Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mom's Resolutions

As 2009 comes to a close, I think back on the past year with a smile on my face. One of Mom's mottos is every day above ground is a good day and it's true. I have my health, my family, lots of friends, and delicious food. What more could a puggy ask for?

I don't make resolutions because I like to think of myself as a work in progress. A work that keeps on working no matter what. A work that needs improvement but that knows what's good for him. I'm always looking forward because looking behind doesn't help me one bit.

That being said, I'm making resolutions for Mom. She needs them, believe me she does. And of course she's not going to make them herself so I'm taking it upon myself to do it for her.

#1 Spend more time with Stubby. This seems like a no brainer to me, but I put it at the top of the list just in case Mom forgets. I don't like all this traveling business that Mom likes to do. If I can't go with then Mom can't go. Period.

#2 Feed Stubby lots of new and exciting food. I need to broaden my horizons, expand my palate, and all that jazz in the new year. It's not that I'm sick of my food it's just that I know there's lots of food out there that I haven't tried that I know I would love. At least that's what the Food Network says.

#3 Ignore Stubby's stinkiness and never give him a bath. Again, this one is a no brainer. Mom's sense of smell is a little too keen for my liking. She says she can smell me a block away but I don't see this as a problem. I don't need a bath in 2010, trust me.

#4 Take Stubby for lots of car rides, except if the car is going to the vet or the dog wash. I need to get out more. Maybe I've been sleeping too much (is there such a thing?) or maybe it's just cabin fever but I want to cruise around town, see the sites, take in all the aromas of the restaurants, check out the action. Yep, I plan on spending lots of time in the car in 2010.

#5 Leave the computer on so Stubby can update his blog. Mom has really been slacking with this computer thingy. I told you that she doesn't trust me alone with the computer yet she won't let me update my blog when it's on. She's always saying how she needs to read her blogs, check her e-mail, update Facebook. Whatever! My bloggy is important and it needs to be updated daily. Maybe I should have asked Santa Paws for my own computer.

I guess 5 resolutions is enough for now. I know, I know, she's getting off light but I'm going to print these out and tape them all over the house. I'm even going to attach a picture of myself so she knows I mean business. I hope she doesn't get mad because that's not what I want. After all, how could anyone get mad at this little angel?

Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Laundry Product?

This laundry detergent is not new. It's been on the market for awhile. The company that makes it, method, is coming out with a new laundry product and Mom is dying to know all about it.

Today while I was reading a green business blog, I came across an article that asked companies which green initiatives they are most excited about for 2010. One of the companies asked was method and this is what their co-founder and chief greenskeeper Adam Lowry had to say:

"Our revolutionary new laundry product, which launches on January 11th. The product is the purest expression, not just of method's greenness, but of our ability to delight people with truly amazing product experiences. I can't share the details quite yet, but this product is going to shake up the laundry category in a big way. It is the most innovative and green product we have developed to date."

Mom could hardly contain herself as she leaned over my shoulder reading this. What could it be? How could a product shake up the laundry category and why do I have to wait to find out? Of course I couldn't answer these questions so I told her to ask Puglet's friend Google.
I'm sorry to say that Google wasn't any help. Sorry Puglet but your friend doesn't know everything. I told Mom to sit back, relax, and let me take over the computer so that I could get to the bottom of this.

Mom doesn't use method laundry detergent. I'm not sure why but she doesn't. She has been using Vaska which she got from Alice a couple of months ago. She really likes it but says that it shouldn't be used on laundry that has really tough stains. That being said, she bought a bottle of the detergent she used to use, Ecos by Earth Friendly Products last week. Ecos has a GoodGuide overall rating of 7.9 with a health rating of 8.0. Vaska has not been added to GoodGuide yet but Mom is hopeful it will be on there soon with a great rating.

Back to method. Mom has purchased and used their liquid hand soap. She liked it so I decided to look into their current laundry products. The Squeaky Green Laundry detergent you see at the top of this post is the product that I decided to check out.

