Wintery Day Is Just Right To Stay Inside and “Chill”

Morning greetings of winter white out the door--Lyons, Kansas.

Morning greetings of winter white out the door–Lyons, Kansas.

Just like family get-togethers and exchanging presents, snowstorms seem to be a tradition of every Christmas holiday visit I make back to my home state of Kansas.  This morning we woke up to a couple inches of the white stuff on the ground, with even more swirling around in the air.  The snow itself made for a pretty scene outside, but the cold blast of 7 degrees when I opened the door was more than what I’d call “brisk.”

The first thing I had to do was sweep a path on my sister’s patio and then out on the grass for Annie to take a “go.” Finally, she did, at lightning speed.

With the snow still coming down most of the day and the cold wind zipping at the skin, other than re-sweeping the doggy paths, I haven’t wanted to venture out.  It was just the kind of day to keep the house cozy by using the oven to cook up the pork roast and sauerkraut we got yesterday in preparation of a cold day.

Tonight the forecast is for 5 degrees, but I’m sure that the blankets and quilts on the bed will keep me–and Annie–warm.

Swept paths for a little dog to make a quick run outside.

Swept paths for a little dog to make a quick run outside.

Annie stays near--or on--a warm lap on these cold days.

Annie stays near–or on–a warm lap on these cold days.

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View from the Suburbs: Making Work Pay Tax Credit

Annie and the Garden Hose

You may sit on a different side on the topic of the Stimulus Package, but, personally, I was quite pleased with the unexpected amount in my tax refund from the Make Work Pay tax credit.

My little Nikon Coolpix S230 took a little spill onto the hard tile kitchen floor a few months ago, and as a result, its touch-screen operation no long works.  I can still take photos and download them, but that’s about it.  Partly because of this blog, I enjoy taking photos and got the Nikon after a similar-sized Canon’s shutter mechanism developed problems.  These were my first two digital cameras.  Being a fan of the old film-type SLR cameras, I had started reading about the Canon T1i,  because I wanted a camera that was going to get good quality definition, but the chunk of cash for one was really more than I wanted to fork out at the moment, and I really have liked the convenience of being able drop the small camera in the pocket of a pair of baggy shorts and head out with Annie for a walk.

To make a long story short (can I really do that?), yesterday morning after my intown haircut, with that tax credit money burning a hole in my pocket, I stopped off at the nearby Best Buy to look at cameras and came home with the Nike Coolpix P100, which I think is going to be a nice compromise between the small S230 and the larger Canon.

I read the quick instructions and charged up the battery.  I need to read the manual to learn how to use all the bells and whistles, but I think from what I see in these shots I’m going to like this camera.

The Garden (5-22-10)

Angel Wing Begonia in Bloom

Blossoms of Yellow Wax Bean

Green Tomato in Hiding

Cucumber Blooms

Sunflower Starting To Open

A Little Advice for Would-be Dog Owners

papintubIn not too many months I will have had Annie, my little papillon, for almost three years. Before I got Annie I hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid on the farm. Oh, there’d been a few cats along the way, but not a dog.

I do not regret for one moment getting Annie. She brings a lot of joy and entertainment into my life. However, getting her was a big decision for me. I read a lot of books, searched countless websites, and talked a lot about getting a dog.

Some of my friends told me, “Hey, just get a dog already!” But I know myself better than anyone, and I wanted my decision to be the right one. I had to be really sure I was committed to owning a dog, and I wanted to pick the right dog for me. In the end, it all worked out, and it was a good decision.

But where I live, I see a lot of dogs who need better owners. These dogs deserve to have better lives, so let me give this advice.

Don’t get a dog . . .

  • unless you are committed for the long haul. Most dogs live a long time (some up into their late teens), and they are not like a lamp you get tired of and can just shove into the closet
  • unless you have a life that is fairly routine. Dogs like routine, and when it comes to house-training, dogs really need a routine; otherwise, there will be messes in the house long after puppydom is over.
  • unless you can give a dog exercise every day. And remember dogs that don’t get enough exercise are more likely to get bored and then chew up things and do other types of damage to your home and personal possessions. Find out how much exercise the dog you are thinking about needs before you actually get it. A dog like a Jack Russell terrier may look small and cute, but it will be bouncing off the walls and the top of your head if it doesn’t get enough exercise.
  • unless you are ready to pay for all the needs of your dog. Some big dogs can eat a lot of food. Check out the price of one of those big bags of dog food. Also dogs will need shots at least once a year. Plus, they need heartworm medicine and flea treatment once a month. Then what about if the dog gets sick or breaks a bone or gets bitten? That’s more vet bills. Annie’s yearly shots and check-up is about $140, another shot every six months at about $40, flea medicine $70 for 6 months. I forget what the heartworm medicine costs but I think about $5 a month. Then don’t forget about the city license. That will cost too, and it’s even more if the dog is not neutered. Then if you get a dog that needs grooming; that’s just like taking Big Hair Betty to the beauty parlor! And if you go out of town and need to have your dog boarded? Or you decide to take the dog on a flight? All of that will cost too, and it’s not cheap.

Now some just plain serious stuff.

Don’t get a dog . . .

  • unless it is neutered or you are willing to have it neutered. And don’t tell me you want your dog to have puppies, or you want your male dog to be a stud. If you are reading this post, you are not a dog breeder. Just because you think you’re a big hot stud does not mean that your dog needs his balls. Other dog owners do not like a dog that is always humping their dogs or even people’s legs just because some guy thinks he’s so macho that he can’t bear to see his male dog neutered. In reality, a neutered dog is an all-around nicer dog. If you’re worried about the dog getting fat, it’s not because the dog is neutered; it’s because the dog isn’t getting enough exercise. And if your dog is a female, there are millions of unwanted dogs put to death every year. Do you want to add to that number?
  • unless–and this is a biggee–you are willing to clean up after your dog. This means cleaning up inside when the cute little puppy messes on the carpet–and it will–because it’s just like a baby, and has to go frequently. This also means picking up the poop outside after your dog does a big one. It’s necessary because you don’t want to step in it, other people don’t want to step in it, it spreads disease if not picked up, and in most cities, it’s the law!

So if you’re considering getting a dog, think about these things. A dog can be a wonderful part of your life, but you have to be ready to be a dog owner, and in particular, you have to be ready to be responsible for that dog’s life in every way. Otherwise, neither you nor the dog will be happy.