Friday, October 31, 2008


Mom always makes me dress up for Halloween so that I can help pass out candy to all the trick-or-treaters. My good buddy T-Bone gave me this Frankenstein costume a few years ago (he has the same one) and I have worn it every year ever since.

The kids love me when they come to the door. All the kids stop to pet me, which I love, so I really don't mind answering the door. Some kids go a little crazy when they see me. One little girl was dressed like Piglet and she wouldn't leave me alone. She was very little and when her sister tried to walk her back down the stoop, she decided that she would turn around and try to crawl into the house. This kid loved me, but I cannot have Piglet cruising around the house. Oh how my fan club grows every year.

One little boy, who was dressed like a policeman, told me that I smelled. Smelled, me? I think not. I mean I smell like a dog, but that is a very pleasant smell. He even asked mom if she wanted him to put me in the sink! What? The little boy's dad was down on the sidewalk and said that they put their dog in the sink when it smells. Thankfully, mom told the little boy that no, she did not want him to put me in the sink. I told her not to give this boy any candy, but mom is a sucker for men in uniforms.

A little girl dressed as a bear showed up in a stroller. Her mom took her out of the stroller to pet me and she tried to crawl into the house. What is with these kids? The little girl was eating a lollipop at the time and she tried to give it to me. Mom jumped in and saved me from all that sugar.

I am glad that Halloween is only once a year. These kids are tiring with all their little kid energy. Whew! I will need all weekend to recover from all this activity.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Obama Change Tour

Obama is on tour so you must have a tour t-shirt. These cool t-shirts are reminiscent of rock band tour t-shirts that mom used to buy back in the 80's. There are two additional designs to choose from, so there is something for everyone. The shirts are organic cotton with water-based ink graphics $1.00 is contributed to the campaign for every shirt purchased. Get yours to wear to the voting booth next week at

Choose or Lose

The people at MTV launched the Choose or Lose campaign years ago to encourage people between 18-25 to vote. This year they have a great looking t-shirt that shows people that your voice counts. The message here is that if you don't choose you lose because if you do not vote your voice is not heard. You have a voice, so use it to help influence important decisions that are impacting our world. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this t-shirt will be donated to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Show the world your message by picking up this great t-shirt at and then stop by the Choose or Lose website at for information on this important campaign.

Clothing of the American Mind

This grassroots company is committed to creating apparel that is environmentally safe and responsbile, politically and socially conscious, sweatshop free, American made and Fair Trade. Whew! That's a mouth full. The bottom line is that these guys have great t-shirts with equally great message. Most of the t-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton and all are designed with either water or soy-based inks. A portion of each sale goes directly to progressive organizations such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, Unscrew America, Progressive Democrats of America and many other like-minded groups. And if all these things don't make you grab your credit card, all t-shirts are 20% through November 4, 2008. Get your t-shirts in time to wear to next week at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beaches, Baboons, and Birds Oh My!

Mom was gone all day today with her fellow zoo docents. She was with them last Saturday too when they went to the Milwaukee Zoo. Hey zoo docents - I need my mom at home with me on the weekends. You get her on Friday, but the rest of weekend is Stubby time!

I wanted to sleep in this morning, but noooo, mom had to get up early to leave for Indiana. You heard me right - Indiana, a red state. Today was the 5th annual sandhill crane trip, which is lead by mom's day captain David. Yet another trip that I wasn't invited to go on. I try not to take this personally, but one of these days I am going to stage a protest.

Before mom got to Indiana, she had to fight the traffic (yes, traffic jams at 8:30 am on a Saturday morning) in the city so that she could pick up Zina. Zina was ready to go, all bundled up, with snack bars in tow. I love Zina - she pets me and sends me emails.

After picking up Zina, the next stop was Purdue University, Calumet to pick up Sashi. Sashi was in her office catching up on some work when mom and Zina got there. I love Sashi - she also pets me and sends me emails.

With everyone packed up in the car and ready to go, mom drove to David's house in Beverly Shores. Mom loves David's house and she doesn't understand why he doesn't live there all the time. Mom tells me that David has the most cozy house and that it is very dog friendly (hint, hint). Linda, David's wife, made carrot soup and squash soup for lunch, along with several different kinds of baked goods. This was basically a vegetarian feast (except for the salami appetizer), so it really wasn't my type of party.

