Monday, December 31, 2012

A Lot Has Happened In The Past 12 Months

If any one company has their finger on what's happened in the past 12 months, what was popular, what people were interested in, it's Google. Every year around this time they release their "Zeitgeist Year In Review" video.

Here is a look back at 2012:


Celebrate safely tonight friends!

(image via)

Friday, December 21, 2012

One Magic Christmas

I so love this movie. Starring a 4-year-old Sarah Polley in her first movie. It's just so good. And sweet. And nostalgic. And it reminds me of being a kid in the '80s. We had these snowsuits and everybody had a hat with a pom pom on it (they always gave them away at gas stations or Canadian Tire each winter).

Moms wore big boots and puffy ankle-length parkas.

And cars were almost always brown (or beige) and linear and wagon-y. 

Plus, it was filmed in Canada, and not far from where we grew up, so it really looks like home. The city/town in this movie reminds me of exactly how I remember cities and towns as a kid.

Oh, and there's a wonderful Christmas message to the movie, which makes it pretty great too.

Have you seen it? Do you love it too?

If you haven't, check it out. You won't be disappointed.
(images from here and here)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting for Santa

                                                           (image from here)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why Giving a Dog as a Christmas Present is a Bad Idea

Dogs are not a gift.

Dogs are a responsibility.

Dogs require commitment, consistent training, a heck of a lot of love and attention, a sense of routine and predictability when it comes to behavioural expectations and consequences, and their own line in the household schedule and grocery list. We do a monthly budget report and Juno has her own line in there as well.

Dogs are costly. They can get sick or injured and medications or surgeries are very expensive.

Dogs need healthy food.

Dogs need plenty of regular exercise.

As puppies, dogs need constant supervision and good training. We felt like we brought home an instant 2-year-old with Juno - she was into everything the night we brought her home. We literally followed her around to start teaching her what was ok for her to play with and what wasn't. The learning curve was a straight line - UP!

We learned on-the-job. When she wasn't crying or whining those first nights, she was making a mess...of the bathroom kind. And there was no diaper, so we became intimately acquainted with fluids and solids wicked fast. We stood out in 3am rainstorms under umbrellas in our pyjamas to teach her to go to the bathroom.

It wasn't a cake walk. It wasn't romantic. It was dirty and it was difficult.

Four and a half years later, it still isn't a cake walk. Juno gets taken into account when we do anything from making weekend plans to travelling to planning for a day outside to planning for a day inside to having furniture delivered or something installed or repaired. Word of advice: try to take care of the dog's feeding and exercise needs and then do what you've got planned. We've learned (especially with a bigger, more active dog) that it's easier to have a calm, needs-met dog underfoot than an overexcited, raring-to-go one while you're trying to get stuff done or have extra people in the house. A tired dog is a happy dog which makes for happy, productive owners and more time for relaxing as a family together later.

So, while a dog is not a good present to give to someone as a surprise when they're not prepared or involved in the decision, Christmas can be a wonderful time of year to add a dog to your family when everyone in your house is on board with the decision and plans to fully commit to raising a healthy, happy dog for, potentially, the next 8-15 years. And everyone may be at home a bit more than usual over the holidays, which can be really helpful too.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Many Muzzles Make Light Work



Dogs decorating the Christmas tree!

But, caution: These dogs are professionals! Don't try this at home.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

When, What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear...

...but a house decorated for Christmas!

We added a little extra festivity upstairs this year - with a skinny tree!

Decorating with 'White Christmas' on in the background - the perfect soundtrack for digging through the boxes!

Our tree all done!

How are you guys doing with your holiday preparations? We still need to shop for and wrap presents. 19 days to go!

Monday, December 03, 2012

eBook coming soon!

Hey guys, our ebook is coming soon! Get your paws on the YouTube book trailer right here:


Stay tuned for the launch on iTunes for iPad and Amazon.com!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Guy

 

         Don't laugh at the new guy...it's rude.
                                           
                                           via

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Author Self-Portrait

Me after a long day of book editing and formatting. See my glasses behind me? And my Tudor collar of fur coming in for winter?


But now, I sleep.

Wake me up for supper?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boo! Happy Halloween!

We're not real big on Halloween around here, but we will be handing out candy and enjoying the parade of cute and scary costumes that comes to our door!

So, this isn't Juno in a costume:

and this isn't Juno in a costume with her identical friends:

But, cute.

Hope you all have a fun and safe Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nice is Nice, But These 12 Alternatives Are Better


Synonyms for simple words.

Now these are basic, but they got me thinking, particularly as it applies to us as we're writing our book about the dog.

Why write 'he said' when you can choose 'he remarked' or, when appropriate, 'he whispered'? Ooh, the intrigue.

