DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Plastic Bags and cigarette butts

Barely interesting article, except the jail time for selling plastic bags in Tanzania, and this tidbit about cigarette butts being the most common type of litter. Thanks for smoking....

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, says plastic bags are the second-most-common form of litter, behind cigarette butts. The bags are the greatest form of litter on the globe?s oceans, the U.N. agency said in a recent report.

Is an armed society a polite society?

The number of Concealed Weapons Permits continues to increase in AZ. This blog had some limited statistics but I like the ones about older folks--respect your elders!

And in the comments, someone quotes Michael Clark Duncan: "Ain't nothin' better than a fine naked woman holding a gun." (from The Whole Nine Yards)

Getting a CWP is still on my list of things to do. :)

Fat Asses

Tourist town Oatman AZ is having an obesity problem. Apparently, the tourists and townspeople are feeding the burros too much and they are getting fat and demanding. Loving the burros to death; geez...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why the US can't afford Canadian style health care

A good explanation of what I hear from many (not all) Canadians. (Grand Junction Colorado Free Press, Kelly Sloan author and Canadian living in America.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anger Management

Whether implosive or explosive, most of us could handle anger better. Here are the steps and an interesting idea:

Clear the air.

Express your rage safely, and as soon as you can.

Don't store it up as resentment.

Respect yourself and others.

Stand your ground and ask for exactly what you want.

Don't expect other people to be mind readers.

Find the true target of your anger.

Take responsibility for your own life and happiness.

Practice clean anger, without putting the blame on the other person.

Practice deep breathing: Press one nostril with index finger; inhale slowly from the other; hold breath for 10 seconds; exhale from the other nostril. Repeat 10 times, with both the nostrils.

Take a very large sheet of paper and pin it securely to a large drawing board or table. Now select two wax crayons. (It was interesting how I chose red colors). Take one crayon in each hand and closing your eyes scribble on the paper until your hand wants to stop. Now open your eyes and see. This is the map of your anger!
If you keep it beside your bed or desk, it would go on reminding you that your anger is out there, and is no longer trapped inside you.

Another option is to imagine yourself coming down a stone staircase leading down a mountain.
With each descending step, you are getting closer to your normal state.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

House Hunting 8/23

Looked at houses in the Northwest Valley--mostly north of 101, west of I17, except the first, just north of us. Lot was too small, house was okay, bathrooms not upgraded, kitchen was very nice. Interesting window by front door.
Next was a house on a hill with a fireplace in the front patio courtyard. House backed up to preserve but lot was too small and open.
Then we checked out a house down the road from G and R, friends of Mike's dad. It had a large basement and a large lot but needed a LOT of work. It had a brown bathtub.
We quickly checked out a nearby house that smelled OLD. The layout was all wrong. The back courtyard was breezy and cool, and the front had a diamond shaped walkway path with two mature palo verde trees at opposite sides.
The next house was an entertaining house, but the lot was too small. They had artificial grass in the front and back. The pool table room was interesting, with a small wet bar and a mural in a shallow niche. It had nice stonework throughout the house. It had a wall of cabinets plus a walk in pantry size room in the garage.
The next house was very nice, great wet bar near the entrance, room for a pool table and piano, nice kitchen with gas stove, and the most amazing pool we've seen. Unfortunately, small lot, close neighbors.
Next, a house with a neighborhood playground across the street. I wanted to like this house but it had too many step up, step downs throughout the house. And it had gas running to it but an electric stove and fireplace. There was an office off of the living room--I liked this and Mike didn't. The loft had beautiful built in cabinets, but windows rather than a door to a wasted opportunity for a balcony patio. There's just a runoff for the patio below. The pool was very standard and right in the middle of the lot, so the slightly larger lot was wasted. Preserve behind.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Whole Foods CEO--brilliant or bananas?

This opinion article addresses John Mackey's (the Whole Foods CEO) WSJ article (and includes a link to it).

I don't think that Mr. Mackey is wrong (although I don't agree with it all) and I don't think that Whole Foods should be boycotted for anything he said. If they are to be boycotted, it's because of their high prices! Actually, I shop there occasionally to get ideas of new ways to improve my diet.

I disagree on this item: Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. People are going to pick the cheapest coverage and then they will be angry that the insurance doesn't cover some expensive treatment for cancer or a disease. I've already seen that in today's coverage. Oprah had someone on her show (with Michael Moore) a couple of years ago and he was mad that his insurance only covered him to a certain amount and then he was on his own and had to raise the funds for his treatment. But he PICKED that coverage. It was the lowest cost coverage his employer offered, but not the only one.