With a belly full of soup, mom, Jen, Anna, and Robin walked to the beach. David's house is right around the corner from the beach (which is another reason mom likes it), and even though it was a little cool, just being on a beach always makes mom happy. Jen took lots of pictures and soon it was time to leave David's house and head out to North Judson to the Peaceable Primate Sanctuary.
The Primate Sanctuary will be the only sanctuary in the U.S. designed specifically to house baboons. Scott Kubisch, Lincoln Park zookeeper extraordinaire, is the brainchild behind the sanctuary. He has been dreaming about opening the sanctuary for many years and is just months away from being ready to accept animals. The sanctuary is a little more than hallfway between David's house and the cranes, so every year the docents stop by to check on the construction progress. Scott, along with Luz and John, took the docents on a tour of the sanctuary. Mom is so excited and proud of all the work Scott has done. His committment and passion are unsurpassed. Check out the sanctuary website at and witness for yourself what a truly amazing place this is going to be. Maybe I can visit once the baboons are finally there. I am sure that baboons like pugs. The cranes were calling (literally), so the group headed on to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area.

At just over 8,000 acres, Jasper-Pulaski’s suitable habitat provides an ideal stopover for migratory birds. More than 10,000 Sandhill Cranes each day stop during fall migration, mid-October through mid-December. The cranes that stop here are the eastern population of Greater Sandhill Cranes and 90% of this subspecies stops here each fall. I wonder if I am a greater pug, a subspecies of pug.

The docents usually arrive about an hour before sunset, but they arrived a little early today, so there weren't many cranes there when they arrived. They headed up to the observation deck to get a better look at the birds in Goose Pasture. The cranes fly in, gab, and socialize before returning to roosting marshes at dusk. While they were there, some small flocks flew in, but nothing like what they have seen in the past. Someone from DNR spoke to the assembled group about the cranes and mom said that it was very interesting. Most of you know that mom is bird crazy, but all of you know that she has a bad memory (except when it comes to remembering the words to disco songs), so she appreciated the talk. The cranes are counted every day and the guy said that yesterday's count was 7,000. Why so few? Mom thinks the cranes are confused by the crazy weather and that this is messing up their migration.

Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet. Fossil records place Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska more than nine million years ago. Today, there are about 650,000 sandhill cranes. The population is stable to increasing, except for 2 subspecies that are endangered.

Sandhill cranes are among the most thoroughly studied cranes species and have long been among the most studied wildlife species in North America. Most of the recent research derives from its importance as a surrogate in efforts to reestablish Whopping Crane populations.

In Canada and the United States, the hunting of Sandhill Cranes is regulated under the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916. Hunting was prohibited until increased interest in Sandhill Cranes as game animals led to the opening of hunting seasons in Canada in 1959, in the United States in 1961, and in Mexico since at least 1940. In the U.S., Sandhill Cranes are now legally hunted in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. In Canada, Sandhill Cranes are hunted in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In Mexico, hunting is permitted in nine northern and central states. All of this makes mom very sad. Even though the populations are stable or increasing, hunting them puts Whopping Cranes, that sometimes fly with them, at danger. Please find something else to do with your time instead of hunt helpless birds. Getting involved in saving birds is much better than shooting them.

Mom loves the yearly crane trip. She had a great time and was very glad that Jen joined them this year. Mom is going to make Jen a birder if it kills her!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Visit Floe - Take Action

Mom found a really cool online environmental game last week. It is from a company called National Grid. National Grid is an international electricity and gas company and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. According to their website, they are committed to safeguarding our global environment for future generations and providing all our customers with the highest standards of service through investment in our networks and through our talented, diverse workforce. Enter Floe.

Floe refers to an ice floe and is a game about polar bears. Polar bears have been in the news lately because of their listing as an endangered species. More awareness about the polar bears plight is needed so that people can take actions to save them. By playing Floe, you learn more about the environment, the impact your actions have on the world, and about polar bear habitat.

Click on "Befriend a Bear" where you will name your polar bear (everytime mom plays this game she names the polar bear Carole). The object of the game is to increase your polar bear's health, happiness, and friendship. With the state of the world today, this is easier said than done which you will see once you start playing the game.

Once your polar bear is ready, you answer general environmental questions. Each time you get a question right, you get to do something for your polar bear - throw him a fish, play ball with him, tickle him with a feather, etc. There are lots of activities you can do to help your polar bear.