The method website had lots to say about this detergent and it sounded really good on the surface. The detergent is biodegradable and the formula is plant based, phosphate free, dye free and hypo-allergenic. There's even a link on the detergent page to 'find out what it's made of' which of course I had to click. The list of ingredients had one little item that disturbed me - fragrance oil blend. Hmmm. Time to click on the 'want to go deeper on the ingredients below?' link. Every ingredient in the detergent is listed here with a description of what it is and it's health & environmental summary. Listed second to the last of ingredients was the fragrance oil blend which is made from partially synthetic ingredients. Why do products need to use synthetic ingredients? They don't, do they? Why does method use them? Good question.

After checking out the method website I headed over to GoodGuide to see what they had to say about the detergent. Mom and I use GoodGuide all the time and Mom loves the scanner feature on the iphone app. Since GoodGuide is a work in progress, it doesn't contain every product in all the stores Mom shops at, but since method is a pretty popular brand I guessed they would have a rating for the detergent.

The GoodGuide overall rating for the detergent was pretty good, 7.2, but much to my dismay the health rating was 4.1. Can you guess why the rating was so low? You guessed it - fragrance. Fragrance is a controversial ingredient, not just in detergent but in everything that has a scent. Most products with fragrance contain synthetic fragrance and 95% of the chemicals used in fragrance are made from petroleum products. Bad and bad. There are lots of health risks associated with synthetic fragrances such as birth defects, cancer, central nervous disorders, and more. Additionally, if you suffer from sinusitis and asthma like Mom, fragrance is not your friend.

I had one more resource to check before deciding there would be no method laundry detergent in our house. You've seen me post about the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database before and this was where I was headed to check out method. Even though the name says cosmetic, lots of non-cosmetic companies are listed in the database because companies know consumers want to know how safe their products are. I searched method and found 36 of their products listed but not one of them was laundry detergent. Bummer. Only two of their products had a low hazard listing of 2 (the lower the number the better) while most were in the moderate hazard listing of 4 and 5. The liquid hand soap will not be invited back into our house.

So what does all of this research mean? Mom is no closer to finding out about this new mystery laundry product then when I started this research. We are a few hours closer to January 11th but what's a few hours in the grand scheme of things? The bottom line is that Mom is going to have to wait just like the rest of us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

What are you going to do with your real Christmas tree after the holidays are over? I know that most communities offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees to their residents and I think that's a good option but not the only option. At least not where we live.

Christmas trees that are picked up curbside are turned into mulch. The mulch is then used in parks, at public buildings, and even given to residents of the community. I like this option because it keeps trees out of landfills and because the trees get recycled. But what if you don't want to recycle your tree just yet? I'm not talking about keeping it decorated and standing in your family room until Memorial Day, but about another way to keep it around for just a little while longer.

How about putting your tree in your backyard? After removing all the ornaments, lights, and garland, simply move it to your backyard where it will provide cover for birds. Deciduous trees lose all their leaves in the fall leaving nothing but bare branches for birds to cling to. While bare branches make it easier to see the birds, it does nothing to keep them sheltered from winter storms and to hide them from predators. The birds will take to the new tree in your yard and you can even decorate it with bird seed, popcorn, and cranberries which the birds will love. You may even find that birds you've never seen before stop by for a snack.

So these are really great options for your Christmas tree but if you live in the Chicagoland area there's another really creative option that I read about this weekend. Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn will take your tree off your hands and use it in their animal habitats. How cool is that?

Willowbrook Wildlife Center is an education and wildlife rehabilitation center located just outside of Chicago and is operated by the local forest preserve district. There are many animals on exhibit there and although I've never been there (that darn no dog rule), Mom has and loves it there. Among the many animals that call the Center home, the birds are Mom's favorite. There are permanently disabled bald eagles, songbirds, and even owls there along with many mammals such as foxes and raccoons. Some 80 native Illinois species live there and educate the public seven days a week. Animals that can be rehabilitated are nursed back to health and then released back into the wild.

