons for drooling, dogs are like humans:  Their mouths release saliva in the presence of food, or when they’re anxious or excited.  This behavior is perfectly normal, but if your dog begins to slobber more than usual, or if the saliva smells bad, yu may want to swing by the vet:  A wound in the mouth (from, say, a splinter), a dental infection, or even poisoning might be behind it.

2.  Why do cats chase balls of string?
Your cat’s obsession with yarn is not unlike a lion’s interest in a gazelle:  Stalking string is a predatory behavior, a very watered-down and domesticated version of a hunt.  “This type of play is good for cats; it helps discharge their prey-chasing instinct, and it also keeps them physically active and alleviates boredom,” says veterinarian Michael W. Fox, syndicated pet columnist and author of Cat Body, Cat Mind.  But since string can damage a cat’s digestive system if swallowed, try substituting a laser pointer – many cats love to chase it’s light.

3.  Why do dogs chase their tails?
“Sometimes, it’s just a sign that the dog is craving interaction and playtime,” says Warren Exkstein, and animal behaviorist and therapist and host of the syndicated radio program The Pet Show.  It that’s the case, you might put a stop to it by distracting your dog with another activity, like fetching a ball or tugging a rope.  But if tail-chasing – or biting – becomes a ritual (say, before going outside or getting fed), or if it becomes excessive (the dog works itself into a frenzy), it could signal an obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires help from an animal behaviorist or a vet.

4.  Why do cats present their owners with “kills”?
Experts agree that if your cat leaves a mouse on your doorstep, you should take it as a compliment.  “It’s actually a very warm, friendly thing for a cat to do,” says Patricia McConnell, certified animal behaviorist and author of The Other End of the Leash.  “It’s kind of like bringing flowers.”  If the mouse is dead, it’s probably just a gift, similar tot he kill a lion brings back to its pride.  But if the animal is still breathing, your cat may also be mimicking a behavior she displays with her kittens:  bringing half-dead animals home to teach her babies (or, in this case, you) how to finish the job.

5.  Is it true that dogs are color-blind?
Dogs do see color but, much like color-blind humans, they have difficulty distinguishing between certain hues.  Humans have three types of cones (the cells in the eye that recognize color); dogs have only two.  As a result, they see fewer colors than we do, and these colors are less rich.  (Cats also have only two types of cones, and they see colors even less vividly than dogs.)
“The common form of color blindness in people is red-green color blindness, and that’s really what dogs have too,” says Jay Neitz, Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmology and a color vision researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle.  For dogs, the rainbow is reduced to two colors, “blue at one end and yellow at the other, with colorless bands where pure red and pure green would be.”  But don’t feel too sorry for your pup:  What dogs lack in color-perceiving cones they make up for in abundance of rods, the cells in the eye that aid night vision.  They ar also exceptionally good at spotting movement, which is why your dog is aware of every squirrel in your yard even when he’s got all four paws inside.

Written by Marilyn vos Savant, PARADE section of Wenatchee World newspaper.
Part 2 will be published next Friday

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August 31, 2012 at 6:19 am Leave a comment

Happy First Birthday LJ!

LJ and I a year ago

Today is my grandson’s first birthday.  I can’t believe how fast this last year has gone.  It seems like just yesterday we were all waiting in the hospital to meet this special little red-head.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend lots of time with this little guy over the last year and have enjoyed every minute of it.  I can’t wait for the next, and the next, and the next year to see what life has in store for him.

Here are some pictures of his birthday party that was held this last Saturday.

All decorated in blue for the big party!

It was so much fun watching all the little kids play

My son Ben with my great-grandson Mason

Friends and family

“Uncle” Stuart made it to the party just before leaving for DC

Mom and Dad helping LJ open all his gifts

Where do I start?

LJ eating his birthday cupcake

Yummy, that was good!

LJ fell in love with “Grandma” Kathy.

Me with the birthday boy 🙂

Happy first birthday LJ!  I love you so much!

August 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

Alaska 2012 Days 7 & 8

Monday, August 20th, Day 7

Today we’re heading for Homer.  First stop – Explorer Glacier!