You can also see the effect your environmental impact has on the polar bears home. Click on "Discover The Power of Action" and after answering three questions about your lifestyle, the polar ice begins to shift, fall over, and melt. This is what is happening right now, as you read this, in the Arctic. Changes must be made to protect the polar bears habitat, which in turn affects your habitat.
After the ice melts, you are asked to take action. Simply drag and drop the icons for the actions (pledges) you want to take to lower your impact on the world. Your carbon savings are calculated for you so that you can fully understand how the changes you make will affect the world.

The "Community" link shows you popular pledges, reasons for taking actions, and even your state or country's savings. Register on the site and you can post your own information.

Now it's your turn to visit Floe at http://www.nationalgridfloe/. Check out the polar bears, expand your environmental knowledge, and of course, spread the word. Education is the key to our future. The polar bears are depending on you - please don't let them down.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Recycled Plastic Waste Basket

This basket is a great way to recycle plastic food wrappers! It is handcrafted in Nepal by local artisans using discarded plastic wrappers brought in from the cities. Recycling programs have been started in the villages to encourage the collection of non biodegradable trash and to educate about the importance of protecting the natural ecology. It all starts with education, doesn't it? The net proceeds from the purchase of this funds primary healthcare and community education through Himalayan HealthCare. Get your own recycled waste basket at

Skateboard Earrings

Who would ever think of recycling skateboards? Thankfully a woman from Oregon did. Lindsay Jo Holmes collects old and damaged boards from her local skate shop and turns them into one-of-a-kind earrings. These earrings may look a little beat up but that just adds to their appeal. One side of the earring is smoothly rounded off, revealing the grain of the maple wood, while the flip side is flat and shows off the scratched up deck artwork. Says Lindsay Jo about her creations,"There's so much that goes into making a skateboard and so much that goes into riding one. I wanted to give them a new life." These would make a great gift (hint, hint), so get pick up a pair or two at

Wine Cork Trivet

I love this item! I have been waiting to post about this since seeing it months ago and now that it is available, this is THE must have item for the kitchen.
Instead of tossing out your wine corks, you can recycle them. Simply collect 8 wine corks, twist them onto the metal base and viola - you have created a trivet. This is a great way to reuse special wine corks, and/or collect all the wine corks from wine you have consumed with friends and give the trivet as a gift. These are sure to go fast, so pick up more than one at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Magazine!

Mom LOVES magazines! She cannot enough information and magazines feed into her need to know about current events. She feels guilty about buying magazines because of the paper and energy used to produce them, and the energy used to transport them. Although mom does recycle her magazines after reading them, by either putting them in the recycle bin or by giving them to someone else to read, she doesn't know why someone hasn't created an online magazine. Or at least she wondered why until she found Coco Eco.

Coco Eco is an eco-friendly, green fashion magazine that made its debut last week. It is 100% paperless and can only be read online at Anna Griffin, publisher of Coco Eco, hopes to create a shift in how women view media, and therefore inspire a generation of like-minded paperless publicatons. How is that for a pioneer?

The magazine has the look and feel of the glossy magazines you buy at the store, but instead of turning the pages with your fingers, you use your computer mouse. The magazine literally comes alive on your screen right before you eyes.

There are so many cool things in the premiere issue. As many of you know, my mom is not a fashionista. But what she is lacking in style she makes up for in product knowledge. There are lots of modern and organic beauty articles in the magazine where products and brands are reviewed. There are even mens fashion, travel, and even transportation features.

This magazine is more than just a pretty face. Despite having ads just a traditional magazine (have to the bills), there is so much great content that you will find yourself reading it over and over again. Congrats to the Coco Eco team!

Monday, October 20, 2008 is from our friends at The idea behind this is that it only takes 18 seconds to change a light bulb. You can save energy and money by replacing your old light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL light bulbs.

The website shows how many CFL light bulbs have been purchased in the U.S. since January 1, 2007. In addition, you can see the equivalency the replacement of the old light bulbs has had on the environment. The numbers are staggering!

You can even see how enlightened your area is by searching your state or town. Mom put in our zip code and our area ranks #312 out of 357. This is not really good. Our state, Illinois, ranks #29. This is okay, but it looks like we are going to have spread the word about CFL light bulbs. Lucky for us, there is a button on the website to "turn your friends on" (pun intended I'm sure). Clicking on this button will enable you to email the website to your friends.

You can also "spread the word". Clicking on this button enables you to place a badge on your website that will track the number of CFL light bulbs every day. I am going to add this to my blog so that you can track the progress in my area along with me. I may even change the area for time to time so that we can track the progress that is being made across the country. Leave a comment if you would like me to track your area for a week.

