Sunday, December 28, 2008

After Christmas Shopping

While you are out grabbing all the great after Christmas deals, please consider purchasing some new holiday lights to use next year. Even if your current lights are still in good working condition, switching to LED is the best way to go for many reasons.

LED lights use 90% less energy and most light sets last 50,000 hours. They are also safer because they are cooler to the touch, UL approved, and Energy Star approved. This is another win-win for everyone. Less energy used means less natural resources used means less money out of your pocket. Whew! I feel like I should run out and buy some right now.

Mom saw some light sets at 75% off which is great, but of course she didn't buy them. There were lots of sets at the store and she thinks that if she waits a little while longer that she can get them at 90% off. Good luck with that I told her. With her luck, she will wait too long and they will all be gone. This will be another case of "I told you so". She does not listen to me but hopefully you will.

But what will you do with your perfectly good non-LED light sets? Don't throw them away - recycle them! Post them on craigslist or freecycle so that someone who cannot afford lights can have them.

If you have lights that don't work, please recycle them. They don't have to end up in a landfill somewhere thanks to the following two options. Please check each website for specific shipping instructions.

1. You can ship them to, Attention: Recycling Program, 120 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1403, Jackson MI 49201. The company will even send you a coupon for 15% off its LED lights. The lights are then processed and any material that cannot be recycled (i.e. loose bulbs) are discarded. Once they collect a substantial number of sets, they take them to a 3rd party recycling facility located in Jackson, MI. The recycling company puts the lights through a commercial shredder, which chops the lights up into little pieces. The pieces are then further processed and sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, copper.) The materials are separated and transported to a region center for further processing. In some cases, the pvc cannot be recycled.

2. You can ship them to Christmas Light Source Recycling Program,1923 6th Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76110. This company will give you a coupon for 10% off its lights. They take the lights to a local recycling company that pays a small amount per pound of lights - similar to what you would get for recycling aluminum cans. The money they receive from the recycler is used to purchase Usborne books that get donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Usborne offers a 50% match on donations, so for every $100 in proceeds from Christmas lights recycling, $150 in books can be purchased and then donated.

Now for some facts. If everyone used LED Christmas lights, we'd save $160 million in energy costs according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ten strands of LED lights produce 30 pounds of carbon dioxide versus 300 pounds for regular lights.

So what are you waiting for? Don't be like Mom and wait too long. Go out and get some LED lights today or better yet, order them online. Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Sending you pugs and kisses for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet? Get shopping people! If you are at a lost for what to buy, I have some great last minute ideas for you.

The perfect gift for the person that has everything is, what else, a sea turtle! No, no, you don't get a real sea turtle to keep at home, you adopt one.

Head on over to Caribbean Conservation Corporation and for a tax-deductible donation of $25 or more, they will deliver a symbolic sea turtle adoption kit presented in a beautiful full-color sea turtle folder that includes:
A personalized adoption certificate;
A colorful logo decal;
A colorful magnet;
A Sea Turtle Conservation Guide, with information about sea turtles and actions that everybody can take to help save sea turtles; and
A welcome issue to CCC's award-winning annual newsletter, the Velador

You can adopt a satellite-tagged turtle and track its movements all over the world via the CCC's website. If you want a more personalized gift, you can adopt one of the many turtles CCC researchers tag on the beaches of their research station in Costa Rica and choose the turtle's name. Mom has worked with turtles on this beach, so she can attest to the great work the researchers do.

Another great last minute gift idea is a reusable bag. Mom gave one to her favorite student and the student uses it all the time. You can pick up reusable bags at almost any store, everyone can use them, and best of all, they are great for the environment. Mom has an assortment of bags in her car and she really doesn't have a favorite, but the bags from Whole Foods are the best shape for carrying lots of groceries. If you can't get over to Whole Foods today, Jewel, Dominick's, Walgreens, and CVS all sell reusable bags. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Your friends and family will love you for not only thinking about them by giving this gift, but also for caring about Mother Earth.

Most of us are lucky to have everything that we need. If you have friends and family like this, then give them the best gift of all, yourself. Simply being with people, sharing great times, and making memories is better than any material possession you can buy. I do buy gifts for people, but mostly I just sit on their laps and give them kisses. Everyone tells me that they love these gifts most of all. Now, I am not suggesting that you sit on laps, but hugs and kisses for everyone, everywhere cannot be beat!