Then through the tunnel into Whittier.  I had never been to Whittier and had heard of the tunnel that the train and automobiles take turns going through.  Since we were so close we had to go.

It’s a quaint little town surrounded by glacier covered mountains.

It was pouring down rain so we didn’t stay long.  Susie tried to enjoy the sights but was a little overwhelmed by the weather, hee hee!

A train came through the tunnel just as we were lining up to go back.  Then off we went to more adventures.

Some friends of ours have a daughter who owns a restaurant in Coopers Landing called the Kingfisher Roadhouse situated right along the Kenai River.  We stopped by and found it was closed until later in the day.

Fortunately she was at her little hot dog stand close by so we got to meet her, have a delicious Reindeer dog and a nice visit.  Man, I LOVE Alaska!  We’ve met so many new people and made so many new friends along the way!

Next we drove to Kenai where we drove to Beluga Lookout.  It was the low tide so didn’t see any whales but still a beautiful view!

We also stopped by to see the Russian Orthodox Church that was built in 1895.  It was built from logs in the shape of a ship.

We continued down the road along beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains dotted with glaciers until we arrived in Homer.  We stayed at the Land’s End hotel at the very end of the spit.

What a wonderful place to stay!  Our room looked out over the water where we watched the boats come in bringing in the catch of the day, and watched the sea otters playing.  And beyond, the beautiful snow topped mountains.

As much as we hated to leave the room, we knew we only had a few short hours in town so of course we had to head to the Salty Dawg Saloon for a drink, leave a dollar, and buy a t-shirt.

Are we tourists or what?

Then off to Captain Pattie’s for a delicious seafood dinner.  The best scallops and smoked salmon spread I’ve ever eaten!

Homer showed us a beautiful sunset at the end of the day.

Tuesday, Aug. 21st, Day 8
Our last day in Alaska

We got up in the morning and took one last look at the beautiful water, mountains & fishermen and said good-bye to the friendly sea otters and headed to the airport in Anchorage.

We pulled off to the side of the road and got a shot of yet another view of this beautiful state.

Thank you Alaska for another wonderful trip.  We’ll miss you!
Until next time!

August 25, 2012 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

Friday Tip of the Day – Top 10 Pre-Moving Day Tips for Pets

Pet Friendly Move: Top 10 Pre-Moving Day Tips for Pets

Submitted by Sherry Burdic on the trips with pets website.

If you’re planning a move with your pet, it’s important to do some homework and be prepared. Moving has the potential to create a lot of anxiety for pets…particularly for older pets, most cats, and skittish pets. Pre-move preparation is the key to helping ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible for your pet and you.

Here are the top 10 pre-moving day tips for pets:

1. Pet Laws and Regulations: Become familiar with the state/province leash laws, pet ordinances, and pet licensing requirements. For state/province laws, contact the State Department of Agriculture or State Veterinarian’s office. For local ordinances, contact the City Clerks’ office, local humane organization, or animal control facility in the area in which you’ll be relocating.

If you are planning to rent a house or apartment, be sure to carefully review the lease to ensure that pets are allowed before you move in.

2. Talk To Your Pet’s Vet: Talk to your veterinarian about traveling with a pet who doesn’t like to travel. They can recommend behavior modification tactics or medication that might lessen the stress of travel. Depending on your new address, your pet may also need additional vaccinations, medications, and health certificates. In addition, be sure to get a copy of all your pet’s medical records for your pet’s new vet.

3. Secure a New Vet: Be sure to have a new veterinarian lined up before you move. Ask your current vet for a referral or research a new veterinarian online.

4. New Identification Tag: Get a new pet ID tag that includes your pet’s name, your name, new address and telephone number. An up-to-date ID tag is a lost pet’s ticket home.

5. Maintain Normal Routine: Pets are creatures of habit and love routine. Do your best to not throw off their routine by gradually packing over a period of time. The less commotion and more normalcy, the better!