There is even more great info on this website, but I will let you check it out for yourself. Log on to to learn about how 18 seconds can help save the world.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Molly's Visit

My cousin Molly stopped by to visit me today. Okay, she didn't really come to visit me, but she did hang out with me as you can see in the pictures.

Molly is going to be one in a few weeks. She was at my house for the 4th of July, but since she is little and doesn't have a good memory, she probably doesn't even remember me.

She really wanted to pet me, but she was a little hesitant at first. That is my uncle Greg holding Molly up. Uncle Greg is my favorite uncle - I love him a lot.

Molly finally got up enough nerve to pet me. Hey, Molly - I don't bite. I like little kids even though I don't live with any (moms fault). Molly weighs less than me (for the time being) even though it doesn't look like that in the pictures. Mom says that I carry my weight very well.

Molly got so comfortable with me that she even crawled over to me. She didn't pet me when she got over to me because she started to cry. I didn't do anything to make her cry as you can clearly see in the picture. I think she just wanted mama, aunt Silvia, whose feet are in the picture.

Molly liked me so much that she tried to pull my ear off. No! I need my ears. How will I be able to hear if you pull them off? Stop that! Why does everyone always try to pull my ears off? I know that my little button ears are softer than silk, but they belong on my head.

I told Molly that she could visit me anytime she wanted. I am usually at home, working, but I told her I would always make time for her. Mom says that I may even sleep over at Molly's house when mom and dad go on vacation. Hmmm. I am not sure if having my ears pulled off all week is my idea of a vacation, but I will play along like the good cousin that I am.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Milwaukee County Zoo - Wolf Awareness Day

Mom and her zoo buddies Sashi and Zina went to the Milwaukee County Zoo today to check out the wolf awareness day activities. They had great weather and a great time hanging out with the animals. The Milwaukee County Zoo is truly a great place to spend the day.

The Milwaukee County Zoo has a pack of four gray wolves. The wolves live in a habitat called Wolf Woods and it is flanked by wooden walkways that visitors can stroll on while observing the wolves. There is also an indoor exhibit area where visitors can view the wolves while staying warm and where they can learn about wolves and wolf conservation.

The wolf is the largest member of the canine family. This is my family - I am a canine! As the ancestor of the domestic dog (me again), the gray wolf resembles German shepherds or malamutes. They eat large hoofed mammals like elk, deer, moose, and caribou. They also eat beaver and rabbits. Mom and company got to see the wolves in Milwaukee find frozen rabbits that were hidden in their habitat by zoo keepers. One of the wolves got a frozen rabbit out of a tree stump and brought it right over to where they were standing. The wolf proceeded to bury the rabbit - maybe saving it for a midnight snack. I never bury my food - I eat it as soon as it hits my bowl.

There are about 7,000 to 11,000 wolves in Alaska and more than 5,000 in the lower 48 states. Wolves are also found outside of the U.S. with more than 200,000 estimated in 57 countries.

The Defenders of Wildlife website says that the biggest threat to wolves is conflict with people over livestock losses, but mom tells me that the biggest threat is Sarah Palin. Please visit their website at to learn how you can help protect these awesome animals. The wolves depend on us for their survival, so don't let them down.

Also, if you are in the Milwaukee area, check out the zoo. There are lots of great animals there besides the wolves like the orangutans, bonobos, penguins, cheetahs, and lots of snakes. If you can't make it to the zoo, visit them online at

Friday, October 17, 2008

High Mortality of Loggerheads In Baja California

Graduate student Hoyt Peckham examines a dead sea turtle found during a survey in Baja California. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Santa Cruz)

Mom always tells me that she would like to just have one week when there is no bad news about sea turtles. Maybe that day will eventually arrive, but for now mom reads the bad news and is saddened by the fact the sea turtles are the innocent victims of greed.

Hoyt Peckham, a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz, along with other scientists have been counting the number of stranded loggerheads along the southern coast of Baja California, Mexico. The study was an effort to access and eliminate threats to loggerheads. The findings, in a report published this week, are shocking: from 2003 to 2007 almost 3,000 sea turtles were found dead along a 27-mile stretch of coast. 3,000 is a huge part of an unknown population. This is even more disturbing if the majority of the stranded turtles were adult females.