The Center is looking for 30 Christmas trees to place into habitats of permanent and temporary residents. The trees will not only provide cover for the animals but also stimulation. The trees' new smells will provide a sensory feast for the animals. Some animals may just break off the branches and that's okay because this too is stimulation. Keepers may also hide food in the trees to arouse the animals' natural foraging instincts. This same practice is used at the zoo when scents are scattered in exhibits. Captive animals need to be enriched on an almost daily basis and the trees will do just that for them. Even wreaths and garland are being accepted. These will be used in the indoor songbird exhibits.

This is such a great idea that I'm asking you to check to see if there is a wildlife rehabilitation near you that will accept your tree. If there is, please consider taking your tree there. The rehab facility will appreciate it and you could probably visit your tree throughout the winter where your new friends will be enjoying it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Christmas Gift To You

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas friends! I didn't know what to get all of you for Christmas so I asked my best pal Tony to create a special Christmas tree for me. He worked many long and hard hours on it and I hope you like it.

I wish all of you a joyous Christmas and holiday season. I'm so blessed to have you in my life and I receive so much joy from reading your bloggies. I hope you receive everything you wished for from Santa and more!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas Letter

Hi Santa!

We just finished eating our delicious Thanksgiving dinner and I thought I should write this letter to you before I go to bed. I'm thankful this year for so many reasons and I continue to have hope that things in the world will get better.

I hope this letter finds you in good health and that you are having a great year. You didn't get the swine flu this year did you? I know that lots of people got it but I never heard about it getting all the way to the North Pole. How is Mrs. Claus doing? Mom told me to tell you to tell her to continue getting mammograms despite the recent study. Can you please pass this along to her?

I have been very, very good this year despite a few issues that have occurred lately. Did you know that I went on my very first vacation this year? Of course you knew because you have been watching me! Did you see how happy I was at Barkwells, romping and playing like a little puppy? I highly recommend you stop at Barkwells while you are in North Carolina this year. All the dogs there would love to meet you.

I'm so worried about the honey bees. Did you know their numbers are declining so rapidly that soon they may be extinct? If the honey bees go away so do all the plants that depend on them. Our agricultural system as we know it would collapse. This would not be good. Can you please bring the honey bees some extra vitamins to keep them well throughout the year until scientists can figure out this colony collapse disorder thingy?

Have you ever been to Playa Grande, Costa Rica? What am I saying? Of course you have because you visit all the kids that live there - duh! Since you have been there you must have seen the leatherback sea turtles. Aren't they impressive? Mom talks about the leatherbacks all the time because she has such great memories of her time in Playa Grande. The leatherbacks are in serious trouble and scientists say they will become extinct by the end of the next decade. Can you please bring fisherman around the world a more efficient fishing method so they can stop using longlines which kill the leatherbacks?

The global climate crisis is affecting the birds of the world. I love watching all the little birds that visit my backyard and pond. They come to my house because they are hungry, thirsty, or need a place to have their babies. Birds are also important to the environment (just like the honey bees), in addition to teaching us all about the natural world. We need them but not as much as they need us. They are my friends and I want them to be around for a long time so can you please talk to the heads of all the countries about solving the climate crisis before it is too late?

The bottled water crisis is out of control. I bet you see lots of discarded plastic bottles everywhere you go, don't you Santa? Most people in the U.S. don't need to drink bottled water but they say they do so for convenience. The production of this water uses so much energy, ruins local environments, and takes water away from local residents. Can you please bring reusable water bottles to every house you visit?

Do you know any recycled dogs Santa? I do and lucky for them they have homes. They have people who love them, feed them delicious food, and even help them with their blogs. But there are so many dogs that don't have homes, dogs that no one wants for no good reason. Can you please find loving homes for all the dogs in need?