But, it's easy to go overboard, so be careful. When it sounds cheesy, then you're trying too hard. Let others read what you write. Reading a book (or article or any piece of writing) that sounds like it's a walking ad for thesaurus.com detracts from any sophistication you intend to convey with your writing, so, again, be careful.

It doesn't always have to be 'cordial', something can really just be 'lovely'. And I'm pretty sure 'elegant' will be better than 'dazzling' any day. Make sure the alternatives are better, and not just something different.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Do Animals See In The Mirror?

In human psychology circles, the 'rouge test' is considered an important assessment tool for evaluating self-awareness in children.


Toddlers start recognizing themselves in a mirror when they are around 18 months old. Passing the 'rouge test' is one sign that a child's cognition is developing properly.

In the animal kingdom, higher primates, dolphins, orcas, elephants, and European magpies are the only animals to recognize that what appears in a mirror is actually their reflection.

And, not surprisingly, pigs don't recognize themselves, but do use clues in mirrors to focus on food that is placed behind them!

So what about cats and dogs? Domestic animals are usually startled by images in a mirror when they are young, and when the images don't pass the "sniff test" (which they never do!), the dog or cat learns to just ignore them.

So...not sure what Juno thinks she sees here?

Wait... - is she napping? Diva.






















Friday, October 12, 2012

The Home Fires

We are fortunate to have a lab puppy that actually curls up in front of a warming fire - in true storybook fashion.


She seems to find the balance between heat from the fire and the cooling effect of the tile in front of the fireplace quite appealing and comforting.

Call us old-fashioned, but wood-burning fireplaces are a feature we've always enjoyed in a home. Evidently, so does Juno.

And with the cooling temperatures lately, we think she's getting ready for another season of dozing by the fireplace. We've already had one fire so far this season, but Juno appears keen for another one soon.

Snuggling a log might be a bit of a signal, wouldn't you say?

We'll be keeping the home fires burning this season. How about you?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Thankful

It was Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and we spent it giving thanks for what we have and how fortunate we have been over the years.

Trail walking

We hosted this year and are thankful for out-of-town family who made the trip up. There was good conversation and delicious food, a playful baby, happy dogs, walks in the park, drinks on the deck, and late-night catch-ups around the table.

After a tough year, we all have our health and happiness, and, for that, we are all thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers and a good fall morning to everyone else!

Park colours
                

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

25 Ways Autumn Is Awesome

                               
1. Jeans
2. Socks
3. Colourful leaves
4. Warm drinks
5. Hikes in the woods
6. Pie
7. Baked apples
8. Cinnamon
9. Jar candles
10. Scarves
11. Sweaters
12. Stars
13. Walks
14. Pumpkins
15. Berries and acorns
16. Breezes
17. Throw blankets
18. Chimney smoke
19. Thanksgiving
20. Halloween
21. Firewood
22. Potted mums
23. Books
24. Movie nights
25. Rubber boots

What's on your list? I'm pretty sure that if we ever move somewhere without fall/autumn, I'd be slow to adjust! There's really nothing like it. Happy first weekend of fall!

Image via

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hey Wise Guy - Samuel Beckett on Trying and Failure


I know that our books will be the result of several tens (maybe hundreds?) of drafts and versions.

But I've never been one to be motivated by failure. I've always been more motivated by success. That said, I know that with something new, it's not always successful right off the bat.

So, I'm trying to treat the repetitive, constant, frustrating process of writing and editing/rewriting a book as a part of a learning process. 

And I'm also trying to remember that it's ok to fail. If I put our books out there and nobody buys them, I'll have to get to the place where I'm ok with that...because the books certainly won't be a success if they're never out there in the first place. That'd surely be a bigger failure. 

This post is part of a new tag series - 'Hey Wise Guy' and 'Hey Wise Gal' - words of wisdom we can all enjoy, on just about everything.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Counting Down To Yoga Teacher Training


So you may have noticed that I added a 'Countdown to Yoga Teacher Training' widget to the blog last week...just to the right over there...

A good friend and I will be starting a yoga instructors course very soon! We start in early October and will 'graduate' next May, with a 200 hour Yoga Alliance course. We'll be certified to teach Hot Power, Power, Vinyasa, Hatha Flow or Classical Hatha Yoga classes.

And we both couldn't be more excited!


For any fellow yogis/yoginis out there, here is what the training course includes:
  • History and Philosophy of Yoga
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Breathing Techniques
  • Yoga Postures and Proper Alignment 
  • Teaching Methodology
  • Business and Ethics
  • Practicum

We've got our notebooks ready and our pencils sharpened...back to school we go. Now, to buy a few more yoga tops! Classes are every Tuesday night between October and May and one weekend each month, so I'm going to need a few more pieces of class-friendly clothing in my wardrobe.