This study once again shows the enormous impact of bycatch on sea turtles. Peckham said that bycatch and, to a lesser degree, poaching are both significant threats to the survival of the endangered Pacific loggerhead population. "We saw what are apparently the highest documented stranding and fisheries bycatch rates in the world," he said. "But the high bycatch rates offer us all an unexpected conservation opportunity. By working with just a handful of fishermen to diminish their bycatch, we can save hundreds of turtles."

Peckham and his co-authors of the report are hoping that the report will encourage Mexico's government agencies to finalize creation of a refuge that protects turtles and encourages sustainable fishing in the area. Sustainable fishing is the only thing that is going to save marine life. We live in a sad world when refuges have to be created to protect sea turtles. Sea turtles used to roam the oceans free from the many threats they face today. Please do your part to help save sea turtles by not eating anything that comes from oceans. And if you feel that you have to eat oceanlife, please eat only things that have been caught sustainably. The sea turtles depend on you to make the right choices.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Footprint Chronicles

Our friends at Patagonia are at it again. This eco-friendly company knows that you are interested in knowing where their products come from and the ecological impact the creation of these products have on the planet. The Footprint Chronicles discloses the eco-impacts (both good and bad) of many of Patagonia's products.

Mom logged on to and selected the Freightliner, a rolling duffel bag, to check its footprint. A map is shown, displaying the travel path the raw and then completed product takes. By moving your mouse over each location, you learn about each step in the design, construction, and distribution process. Mouse over the symbols below the locations to learn the distance traveled, CO2 emissions, waste generated, and energy consumption totals for your product.

At the bottom of the page, Patagonia tells you the good and bad. For the Freightliner, there is more good than bad. The bad is that it is heavy and its components are not recyclable. There is also a what we think section, where Patagonia gives you their opinion of the product. Even though they are selling the product and you would think that they would only provide a positive opinion, they truly can say great things about their products because they use recycled products, use organic cotton, have a LEED certified distribution center, etc. There are so many things they do right that they are THE role model for businesses everywhere. They are committed to the future of our planet. Shouldn't you be too?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Mom just finished reading this book today. Even though mom does not like vampires (or books about vampires) she was drawn to this book after seeing an interview with the book's author Stephenie Meyer.

The book was inspired by a dream Stephenie Meyer had. In her dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl, but the other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire. They were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that they were falling in love with each other while the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her immediately.

The next morning the working mother of three, who was an English major from Brigham Young University, got up and started writing for the first time in her life. Just three months later, Twilight, a 500-page book about a regular girl named Bella and her gorgeous vampire boyfriend, Edward was completed. Ms. Meyer got an agent, who them shopped the book to publishers, and after three more months, the book was in print. Talk about a fast track!

So there mom was, watching the interview and thinking to herself, what a great success story. The interview so inspired mom, that she immediately ran out to buy the book. She also reminded herself that she once had a dream that she dreamed (no pun intended) about writing a book about. Maybe she will write that book one day and maybe it will even be about me. But for now, mom is obsessing over the next book in the series, New Moon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Sunday Hike!

Mom decided to go hiking today because it was another beautiful day. The sun was shining and it was in the 80's, a little unusual for mid October, but mom loves it.

Everyone knows that mom loves birds and that she loves to go birding. She used to bird all the time, but she hasn't done much birding this year. One of mom's favorite birds is the sandhill crane. She tells me that there is just something so majestic about these birds. I have never seen one in person, but I like what I see in pictures.

One of the best places close to our house to see sandhill cranes is the McHenry Dam, which is part of Moraine Hills State Park. The 2-mile trail is crushed limestone, and twists and turns past wetlands and marshes. Mom and dad took me there a few years ago, but I couldn't make it around the whole trail, so they carried me for most of it. I have not been invited back ever since. Mom could have taken me there in my buggy, but she decided to walk instead of ride, so I was left at home to nap.

The first part of the trail is next to a long marsh area where painted turtles love to bask on logs. Mom saw at least 25 turtles sunning themselves in the bright fall sunlight. This guy was alone on a log, but his friends were close by, all bunched up on another log.

There were a dozen sandhill cranes that were best viewed by one of the levees. Mom gets so excited when she sees these guys. They were too far away to photograph (at least with mom's camera), so she moved on.

Mom had her ears peeled to the trees listening for birds. She is not really good at identifying birds by sound, but she tries. She also scanned the treetops and the trails for flitting birds. She told me that this tree was "very birdy" which means there were lots of birds in it. She saw a bluebird, yellow rumped warbler, and an unidentified bird (maybe a flycatcher) in this tree.