I have made so many friends this year. What a lucky guy I am, huh? I would like you to please bring a little gift bag to all my friends and friends of my friends. Just think of it as a gift from Mother Earth.
Please include in each bag:

12 LED light bulbs
11 bars of soap from Soap Hope
10 reusable shopping bags (organic cotton, hemp, or recycled material)
9 soy candles
8 rechargable batteries
7 organic cotton produce bags
6 Skoy cloths for cleaning around the house
5 bottles of eco-friendly nail polish
4 reusable water bottles (aluminum or BPA-free plastic)
3 recycled wood bird feeders
2 rain barrels
1 composter

The one little thing I really want for myself is an 8-piece Popeyes chicken meal. Have you ever tasted Popeyes? If not, please pick up an 8-piece for yourself when you pick up mine. You won't regret it!

Merry Christmas Santa!

Your Pal,

Stubby xoxo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cards

I could be the poster pug for this card. Every year I say I'm going to send out lots of Christmas cards and every year I only send a few. I only have addresses for a couple pugs and I did send cards to them but I feel really guilty about not sending holiday cheer to all my friends. I feel like a real slacker and just want to say that it won't happen again.

I wanted to participate in a Christmas card exchange but I never found one. I guess I could have started one but then Mom and Dad went to Hawaii and well, you know the rest. I received a couple cards from my friends and I love them. Mom put them in the family room on the mantel for everyone to see. I even kept the envelopes because lots of people don't believe that I get mail.

I'm going to chalk this Christmas card thingy up to poor planning - on Mom's part. I told her I needed addresses for all my friends and she really dropped the ball. To make up for it she asked me if I wanted to participate in a Valentine's Day card exchange and I said yes. Since I only just met most of you in the spring, you may already have a Valentine's Day card exchange and I would like to ask if I could participate. If no such exchange exists, I would like to organize one. There. It's official. More details to come in 2010.

Since this post is about Christmas cards, I have a question for all of you - what do you do with the Christmas cards you receive? I'm talking about after the holidays are over and it's time to take down the decorations. Do the cards end up in a drawer, in the shredder, or in the recycleable bin? Do you save them and make things out of them? If you don't know what to do with them come January 2, I've got the perfect solution.

The St. Jude's Ranch Recycled Card Program started over thirty years ago. It all started when the children at St. Jude's made new Christmas cards from the previous year's Christmas cards and sent them to donors of St. Jude's. The donors loved the cards so much that they suggested the children sell the new cards so that others could enjoy them. How cool is that?

People from all over the world send cards they've received throughout the year to St. Jude's. The children remove the front of the card, attach a new back, and viola! A new card ready to make someone's day.

This program is great for everyone. The children learn about recycling and receive money for the work they do. The people that purchase the cards do so knowing that are have provided children with a sense of worth. Truly a win-win for everyone.

The program has evolved over the years to include all types of cards from Christmas, to birthday, to thank you, and more. Any card you receive throughout the year can be sent to the children at St. Jude's where it will find life as a new card for someone else. This is the true meaning of recycling. As with any recycling program, you must purchase recycled cards in order to fully close the loop. The new cards come in packages of 10 for $10.00. That's a great deal and a great way to support a great organization.

St. Jude's Ranch for Children was started back in 1967 by Father Jack Adam. He saw a need back then that still exists today - a place for children to go that have been abused, abandoned, and/or neglected. They provide the nuturing environment all children need, in a safe home where they can prosper and learn life skills. Children that call St. Jude's home are seeking ways to start over, begin fresh, and thrive with all the hope and spirit they can. It's through generous donations that this non-profit has helped more than 1,000 children over the years. Purchasing greeting cards is just one more way to say thank you to St. Jude's for caring for those who need it most.

To donate your Christmas cards and/or other cards you may receive, please send them to:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude's Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Little Under The Weather

I'm not feeling good today. It all started last night right before Mom and Dad left me to go to dinner with friends. Dad noticed that I wasn't responding when he called my name and he immediately freaked out. He told Mom that I couldn't hear him and that my ear medicine was to blame. As you can see from this picture, I'm kind of out of it today as I lay on the daybed in Mom's beach house.

Mom tried to get my attention and I just barely opened my eyes. I don't feel good and I've had this problem with ear medicine before. An old vet that I used to go to gave me medicine that made me (temporarily) lose my hearing. The vet never mentioned the 1% chance of this happening when he prescribed it and of course I was the 1%. Mom and Dad were livid and despite me telling them that it was okay, it was all I could do to calm them down because hysteria had set in. I did regain my hearing and then we switched vets.