6. Secure Your Pet in Car: Have a plan for how you’re going to properly secure your pet in your vehicle. This is a crucial element of pet travel that is not taken seriously enough. The reality is that hundreds of pets are injured or even killed each year because they are allowed free rein in cars, trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Even more real is the toll in human life and property damage caused when an “enthusiastic” animal distracts a driver, leading to an accident.  Vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, pet car seats and pet travel crates are all excellent ways to keep your pet (and you) safe when traveling in your vehicle. It’s important to familiarize your pet with the vehicle restraint of choice weeks or months before traveling so that they are comfortable.

7. Secure Pet Friendly Accommodations in Advance: If your move is such that you’ll need to make overnight stops along the way, be sure to secure these accommodations before you hit the road. Find pet friendly accommodations along
your route by plugging in your origination location and final destination. Pet policies do change some times without notice and accommodations may be limited so it’s recommended that you book a pet friendly hotel in advance.


8. Plan Ahead for Air Travel: Check with your veterinarian and the airline if your pet will be flying. The airline will require a health certificate issued by your vet. You’ll also want to purchase an appropriate airline approved pet carrier. Be sure you take the time to familiarize your pet with it at least one month prior to travel. Familiarize yourself with the rules specific to the airline you are flying.

9. Calm Energy: Even though moving is typically a crazy and hectic time for you, it’s important to keep yourself as calm and relaxed as possible. We all know that our pets sense our energy and when we’re amped up, they get stress. So, whatever works for you to keep your sense of calm, do it!

10. Tell Your Pet: This may seem out there to some, BUT, have a talk with your pet letting them know about the move. Let them know what to expect on moving day, about the new house, the yard, etc… If nothing else, it will make you feel better, which in turn will help your pet.

Moving to a new home with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful if you are prepared and plan ahead!

For more tips on traveling with pets, go to www.tripswithpets.com

August 24, 2012 at 7:36 am 1 comment

Alaska Aug. 2012 Days 5 & 6

Saturday, Aug. 18th Day 5

After enjoying a couple more hours in the cute little town of Talkeetna, we headed south again.

First stop was in Wasilla at the Iditarod Headquarters to look around.

Then we drove by Sarah Palins house.  Well, we got close at least.  Susie was thrilled to get a glimpse of it.  Hers is the brown house in back of the fence.

Next we drove to Palmer to the visitor center.  Kathy really wanted to go through the Colony Museum but unfortunately it had just closed.  We watched a video on the settlers though and got a real understanding of what they had gone through those many years ago when the government moved 200 families up to the Matanuska Valley during the depression.  It was really interesting.

I had told Susie that we were going to stay at a Hostel in Anchorage.  Now I’ve stayed in many, many hostels in my travels and LOVE staying in them.  But Susie has never stayed in one and was NOT happy about staying in one on this trip.  She was getting more and more nervous the closer we got to Anchorage.  Was she EVER relieved when we pulled into the Marriott and found out it was all a joke!  She quickly forgave me for putting her through all the anguish once we walked into the beautiful room.

 

Sunday, Aug 19th, Day 6

We headed to downtown Anchorage for breakfast and was greeted by a bagpipe band playing in a park.  We pulled over to see what was going on and found out there was a marathon and they were playing as the runners passed by to encourage them.  That was a special treat.

Our next stop was at the Snow City Café for breakfast, a restaurant featured on drive-ins, Diners & Dives.  We had to wait an hour to get seated but it was a beautiful day and there was a pot of coffee that we could help ourselves to as we waited.  It was well worth the wait.  We had the meatloaf sandwich and seafood chowder.  Oh, so good!

After breakfast we walked across the street to Resolution Park overlooking Cooks Inlet.

By this time Kathy and Susie were getting tired of me telling them it was picture time so this is the shot I got of them J

The next place we visited was the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  What a wonderful place to learn about the history of all the different tribes that originated in Alaska.

We walked along a path that led to several different types of houses the Native Alaskans lived in.

A guide talked in each of the houses and told of each of the tribes customs and ways of life.

I got another shot of Kathy and Susie as they were taking a break from the tour.

Since we had visited the dive bar in Fairbanks we decided to find the oldest tavern in Anchorage.  The Cabin Tavern was the place!  It’s been serving drinks to Alaskans since 1940.