Mom told me that there were lots of caterpillars on the trails last fall and just as she was thinking about them today, she looked down and saw this little guy.

This is a Woolly Bear caterpillar. These guys are often seen in the fall when they are looking for a sheltered spot (under a rock, fallen log, etc.) to hibernate. They eat different kinds of leaves. They turn different colors as they age, and as they get older and closer to the pupa stage, they become completely orange. The woolly bear caterpillar will become the Isabella Tiger moth.

Mom told me that the hike energized her. She loves the outdoors and all that it has to offer. Maybe I can convince her to take me hiking before the snow arrives and we hibernate.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Diddley

If it's fall, it must be time for the Fall Diddley. Mom tells me that the Fall Diddley is the largest craft fair in the Chicagoland area. It is held at the Boone County Fairgrounds which is okay, not really in the Chicagoland area. Mom had to drive over 50 miles one way to get there. Mom has been going to this event for about 10 years, first as a volunteer in the bakery tent and now as a shopper.

Dad usually goes with mom to the Fall Diddley, but he is out of town, so mom went with my aunt Gayle and cousin Gillian. It was a beautiful day to walk through the tents (7) and buildings (3) shopping for fall decor, gifts, and unusual little things. Mom's first stop is always at the pumpkin head lady. That is not her real name, but this lady sells gourds that she makes into pumpkin figurines. As usual the pumpkin head lady's booth was everyones first stop, so 30 seconds after walking through the gates (mom and company were tenth in line), her booth was completely packed.

Mom did not push her way into the booth, but was simply pushed along with the crowd. She was up on her tiptoes, craning her neck, and bending down low to scan the booth for goodies. Unfortunately, the one thing that mom wanted was in short supply, and mom did not get to it in time.

Mom was not discouraged as she moved on to check out the rest of the booths. After buying something for my cousin Molly, mom decided to buy something for me. What? A gift for me? Okay, it's for me, but not really for me. It is a leash hanger, so it is not technically a gift for me, but for my leash. It's cute I guess. I just wish mom had bought me some food instead of a piece of metal.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Arm and Hammer Essentials

Have you seen these products in the stores? Mom saw them today while she was shopping and as usual, she is skeptical of their claims.

Arm and Hammer Essentials are household cleaners that claim to clean up messes while being sensible for the environment. Their website touts that the plant-based cleaners* work as well as traditional cleaners. The asterisk means in addition to other biodegradable cleaners. What are these other cleaners? Good question, but no answers. The website does not have a list of ingredients.

The plant-based cleaners are derived from coconuts and palm kernel oil. Palm kernel oil is one of the worst products to use in anything because most palm oil is harvested in a very destructed way. The clearing of rainforests to plant palm trees for the palm oil demanding is destroying habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals.

The cleaner starter kits come with a refillable plastic trigger spray bottle and one concentrated cleaning cartridge. According to their webiste, the refill pack uses 60% less packaging than 2 pre-filled spray cleaners. So instead of having a plastic trigger spray bottle you have a small refill bottle to dispose of. And since only approximately 7% of all plastic is recycled, having little refill bottles in the landfill must be better than having large plastic trigger spray bottles.

A search of these products lead me to the issue of optical brightners. Optical brightners are derived from benzene and benzene is derived from petroleum, which is NOT plant based. Optical brightners are used in many cleaning products and they are bad for the environment because they bond irreversibly to the skin, are toxic to fish and other aquatic life, and are capable of causing mutations in bacteria. The people at Arm and Hammer won't tell you that they use optical brightners in the Essentials line unless you call their 800 and ask. They also test their products on animals which is another no-no.

The bottom line is that this is another case of green-washing. Companies are trying to fool the public into thinking they are doing the right thing, but their is so much deception behind their actions. In addition to creating a so called "green" product, what about all the other products they create that they knowingly acknowledge are bad for the environment? These hypocritical business practices are bad for everyone and must stop. There are so many companies that walk the talk and actually do the right thing. Please seek out these companies, use their products, and feel good about yourself and your impact on the environment.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Tattoos

Yes, mom is obsessed with tattoos. Now that Carole got her tattoo, mom's turtle buddy Jack is asking when mom is going to get one. Mom's reply (of course) was to ask Jack when he is going to get one. Now they are scheming to get tattoos when they are in Savannah next year. Oh boy, here we go again.