I can hear high pitch sounds like Mom's baby voice, but not Dad's normal voice. Mom had her baby voice going when she got my attention and then quickly snapped this picture. I told her that I had to have a decent picture to post or everypug would think I'm on my deathbed. Mom isn't going to put any medicine in my ears today and is going to call the vet first thing in the morning. I'm going to chill out with Mom and watch some football. Hopefully Mom will not be screaming at the tv because I need to sleep.

I told Mom that video of me wasn't necessary, but she insisted on it. Please ignore Mom's annoying voice and just gaze at the cuteness that is Stubby. I'm sure I'll be okay, but since I'm a sympathy magnet today I'm going to request some Popeyes. If Mom knows what's good for her, she will run out and get me some right now. If not, I will sit and pout until I get my way.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Day Without a Bag

It's Mom's fault that I didn't post this on Thursday. Thursday is the busiest day of Mom's week and she never has time for me. She rarely turns the computer on each Thursday and I've asked her time and time again to just turn it on for me before she leaves. Can you believe that she doesn't trust me with the computer? Unsupervised computer use is not allowed in our house. She thinks I'm going to order lots of treats, cancel all her travel plans, and tweet all day long. Whatever!

A Day Without a Bag is coordinated by Heal the Bay, a grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up the Santa Monica Bay. Held on the third Thursday of December, the event encourages holiday shoppers and retailers to stop using plastic shopping bags for the day and use reusable bags instead. Billed as their gift to the environment, I think it's an event that should be held every month.

Since I couldn't post this on Thursday, I am declaring today, December 19th, the new Day Without a Bag. Today is a big shopping day since it is the last Saturday before Christmas. The stores will be packed. There won't be a single parking spot at the mall. The checkout lines will be long. Tempers will be flaring. While all of this is happening, you will be shopping with your reusable bags.

I'm not going to talk plastic bag statistics because you already know them. I love this interactive website from Heal the Bay. It focuses on trashing the ocean, which is happening right now as I type this. A real problem, this is unseen by those of us who don't live near the ocean, but affects all of us no matter where we live. There are plenty of facts and figures on the site as well as issues you may not be aware of. Check it out and you may learn a few new things. Even if you think you already know all there is to know about trash in our oceans, you might be surprised at what you don't know.

You know how bad plastic bags are for the environment and you know that they are totally unnecessary. You also know that you don't have to use them because there are alternatives. Plastic never goes away. There is no such thing as cradle to grave with plastic bags unless you consider a landfill a grave. Let your holiday gift to Mother Earth be one she really wants and needs. Please do not use any plastic bags as you shop today. Let this become a habit and you will be surprised at the impact you make.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unchopping A Tree

This short film made its debut at an event in Copenhagen this week. The purpose of the film is to make you think about the climate crisis.

What did you think when you first read the title of this post? The title of the post is the title of the film. What happens when we unchop a tree? According to the filmmaker, we can save two birds with one tree by unchopping a tree. This will reduce emissions and protect species and habitats. Sound good?

The film is just one part of a larger project called "What is Missing?" and it is a tribute, a memorial that brings the loss of habitat and biodiversity caused by the climate crisis into focus. I think the "What is Missing?" website says it best, so following is their mission statement.

What is Missing? is a wake up call and a call to action, showing what is being done throughout the professional field of conservation and also what individuals can do in their everyday lives to make a difference in habitat and species protection.

What is Missing? will make the critical link between global warming concerns and habitat protection: if 20% of global warming emissions are caused by deforestation then What is Missing? will integrally connect these issues, asking the question:

Can we save two birds with one tree?

It will create a shared sense of purpose between these two concerns, so that we cannot think of our carbon footprints without also measuring our impact in terms of biodiversity and habitat protection-asking the question can we envision a sustainable future growth plan, a ‘greenprint’ for the future, that will pose a plausible future that we could achieve.