What a beautiful old log cabin with wooden floors and a great stone fireplace.  The bartender was a sweetheart and told us we had to try her special Bloody Marys.  They were great!  Since Susie is a bartender she was thrilled to get the special recipe that she’ll take back to Wenatchee and serve her customers.  This was the perfect drink to have before going to dinner and back to our motel.

August 24, 2012 at 5:16 am 1 comment

Alaska Aug. 2012, Days 3 & 4

Thursday, Aug. 16th Day 3 

Kathy, Susie and I had breakfast in our room and headed south towards Talkeetna.  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery on the way.  We didn’t see any more moose but the mountains and forests were enough to keep us happy.  We stopped at Rose’s Café just up the road from the employee housing I stayed in in Healy when I was working at the Princess Lodge in Denali and shared their famous huge hamburger.  Then stopped and got gas at Denali ($4.60 a gallon) and were on our way again.  We pulled into Nenana and saw a rack of fish being dried for the dogs to eat in the winter.

We stopped at Mary’s Café and gift shop just north of the McKinley Princess lodge.  I had stopped there several years ago and was really impressed with Mary Carey, an Alaskan pioneer who wrote several books on her adventures after moving to Alaska in 1962.  Kathy bought one of her books and now can’t put it down.  We pulled into beautiful downtown Talkeetna and settled in our cabin for the evening.

Made a nice dinner in the cabin and had a quiet evening.  I e-mailed Shirley, a friend of mine who now lives in Talkeetna, so we could meet the next day.

 

Friday, Aug. 17th Day 4

We went to the Roadhouse Inn for breakfast.  It’s a really fun old restaurant with family style seating.  We sat next to a couple from Spokane and visited.  Had reindeer sausage with our breakfast but reluctantly passed on the cinnamon rolls and other yummy looking pastries.

Then back to the cabin to grab our lunch and head to the train depot for the Hurricane Turn Flagstop Train ride that goes along the Susitna River & Indian River Canyon.  What a fun ride!  We left the Talkeetna Depot around 12:15 and headed out of town into the “bush”.

I went back to the cargo car where several people were riding with their supplies.  It was so interesting hearing their stories.

Three young men had a huge pile of supplies as well as a raft, guns and bow & arrow.  They were going to raft back down the river and hunt for bear along the way.  This was their second trip, they were from Anchorage.

I talked to a couple of other guys sitting with their dogs and heading up to their cabins.  One of them said that most people had a place in town as well as up in the woods and depending on what was going on in their life at the time depended on how long they stayed at one place or another.  We stopped several times as we were traveling up to Hurricane Gulch.  Many of the passengers were bringing supplies to their homes, including lumber and other building materials.  Some were spending the week-end; some had gone into town to get their monthly supplies.

We even passed the smallest town in Alaska called Sherman.  Population 4.  Two of the residents were standing in the doorway and waving at us as we passed by.

Warren, the conductor was a real hoot!  He told us stories of the area and people all along the way and kept us quite entertained.

When we got to Hurricane Gulch the train stopped right on the bridge so we could get a good look.

Unfortunately we didn’t see a lot of animals.  Susie got a glimpse of a bear and I got a glimpse of a moose and that was it.  But it was OK, the people we visited with along the way and the stories and scenery was well worth the trip.

When we returned to the depot my good friend Shirley, who I had met in 2006 when I worked at the Denali Princess Lodge met us at the depot and invited us up to her cabin for dinner.  We followed her along a dirt road for about 10 miles until we arrived where her husband Paul and their dog Jake were waiting for us.  We had salmon, that they had caught, for dinner as well as freshly made jam she had made that day.  For dessert she made a cobbler out of blueberries she had picked that day also.  It was an absolutely delicious dinner and so much fun catching up!

Their cabin is totally “off the grid”, powered by solar panels and a generator.  Upstairs is a couch in front of a big picture window overlooking the beautiful forest.  On a clear day they can see Mt. McKinley.  The porch is lined with lettuce plants that they go out and pick for their salad.

Jake absolutely fell in love with Kathy and sat by her almost the entire time we were there.  He wanted her to hold his hand.  Sweet little guy!