So mom found another tattoo blog that she asked me to share with you. This one is called TattooBlog, but there isn't any information on who owns the blog. It looks like several bloggers post pictures of tattoos they come across. They also provide some text about the tattoo, but they really don't say who the tattoos belong to. This site is interesting, if for nothing else, to see what and where tattoo people tattoo their bodies. Check out to get ideas for your next tattoo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Floating Jack-O'-Lanterns
How cool are these? These will look great hanging off trees in your front yard. Just carve two basketball-sized pumpkins, place the tealights inside, and hang on the hangers. The pumpkins will look like they are floating in the trees. The set of two kit comes with the hardware, hangers, and tealights. You supply the pumpkins and viola! You could even use these again in the spring or summer with flowerpots. This set of two costs less than $7.00, so get more than one at
Metal Cat Pumpkin Buddy
Even if you don't like cats (which I of course do) you will still love this little guy. This would look great on a foyer table, on a front porch, or even in the kitchen. Whether you carve the pumpkin or not, this pumpkin buddy is sure to turn the heads of cats everywhere. Get yours while they last at
Pumpkin Man
Mom always tells me that she could use another man around the house, but I'm sure she didn't have this guy in mind. Yet another great way to turn an ordinary pumpkin into a real head turner, this set includes the metal arms and legs. Add your own accessories to complete the look and then put him to work on your front porch greeting all the little gobblins on Halloween. Get your own pumpkin man or two at

Monday, October 6, 2008

Carole's New Tattoo

Mom's sea turtle buddy Carole got a tattoo today. Now I don't know Carole personally (though I feel like I do because mom tells me all about her), but she doesn't look like the tattoo type.

Mom met Carole on Wassaw Island in 2006 and they have been buddies ever since. Carole got hooked on sea turtles after working with a sea turtle at the aquarium near her house where she volunteered. The sea turtle's name was Lefty and Carole wears a sea turtle hat with Lefty's name on it when she is on Wassaw. Carole even has an iconel tag on her hat that Mike the biologist gave her.

Carole got the tattoo idea when mom mentioned that Kris, the director of the Caretta Research Project, wanted hatchling tracks tattooed across her foot. Carole thought mom meant hatchlings across her foot and has been obsessed with the idea ever since. Darnice, another sea turtler, has hatchlings tattooed on her foot and Carole got a picture of Darnice's foot and viola, now Carole has her tattoo. As far as mom knows, Kris is still tattoo-less.

I like Carole's tattoo. I have never personally seen a hatchling, but after looking at Carole's tattoo, I would like to meet one. If I ever get to Wassaw Island, I hope I can see some hatchlings. I wonder if they like cute little dogs.

All this talk has mom thinking about getting a sea turtle tattoo. Dad tells me that mom has been talking about getting a tattoo for over 20 years. Mom just cannot make a decision. Maybe she will get a picture of me tattooed on her body.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Charity Guide

People are always asking mom about volunteering. They want to know how and where they can volunteer. Mom usually gives people names of websites that have volunteer opportunites, but some people cannot commit to an ongoing committment. Most people want to make a difference, so when mom found this great website, she knew that this would be the key to helping people find volunteer opportunities that can fit any lifestyle.

Charity Guide is a portal of volunteer opportunities that makes it possible for anyone to make a difference at anytime, from anywhere. There are volunteer projects in animal welfare, children's issues, community development, environmental protection, healthcare, and overcoming poverty. The great thing about the opportunities is that most have flexible schedules and can be completed in 15 minutes, in a few hours, or during volunteer vacations.

According to their website, Charity Guide is dedicated to promoting flexible volunteerism, by inspiring and facilitating acts of kindness. Their approach is called Volunteer on Demand and tends to attract self-directed individuals who believe in their power to act individually to make the world a better place. Everyone can make a difference.

Many of the volunteer opportunities are self-directed, like Do-It-Yourself Ways to Reduce Global Warming. Every project includes step-by-step "How to Make a Difference" instructions. When you are ready to volunteer, you can accomplish your goal as quickly as possible.

Head on over to and find a project that fits your needs. You owe it to yourself to make the world a better place, so please do your part.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bath Time!

Mom wasn't feeling good this morning so she didn't go to the zoo. After sleeping in (with me), she started to feel better and then she had a very bad idea. She decided that I should go to the dog wash express and get a bath. What? A bath? I just had a bath 5 months ago. I don't really need another one this year. I tried to get out of it, but before I knew it, dad put me in the turtler and away we went.