Monday, December 22, 2008

For The Kitty That Has Everything!

First of all let me say that I am sooooo glad that I am not a cat, for many reasons. I like my cat buddies, but there is just something about them that isn't right. I never knew what it was before, but I think I have finally figured it out - cats wear wigs!

Kitty Wigs is the brainchild of Julie and Boone Jackson. Like most fun things, Julie started designing the wigs as stress relief from her day job. The wigs are wacky cute and would make the perfect holiday gift for any cat. I like how you could coordinate your wig with your wardrobe, I mean if you had a wardrobe. Like I have said in the past, I do not wear clothes, save for the occasional Halloween costume. There is absolutely no way that Mom could put something like this on me, but I understand that my feline friends are a lot, let's say, more adventurous then dogs.

Take Pink Passion for example. She is a mellow lady, who likes her wine like her men, perfectly aged. She is ready to party at the drop of the hat (or wig) and she is always in style. A trendsetter maybe, but definitely one of a kind.
This lady is the star of the show no matter the show.

There is only one word to describe Bashful Blonde - naughty. She is a woman of mystery, with an eye for scandal. Not one to sit home alone, she prowls the nights looking for the right man to rock her world. She is a tiger in the bedroom, but a lionness at heart.

There are two more styles to choose from, so I will let you check them out at And don't get any crazy ideas and buy one for me. Hey, maybe sombreros for pugs? Or top hats? The possibilities are endless as long as they don't involve fake hair!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Would Make A Great Gift!

Everybody loves the zoo so why not give the gift of a zoo membership this year? A membership to the zoo? What is that?

Mom's zoo is free to the public 365 days a year. Yes, you read that right. It is one of the only free zoos left in the U.S. Even though it is free to enter, visitors who drive must pay to park. They also sell food and gifts to help offset the cost of running a zoo, which is very expensive. By purchasing a zoo membership, you get perks like free parking, discounts at the restaurants and gift shops, and invitiations to special events.

Mom says that the zoo is the happiest place in the world. I know that some people don't like zoos and some of us (me) have never been to a zoo. Mom's message is to give zoos a try. They are places of education, conservation, and fun. So if you are having trouble deciding what to buy for that special someone this year, a zoo membership is the way to go. Check out to find a zoo near you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time To Go Visiting

Mom hardly ever takes me out, but today was a special occasion. I had to deliver a birthday present to a friend and I had to deliver it in person.

My good buddy Fred had a birthday on Tuesday. I was going to stop by his house with his gift on his birthday, but there was a snow storm and Fred got home from work very late. The week just got away from me, so finally today Fred was available and Mom and Dad took me over to his house.

This is Fred. He is a very young 64 years old. He looks good for his age, don't you think? There are some things you should know about Fred. He was in the Vietnam War -yikes. That sounds scary to me, but Fred handled it like a trooper. Fred was also in the Peace Corps in Southeast Asia. He did more in his life before he was 30 than most people do in their entire lives.

Fred is also an animal lover, despite the fact that he still eats animals (much to Mom's dismay). Fred is involved with an animal shelter in our county called Save A Pet. He volunteers there and every year (usually in the spring) he fosters an abandoned mother cat and her kittens. Fred is dedicated to caring for the kitties and he takes great care of them. I don't ever get to visit the kitties because they are young and trying to get strong after having a rough start in life. Mom tells me all about them and Fred sends pictures, so it feels like I know the kitties.

When I was trying to decide what to get Fred for his birthday, Mom suggested a book. I told her that Fred did not read books, but she thinks that she can turn everyone into a book lover, so she talked me into buying this book for Fred.

The book looks interesting, but I wonder it they have a version about dogs. I mean you always hear about dog miracles, like dogs warning their owner about a fire, seeing eye dogs, dogs that know when patients are going to have seizures, etc., but maybe no one has ever written a book about it.

Mom told me that this book would for Fred because maybe it would inspire him to write about his cat fostering. The kitties are miracles in and of themselves, but the joy they bring to Fred and to the people who eventually adopt them is also a miracle. I don't know if Fred is going to write a book or even a short story, but I hope he reads this book. I know he will enjoy it and I hope he thinks of me when he reads it. Happy birthday Fred!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

There was a winter storm warning last night and everyone was told to stay off the roads in anticipation of 12 inches of snow - yikes! The snow had not started by the time I went to bed last night, but when I woke up this morning, I couldn't believe my eyes.