We visited for hours and finally had to head back to our cabin in Talkeetna with a full belly and a warm heart.  What another perfect day in Alaska!

August 23, 2012 at 6:47 am Leave a comment

Alaska, Aug. 2012 Days 1 & 2

Alaska! Days one and two

Kathy, Susie and I are on our trip to Alaska.  We’re having a great adventure!

Tues, Aug 14th, day 1

We left town around 3pm and drove to Heathers.  Had dinner with them and dropped off my car.  Then we drove to Comfort Inn to drop off Susies car and shuttle to airport.  This is when I realized that I left my driver’s license at home.  Damn!  I went back out to Susies car to fill out the paperwork for the car rental and get my passport.  After filling out the paperwork I couldn’t find my passport.  We looked for about a half hour when Kathy finally found that it slipped in a crack under the panel in back of car.  Damn!  Finally got our luggage, turned in the paperwork and took the shuttle.  Got to the gate just in time for boarding.

Our seats were separated but the people I was seated next to were the parents of the girl Susie was seated next to so we switched and we were all together again.  Nice!  Got to the airport in Alaska and went to Hertz to pick up our rental car.  Since I didn’t have my driver’s license we had to put Susie as the main driver.  Because it was under Susies name we couldn’t use my credit card so Susie had to use her debit card.  Since it was a debit card they put an extra $200 on which pretty much depleted Susie of all her money in her account.  Damn!  We picked up the car and drove back to the terminal to get Kathy and luggage.

I decided to drive even though I didn’t have my driver’s licence and was setting up the GPS when the lady from Hertz saunters by seeing me in the driver’s seat.  Since I mentioned I had forgotten my driver’s license she came up to the car and said “You don’t want to do that”  She said I could get in REAL trouble driving the car without a license and she could take the car away from us right then.  Damn!  I conceded that Susie was going to be the driver on this trip.  We arrived at our Downtown Log Cabin“B&B” around 2:30 am.  It’s a cute little 2 bedroom house across the street from the main house where another couple was also staying…Rosie & Bud.  We finally got settled in and went to sleep.

Wednesday, Aug 15th, day 2

Got up and Allen, the owner of the B&B, came over to greet us and give us pointers on where to go and what to see.  Then we headed up to Chena Hot Springs to go to the Aurora Ice Museum.  On our way up we stopped at a mini mart and the lady at the counter had family who lived in Wenatchee.  Small world!  Wow was the Ice Museum a great tour!

It was a beautiful building made of blocks of ice with lots of ice sculptures and even an ice bar where we drank apple martinis in ice martini glasses that we watched being made.  Susie bought a young couple a second drink and we visited with the bartender Jameson.  He had worked at the same Princess lodge where I worked the year before.  Nice visit!

It’s tradition to toss the ice glasses in the air when you leave as you make a wish.  I got a great shot.

We checked out the hot springs and resort and were on our way back to Fairbanks.  We made a wager who ever saw the first moose got to get their chowder paid for and I saw her!  She was crossing the road in front of us.  So we went to the Chowder House (a restaurant that a friend of Susies recommended) for fantastic chowder and a huge baked salmon sandwich on ciabatta bread.  Then we headed to North Pole to go to the Santa Claus House.

Got some ornaments and souvenirs and then back to Fairbanks to go to Fred Meyer to stock up on groceries for the trip south.  Kathy was done in and stayed in the car while we were shopping.  We were planning on going to the Midnite Mine Bar (another place Susies friends suggested) and were afraid Kathy wouldn’t make it but we got there and got her in and boy did she rally!  She grabbed a menthol and a screw driver and was good to go!

It was a GREAT dive bar “where everyone knows your name”.  The people were sooo friendly, the bartender bought us our first round and we had a fun visit with one of the locals who knew Susies friends.  Susie friends were thrilled we stopped in to see their friends.

We finally headed back to our B & B, sat out on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful night.  I caught Kathy smoking again :-)!  She’s really not a smoker but is just having fun.

We wanted to stay up to watch the northern lights but couldn’t make it that long.  We finally fell into bed around 1:30 after a very fun, full day in the Fairbanks area.

August 19, 2012 at 7:20 am Leave a comment

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