The idea that Mr. Mackey does not include that would decrease costs significantly is standardizing the claims process and forms throughout companies. I don't know if it's possible but it certainly sounds good.

I support Mr. Mackey in his intelligent thought-out expression of his opinion as well as the integrity he shows his employees.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Charitable Giving

I found this article recently in the Washington Post ?How to Be Routinely Charitable.

On the surface, it sounds like some good advice, but as always, buyer beware.

Working Assets ( does not allow you to determine what they support. The organizations they are supporting are listed at and while there are some you and I may support, there are many you may not want to support with your dollars.

The GivingExpress Program ( allows American Express cardholders to make donations to a charity of their choice through automatic donations, redeeming Rewards, etc. And just in case you were worried too much of your donation would go to the cause you want, 2.25% is deducted for processing costs, although the full amount is tax deductible.

That's the bad, here's the better...

For online shopping, iGive ( will donate a portion of the sales to the charity of your choice. It seems pretty flexible, lots of choices.

And try out GoodSearch (, which gives a portion of proceeds to your charity and has discounts at many retailers.

And perhaps the best and least used:

Frequent flier miles can be donated to Make a Wish or the Red Cross.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Those Doggone Conservationists

Interesting views on environmental conservation:

From Endangered in South Africa
In the United States, where 15 percent of land is protected, conservation dollars are tied up on costly activities like lobbying, legal battles, and buying up some of the most expensive real estate there is. As the Nature Conservancy's lead scientist, M.A. Sanjayan, has observed, "Conservation has always cost less to do abroad than in the United States." Yet one study estimates that more than half of the $1.5 billion spent by international conservation organizations in 2002 went to habitat protection in the United States.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Teka is spayed

Wild dogs maul elderly couple

In Georgia, a pack of wild dogs mauled an elderly woman, and later her husband. For the story:

First of all, the guy that was feeding them probably thought he was doing something good but that is ignorant. That's like those people that feed coyotes and then can't figure out why the coyotes are eating their pets.

Secondly, why does it take something like this for someone to round up a PACK of dogs?

Lastly, if Ingrid (Peta) had her way, all animals would be free, so this would be a common occurrence. Of course, the herds of cats roaming the plains might distract the dogs from eating people.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Go Green--pee in the shower!

According to Ode Magazine: The Brazilian environmental group SOS Mata Atlantica wants to save the Atlantic rain forest, and it's found an unusual way to get folks to help. The group recently released television ads urging citizens to pee in the shower - arguing that one less flush a day could save "up to 4,380 liters (1,157 gallons) of water annually." Click here for more, as well as the not-as-gross-as-it-sounds advertisement itself!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cassi's fatty tumors

Cassi has had a skin tag under her armpit that was hanging down, unlike most fatty tumors that are just under the skin. (Fatty tumors are very common in Weimaraners.) She has developed some of those under the skin also, but the one that is hanging, I have had the vet look at a couple of times in the past year. It wasn't bothering her, so we decided to monitor.

Last week, when I was scheduling Teka's visit, I decided to have Cassi go in too so they could look at it. I thought it looked worse. Originally, it looked like her fur, just hanging down. By last week, it was almost smooth, with very little fur left on it, just tufts sticking out. After making the appointment, it got worse. Friday, it was red for the first time. Saturday (while we were up north) it started to bother her. She was licking it. We figured out that it was leaking, something like pus and blood, and it was round and hard. So Monday, I called the vet's office first thing and they said to bring her in. They took her and cut off 7 fatty tumors. That hanging part was sent to make sure it is benign.

I picked Cassi up at lunchtime and took her home. She is pitiful; she looks like she was attacked. She had a really hard time with the anesthesia I think--she could barely walk last night. She is better today, starting to eat, drink, potty.

Dr. Ferrara also looked at her ears to see if there was anything that would cause Horner's but didn't find anything. We will not pursue further tests unless she has more symptoms. He cleaned her teeth and said they were very good, just a little tartar in the back.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Parks AZ Hunt Test

We spent the weekend up north for the hunt test. It was very windy on Saturday so I am all dried out. I have a little paperwork left to do, but then I'm done with my secretary duties.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Low water grass

Check out drought-resistant lawns.  Treehugger also lists some edible plants for your garden. Some of them probably won't work here in Phoenix, but I would like to try a few, such as globe artichokes, sunflowers, chard and rhubarb. I know someone that has had success with figs.