I used to love the snow when I was a baby. I would run out and roll around in the snow making snow angels. I would push the snow with my nose to make snowballs and then let the snow cover my body like a snowman.

Things really changed as I got older. Maybe it was Mom's influence, I just don't know. Mom likes the way the snow looks, but she says that it really messes up traffic. Since I don't drive (not because I don't want to), traffic is not a problem for me. My only real problem with the snow is that I get lost in it and it is not that much fun anymore.

Dad had to shovel a little path for me in the backyard this morning. Despite the path, Mom had to force me out into the snow - it was a little too cold and windy for me - yuk. Don't I look miserable?

Thankfully, Mom did not take a picture of me doing my business (thank you!), but she had to get a picture of my backside as I ran for the door when I was done. I was only out in the yard a minute, but you can see how much snow accummulated in that short amount of time. The snow is no longer my friend.

Mom took this picture out the living room window. It looks like a bad picture, but that is just snowflakes that are stuck to the window. The snow is not a friend to the window, either. As you can see, no one is out, not even the birds. I don't know where they are because we filled the birdfeeders yesterday in anticipation of the storm. Mom was very worried that the little birdies would starve in the storm - yeah right. I should have asked Dad to go to Popeye's last night so that I wouldn't starve today.

The best part about today is that Mom did not go the zoo like she usually does on Fridays. She decided to spend the snow day with me. While I am sleeping all curled up in a nice warm blanket at Mom's feet, Mom will be reading and playing around on the computer. She will also be watching the snow continue to fall, because the storm is not over yet. Ah, what a perfect way to spend a snow day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Wag Out!

Eco-Friendly Water-Powered Clock
When Mom saw this she told me that she had to have it. This is one of the coolest clocks ever because it is powered by water. No more buying batteries! The clock is actually powered by the same salt and water mixture that cover over 70% of the planet. The electrodes harvest energy from the water and viola! Just keep the tank filled with water and you will be right on time. Depending on the tap water you use, you may have to add a small amount of table salt and the manufacture recommends squeezing some lemon juice in the water tank to make it run more efficiently. Of course the water needs to be changed once in a while and added as it evaporates, but that is part of the fun of having the clock. These are sure to be under many Christmas trees this year, so get yours while you can at

Water Heater Tank Wrap
This is another one of the those items that you wonder how you've lived without, even though you don't realize that you need. If your water heater's insulation R-value is below an R-24 or it's slightly warm to the touch, then you need to buy this right away. Without it, you are throwing good money out the window and wasting valuable resources.
The Water Heater Tank Wrap is rated R-11 and by adding to your water heater insulation, you can reduce standby heat losses by 25%-45%, which will save you between 4%-9% in water heating costs. Wow! Designed for both gas and electric heaters, it also meets and exceeds U.S. Department of Energy Standards. Buy one of these today at home improvements stores or online at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Walking The Wrack Line

Mom read this book while she was in Hawaii a few weeks ago. She was supposed to read this book, along with Carole, while they were on Wassaw Island this summer, but Mom did not order hers in time.

The book is a series of essays that the author, Barbara Hurd, writes while walking various shorelines around the world. She is looking for meaning in all the flotsam and jetsam that she finds. Mom does the same thing on Wassaw, but she has never written a book about it. Hey, what a great idea! Mom could write a book, make lots of money, and then I could get all the Popeye's I want - yahoo!

Barbara also talks a lot about her mother. So many things that she finds remind her of her mother who is now dead. It's interesting what people think about as they walk along shorelines. I have only been to a shoreline once and it was not a very good experience. I was there for a "doggie dip". Sounds dumb, huh? It is a once a year chance for all the dogs in our community to swim in our lake. I do not like water, but Mom and Dad took me there anyway. I dipped my paws in the water and ran back to shore where a really nice lady was feeding all the dogs carrots. I just stood by this lady for the rest of the afternoon mooching carrots off her.