I don't like being wet. There is just something about water that I don't like. I mean I like to drink water, but I don't like water on me. I hate the rain. I run from hoses. I can't even walk on the same side of the street as a sprinkler. I think all of this stems from an episode I had when I was a baby and mom and dad thought it would be a good idea to give me a bath in the front yard. They took the hose out and sprayed me down. Bad idea. I just haven't been the same since that fateful day.

But I digress. I was so excited to get out of the house today. I love riding in the car with the window down and my cute little button ears blowing in the wind. I even had my whole head out of the car window - I was feeling great. When mom parked the car, I thought we were at one of my favorite restaurants. Then I jumped out of the car and realized that we were at the dog wash express. There was nothing I could do at this point (I cannot drive), so I walked in and took my bath like a pug.

I had no idea that dad would be taking pictures of me during my bath (thanks mom) or I would have run out of the place. Dad took out his phone and started taking pictures as soon as I was wet.

I had just been hosed down in this picture. Notice that I am standing as far from the hose as possible

All soaped up and no where to go. Don't I look terrified? I was just counting the minutes until the torture would be over.

This picture is pure humiliation! Look what mom did to me! I am all soapy and she tried to spike the hair on my head. I may look like I'm smiling, but I am really trying not to lunge at mom's throat.

I can't just walk out of the dog wash all wet, so lucky me, I get to be blow dried. That's mom with the dryer in her hand. I am almost dry at this point - don't I look nice and clean?

For all the pain and suffering they put me through, mom and dad drove me through the McDonald's drive thru so that I could get a happy meal. I am so nice and clean now that my coat almost looks like a different color. I smell just wonderful. I am so glad that I won't have to get another bath until 2009!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Birders' Exchange

Mom love birds and she wishes that more people would take the time to learn about them. She is always telling me that birds are the key to the whole world. The world would end if we didn't have birds. Mom does not want a real silent spring to ever happen.

The American Birding Association is not only spreading the word about birds but they are also providing equipment for people to use who are involved in birding. The Birders' Exchange is a program from the American Birding Association. Their motto is sharing tools, saving birds.

According to their website, to successfully address Neotropical migratory bird issues, good science and public awareness are essential. Many researchers. conservationists, and educators in the Neotropics do not have the very basic equipment they need to do their work. Through the Birders' Exchange, people can donate new and used birding equipment and educational tools to these people in need.

So, how can you help? By donating binoculars, digital cameras, spotting scopes, tripods, field guides, and/or backpacks. Don't have any of these items to donate? You can organize an equipment drive in your area. Traveling to Latin American or the Caribbean? You can serve as a courier for the equipment. There are so many ways for everyone to help.

Birds are the most wild animal that people see on a daily basis. Just walk out of your house and you will see many different species of birds. The birds need our help so they can continue to prosper. Please check out to learn more about the Birders' Exchange. The birds depend on us, so please don't let them down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

World Vegetarian Day

Disclaimer: Hey it's Wednesday. Where is the Wednesday Wag Out? Mom hijacked the computer so that she could get the vegetarian message out to the world (or to whoever is reading this). I am not a vegetarian. I love meat. I love to eat meat. I love the smell of meat. I love looking at meat. I am a carnivore! So please forgive mom - she means well.

Today marks World Vegetarian Day, the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Now I know that October is a big month for awareness causes, but because this cause does not get as much attention as the others, I decided to share it with you.

Vegetarians and even non-vegetarians can join in on the fun. The idea behind World Vegetarian Day is to raise awareness of the vegetarian lifestyle. Vegetarians can use this month to spread the message by hosting a vegetarian potluck, wearing a vegetarian t-shirt, give an educational presentation, etc. Non-vegetarians can show their support and raise their awareness by going meat free for a day or even an entire month.

There are so many benefits to going meatless that most people are not even aware of. According to the World Vegetarian Day website some of the many benefits are:

•reducing the risk of major killers like heart disease, stroke and cancers while cutting exposure to food borne pathogens;
•offering a viable answer to feeding the world's hungry, through more efficient use of grains and other crops;
•saving animals from suffering in factory farm conditions and from painful slaughter;
•conserving vital, but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources;
•preserving irreplaceable ecosystems, such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats;
•mitigating the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal agriculture;

Livestock account for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalents). This is greater than all the vehicles on the road! If you care about the environment at all, this statistic should make you rethink your meat eating habits.

So join in on the vegetarian lifestyle today and throughout the month as we celebrate a meat free diet. Check out for additional information.