Here are turfgrass alternatives.
If we move to a large lot, I would like to again have roses, grass and citrus trees (more this time!) in the back yard but would like to really dedicate a section to growing food. I'm still working on my green thumb though. It's still kind of brown! The front yard, I think, would be desert-fabulous. I love flowering cacti and some of the beautiful desert bushes and vines.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

House Hunting 8/8

Off to Laveen to start our search for a larger lot. The issue with several of these properties is the lack of usable yard space due to washes. Most had nice cabinetry, granite, tile work with mosaics in the entry, nickel or rubbed bronze fixtures. One had a long deep back patio.

The house that brought us to Laveen had this amazing tile work, using tile that looks like wood with stone look tile. However, the house was built on a wash that they rerouted around the back yard, which included a "pool" also known as a hole in the ground. The kitchen was beautiful but the layout was odd; the fridge was technically in the dining room; they should have swapped the pantry and fridge or something.One of the older properties we saw had a very large lot but too much work. It had a covered swimming pool, did not have a block fence and had a couple of dogs next door that I would guess are Dogue de Bordeaux, not a common breed but related to the bull mastiff.

We saw a baby bunny at the last house we visited.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Indoor composter

It's here! I got a Naturemill indoor composter. A guy I work with thought he was being funny and sent me an email that was having a deal on them. This has been on my wishlist for a while but I couldn't see spending the money. With the $150 off, we decided it was a great deal.

I looked at reviews online. The comments on woot and wired were informative, entertaining, and perplexing. I have had an outdoor compost bin for about a year and it is so NOT working. I know I don't turn it often enough and I can't keep it wet enough either. (I am not lazy like one guy implied; I live in the desert.) I like that I can actually put more stuff (like meat/fish) in the indoor composter than the outdoor bin. I know it is an odd, expensive purchase but I think it will be extremely useful.

I'm reading the book before I start using it. I'm wondering if I should wait to start it until I know if we're moving. It might be messy to move. Maybe not. I'll decide after we look at houses Saturday. (exciting, stressful, hot...) I'm thinking of naming my composter Oscar. Unless I think of something better.

Our neighbors moved today. Boo! :(

Monday, August 3, 2009

Buying for price or the planet?

I've been known to offend people by saying I don't usually shop at certain stores such as Walmart because I think they are contributing to the decline of our communities, our civilization, and our planet. Here is an interesting article on why we should consider NOT shopping at IKEA. I don't shop there anyway. Once we are out of college, adults should buy real furniture, something with craftsmanship, not something we have to put together ourselves. Of course there are always some exceptions to that, but overall, our houses should not be full of particleboard masterpieces that we put together ourselves and throw away when we're done because no one else would want them. I wonder how many I'm offending now....

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My DH has a great camera, preceded by a great camera, preceded by a great camera. He has a great eye and takes great photos. He even put together a book recently of his bird dog photography--very nice.

So I haven't had a camera for a long time. Whenever I want a camera but he's not going with me, I'm out of luck. So he just got me my own Canon point and shoot camera. Excellent gift from an excellent guy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Training with the dogs in Flagstaff. What beautiful weather. I went up the mountain with Teka. My new boots were comfortable, but the left one rubbed on the heel. Not sure if it's the wool socks or the boots. Hmmm. We saw a blue jay. I read my book and took a nap in the truck. We had an early dinner at Bunhuggers (super busy due to Cardinals' fans) and headed back down to Phoenix. Mike got a sunburn on his neck.

Laveen or bust? Nope, Laveen was a bust!

We decided to look at some properties in Laveen based on several suggestions we got when we mentioned wanting land. The realtor that put us in our current house (11 years ago!) took us to look at eight houses.

Laveen is near South Mountain, so it would be about the same drive time for me and Mike to get to work in opposite directions. However, the houses we looked at were overpriced for the amount of work that we would have to do. And it was further from the freeway than I thought it would be. I'm still a city girl, and it's a bit out there.

We picked up some great ideas if we decide to ever build a custom house on our own (which I think would be too much work and too much money). The best was a house with tile floors with dark wood-looking tiles set as square outlines. It had a "mudroom" off the laundry room, with it's own door to the garage. It was just a square, empty room, but would be perfect for dog kennels and gear (with some upper cabinets). That house also had a fridge hookup in the laundry room and a water spiget on the water heaters.

We're going to look in North Phoenix before we decide to stay put.