Mom tells me that looking out into the endless abyss that is the ocean makes you realize that you are part of something much larger than yourself, that you connect with nature in a way that is almost spiritual. Huh? Maybe I was so upset about getting wet that I just didn't get all that or maybe because I was looking out into the lake it just wasn't the same. Whatever the case, maybe one day I can go to the ocean and see if I can connect like I am supposed to.

Mom really liked this book and recommends it. Since I don't read anything real deep, I will pass. I like to keep my reading light and short - like me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Christmas Card

Mom used to be really good at sending out Christmas cards every year, but for the past few years, she has really dropped the ball. Some years she says that she just doesn't feel like sending cards, it's too much trouble, yada, yada, yada. This year, Mom found what she claims is THE perfect card, so we are finally back in business.

I must admit that the sea turtle hatchlings spelling out the word "Peace" is very cute, but is there more to it than just cuteness? Those of you who know Mom, know that she spent a very interesting week on Wassaw Island this summer during hatchling season. I cannot go into details, but let's just say that this Christmas card may be her way of saying forgive me. Nope, no more details will ever pass these lips, never. I have said too much already.

So if you receive one of these Christmas cards, consider yourself lucky. If not, do not take offense and hate Mom. She really means well and did not leave you off her list on purpose. She either ran out of cards or had a "senior moment". You will be doubly lucky if you receive a card from me because I send out even cuter cards. You will just have to wait to see what I have selected for my Christmas card later this week, so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Recycle Caps with Aveda

Mom's turtle buddy Carole told me about this great program from Aveda. Thank you Carole for being so environmentally conscience and sharing this with me.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the plastic bottle caps in the world? Mom knows that they do not get recycled along with the plastic bottles since they are not made of the same kinds of plastic as their containers and should not be mixed with them. When plastic that can be recycled is mixed with plastic that cannot be recycled, one contaminates the other, thus reducing the value of the material and/or requiring resources to separate them before processing.

Aveda found that most of the plastic bottle caps cannot be recycled by most municipal recycling programs, so they end up in landfills or unfortunately, as litter in rivers and oceans. So what to do? Start a recycling program of course!

By joining Recycle Caps with Aveda, plastic caps can finally be recycled instead of simply thrown away. So how does it work? Caps are collected at stores and schools, then sent by Aveda to their recycler where the material is recycled into new caps and containers. The program accepts caps that are rigid polypropylene plastic, sometimes noted with a 5 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. You will know these when you see them because these caps usually twist on with a threaded neck. Shampoo, soda, milk, and laundry detergent are examples of products that have caps that fit into this category. Aveda states that if you can bend or break the lid with your bare hand, then it does not meet the rigid plastic definition and cannot via their program.

So bring your plastic caps into an Aveda store and feel great about knowing that you are doing the right thing. No Aveda store near you? Get your school involved in the program by going to for details on how to set up a collection center. The school completes an enrollment form, collects caps, and ships the caps back to Aveda. What a great way to get kids involved in recycling.

Aveda is blazing the recycling trail with this great program. Hopefully additional companies will join Aveda in their committment to recycling by started their own programs. In the meantime, tell all your friends to start collecting plastic caps. Kudos to Aveda!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do Not Buy This For Mom!

Mom loves books, but this is one book that she does not need. Mom doesn't even knit, but if she sees this book she may start.

The pug on the cover of the book is very cute, but let's be serious now. Pugs don't wear sweaters. Ever! Mom once bought me a jacket, put it on me, and I looked like a sausage. I don't need to wear clothes because I am a dog. When it gets cold outside, I run out, do my business, and I am back inside before I freeze to death. Plus, I have lots of natural insulation to keep me warm (one more reason to give up on the diet).

Please do not buy Mom this book for Christmas if you know what's good for you. If you feel that you must buy something for her, consider a donation to a sea turtle organization in her name. And if that doesn't work for you, consider buying her a Petsmart giftcard. Oh wait, that's what I want.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Planet in Peril: Battle Lines

A new Planet in Peril special premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CNN. For those of you that watched the first special last year, you know how great this series is.

This new special is once again hosted by Anderson Cooper with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This year, Lisa Ling joins the group as they travel around the globe examining the environmental conflicts between growing populations and natural resources.