I'll be posting class tidbits and updates on here, I'm sure!

Image from here

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ragweed Allergy A Nuisance For Dogs Too


Ragweed is in full bloom here, and will be until late September or early October, when the first frost hits. Luckily, neither Adam or I have seasonal allergies, but Juno more than makes up for what we don't have!

For humans, ragweed allergy results in respiratory difficulties like coughing, sneezing etc., but in dogs, as is the case with most of their allergies, ragweed allergy leads to severe, allover itching. Dogs will lick, scratch, and chew their skin to alleviate the itch, which leads to fur/hair loss and inflamed or open/bleeding areas of skin, which are then prone to bacterial infection.

Enter Vanectyl P...the magic pink pill. After four summers of experimentation with cold water wipe-downs, oatmeal shampoo baths, Benadryl etc., the antibiotic route is the only one we've found to be even mildly effective for our dog.

If Juno sleeps, we sleep. We can hear the licking, scratching, and chewing from just about anywhere in the house, so, at night, if she's doing any of that, we're all awake. All.night.long.

On the bright side, she hasn't needed the pills until today, really - which is about 10 days later than any other previous season! Achievement!

We try to hold out as long as possible - Vanectyl P can be hard on dogs' systems. There's more overall lethargy, increased thirst (which leads to more bathroom trips), and a kind of greasy coating that forms on their coats and around their eyes. But, it beats severe discomfort and infection. And we should be able to stop the medication in about 6 weeks.

Does your dog have seasonal allergies? Interestingly, talking with friends and family outside our region, ragweed doesn't seem to cause the discomfort in any of their dogs...or Juno, when we travel. Must be a valley effect of living here!

Hopefully we can get away from the scratching and back to more of this soon!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The 10 Most High-Maintenance Dog Breeds

                                                                      via

So, not surprisingly, Labrador Retrievers make the cut! And the list on this website is in alphabetical order, rather than 'high-maintenance-ness order', so it'd be even more interesting to see where Labs would fall if the list were ordered that way!

"...one word: Marley." Love it.

To see the full list, head here.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Views From The Top


We took part of Monday afternoon (long weekend!) and headed to one of our favourite local provincial parks.

In planning our wedding, we had considered getting married in this park (having spent many of our first few months in the city walking and hiking there as a respite from the hustle and chaos of living downtown), so, this park holds a special place in our hearts.

We opted for a drive this time instead - winding our way up the mountain for this view.


It was pretty worth it. Juno thought so too.



Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Calendars


I've always looked forward to flipping calendar pages over to the next month.

There's always been a calendar on my wall - over my desk as a kid, in my dorm room and apartments at university, and in each of our houses since. This might be dorky, but I don't like to look at all the images on the back of a calendar if I can help it. I kind of like seeing them as they come, right there on the calendar, each month.

We've got an adorable dog yoga calendar up in our kitchen this year (courtesy of great friends!) and I've just changed it over for August. This month's feature is a hand-standing Bulldog and a one-arm-hand-standing Yorkie. Adorable.

I've also refreshed our computer desktop for August, courtesy of our go-to source, Smashing Magazine. Have a look - you might find some/one you like. I chose 'Fly' for us this month!

And we've got our 2013 calendar waiting in the wings (courtesy of those same great friends who gave us the yoga dogs) - next year's feature: Scotland.

What about you? Do you enjoy flipping that calendar page as much as I do?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dogs On Duty At The Olympics


Dogs are once again keeping the Olympics safe and risk-free!

On patrol at the London Games are sniffer dogs for airport and transportation drug searches and security dogs for general patrol and crowd management.

Here are some of the Olympic crew, working like...well, dogs!


 via

Hope you're enjoying the games where you are!

And seriously, how cute is this little logo? Just for the dogs ;)


Monday, July 30, 2012

Is A Clean Dog A Happy Dog...Or Is A Happy Dog A Clean Dog?


I couldn't resist sharing this video with you!

Is this guy happy or what? I'm not sure what gets me most - the fact that his eyes are buried under the water for much of the video, that he is so blissfully content (and calm) in the tub, or that he kinda' looks like a polar bear!

Juno is a good bather, but this guy takes 'good' to a whole new level. I'm sure my fellow dog owners wish their dogs enjoyed bath time this much.


Now that is a happy, clean dog!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dogs In Popular Culture - Day 3: Beloved Dogs in Film


We're going photo style today everybody - so the guessing/head scratching is all up to you!

Be sure to sing your favourite dog's praises in the comments if I missed him or her in my list.















Could you guess them all?

Did I forget anyone?

Which one is your favourite? We're partial to Marley over here, for obvious reasons ;)

Images from here, here, here, here, here, here, here