Some of the topics of the worldwide investigation include:

•Shark fin soup alters an ecosystem
• Lisa Ling visits ground zero in fight to save sharks
• History of environmental movement full of twists, turns
• Tracking deadly zoonotic viruses spread from animals to humans
Save the planet: Go green with these tips for home, work and travel
•Elephants slaughtered for tusks in Chad, Darfur
• PopSci: Five looming eco-disasters
• Scientific America: Global food crisis
• Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks
• Great white sharks dying at alarming rates
• Charcoal creates crisis in Kenya
• Recycling table scraps
• Amphibians dying at an alarming rate
• Wildebeest migration is a boon for poachers
• Indonesia's vanishing forests

Please tell everyone you know about this show. It is critical that everyone, everywhere realize the impact we are having on the planet. Some of the issues that will presented are admittedly hard to watch, but these are the most important. Watch this show and you will be changed, hopefully for the better.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What Mom Really Wants For Christmas

Bird crazy Mom wants a solar powered bird bath heater. You would think that this would be easy to find but it isn't. Why can't mom just get a plug in heater? Nope, Mom doesn't want to use electricity if she doesn't have to. I kind of understand this because Mom is always telling me that we need to harness the power of the sun. Huh? I know that when I am outside and sitting in the sun, the heat of the sun makes me hot. I think this is what Mom is talking about, but you never know with her.

Birds need water year-round and it gets really cold here (yuk!) in the winter, thus freezing the water in the bird bath. Mom has told me many times that she likes watching the birds drink or bathe in the bird bath more than watching them feed. We even had a dark-eyed junco bathing in one of the small bird baths the other day when the temperature was in the forties.

The bird bath pictured above is the exact bird bath heater that Mom wants. It is called the Solar Sipper and it is insulated with a black plastic cover that absorbs and holds the sun's heat. This is exactly what Mom is always talking about - harnessing the power of the sun! The collected solar heat keeps 32 oz. of water from freezing throughout the day until the temperature drops to 20 degrees. Hmm, the birds will probably have access to fresh water about half the winter.

Today, a sparrow landed on the birdbath, but guess what? The water in the bird bath was frozen solid. Poor little sparrow. I'm sure he was screaming on the inside "Would you get the bird bath heater already!" Maybe Santa will bring one this year. If not, then I will buy one for Mom. I love the birds almost as much as Mom and I know how lucky I am to live inside where fresh water abounds.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Finally Back!

No I wasn't on vacation in Hawaii, but Mom and Dad were. They took my grandpa with them to Maui and of course I could not go with. I never get to go anywhere. I always get left behind and this time was no different. Wait - it was a little different because while they were sunning themselves on the beach, I was hanging out with "the party girls" down the block.

Truffles and Beamish are standard poodles that look the poodle in the picture above. They are called "the party girls" because they live in a corner house and they are always in their backyard having a good time. Everyone who walks by their house stops to say hi and the girls love everyone. I like these girls too, but I was not asked if I preferred spending my "vacation" at their house or at a different location.

I must admit that I had a good time with the girls. The only real problem I had was sleeping. I sleep in the bed with Mom and/or Dad. The girls sleep in the bed with their parents, so there wasn't enough room for me (even though I am looking quite svelte - thanks Henry!). I can't sleep in my daytime bed at night (duh!), so I was forced to sleep on the floor next to Dorothy, the girls' mom. I asked Dorothy to take me down to my other mom Sandy's house so that I could sleep in her bed, but Dorothy just turned a deaf ear. I did not want to cause any trouble, so I just curled up on the floor and snored as loud as I could.

Though I did not like sleeping on the floor, I made up for it by following Dorothy all around the house. I was constantly under her feet, especially when she was cooking. She gave me my medicine every morning, but I tricked her into thinking I didn't want my medicine in peanut butter, so she gave it to me wrapped in sliced turkey - yummy!

Tom is the girls' dad and he pet me almost non-stop. He would sit down on the floor and pet me, but then Truffles would get jealous, come over, and Tom would pet us both. Sharing time with Tom was a small price to pay for a great pug massage.

All in all, I had a good time on vacation, but I was ready to go home when Mom picked me up on Sunday. I was so excited to see Mom that I was shaking. Oh, it was only 4 degrees outside, so that may have had something to do with it. Mom was upset that she left warm Hawaii to come back to such freezing temperatures.

I missed Mom and Dad while they were gone. Maybe one day they will take me with them on vacation and hopefully it will be to someplace warm.