What is Missing? will present the work being done with collaborating institutions and environmental organizations throughout the world, bringing an awareness of what is being accomplished, allowing people to see the world of conservation through their eyes and actions.

Wow! Powerful words for one of the most important issues of our lifetime. But not just words - a call to action. A call to everyone to stand up and take action. The climate crisis affects us all, is the responsibility of each and every person on the planet, and cannot be brushed away like so many crises before it. This is real. This is happening. We must understand what is missing in order to realize what we are losing.

Back to the film. Maya Lin is the filmmaker and if that name sounds familiar to you, give yourself a pat on the back. Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1981. That memorial, so regal, elegant, and somber, contains the message that we will never forget the fallen. It's static medium stands proud against those who cannot stand with it. This new memorial is mulit-dimensional, encompassing many mediums all with the same message. It is also Lin's last memorial, one that will hopefully make as lasting an impression on the world as her previous works.

Lin's message will become apparent from the moment you hit play. Let the film move you. It will make you think, make you want to make a difference. Understand you can make a difference. You will make a difference. I know you will.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guess Where I Went Today?

The vet! I was so mad when Mom told me I had a four o'clock appointment today. I told her I was busy at that time and she picked me up and put me in the car.

Why did I have to go to the vet today? A notice from the vet came in the mail last month. It said that I needed a dhpp dooster, heartworm/lyme test & tick scr, and semi-annual wellness exam. Mom read the notice when it came and then I hid it. She totally forget about it until yesterday when she noticed that I've lost some weight. I've lost weight because Dad has been on his lifestyle program which means I never get any Popeyes. Plus Mom and Dad abandoned me last week and I didn't get any extra food while they were gone. Mom wanted to get me to the vet so that I could get weighed. Ugh!

Who's that good looking guy? Look how svelte I am! Last time I was at the vet I weighed 21.8 pounds. My doctor, Dr. Chung, is always complaining to Mom that I am overweight. She blames all my problems on my weight. I personally don't think I'm that overweight but I of course eating Popeyes every week adds pounds to the pug.

So what do I weigh today? 19.1 pounds! I'm smiling in this photo because Dr. Chung is finally happy with my weight. Yahoo! Yippee! My good mood was short lived because of course Dr. Chung had to look in my ears. My ears, in Dr. Chung's words, had lots of chunks in them. Chunks? She stuck a really long Q-Tip in one ear, showed Mom, and then took me in the back room to drain them. She also gave Mom medicine to put in my ears twice a day. I need to find the perfect hiding place for this stuff because I don't like anything in my ears.

Dr. Chung listened to my heart and lungs (both great) and then mentioned to Mom that she wanted to check my prostate. My what? Apparently this cannot be done in front of Mom so once again Dr. Chung took me in the back room. Since I was back there she also decided to clean my anal glands. I told her that Mom wasn't going to be happy with all this poking and prodding of her little baby and Dr. Chung just laughed at me.

Mom brought urine and stool samples so the doctor could make sure that I'm okay. I haven't been going out and doing my business very much in the cold because I can't handle the cold. Today's urine was my first in 24 hours and it showed. Dr. Chung commented on the color and told us that there were tiny crystals in it. This could mean a UTI (which is unusual for a male dog) or it could just be that I'm not going as much as I should be. Bingo! She gave Mom antibiotics to give me just in case it is a UTI.

The vet tech also stole some of my blood, so Dr. Chung is going to call Mom on Friday with the results. As if all that wasn't enough, Dr. Chung suggested accupuncture to help my arthritis. She thinks I'm in lots of pain and even asked Mom if I can walk up and down the stairs. Hello McFly! Of course not! Mom did tell her that I have recently been walking up some stairs but never down them because going down stairs hurts my shoulder. Dr. Chung gave Mom a long list of recommendations to help my arthritis in addition to accupuncture. I am in pain but I don't want to worry Mom, so I just suck it up and let her baby me.

I'm so tired now because we were at the vet for almost one hour. I am going to bed early tonight because I missed my afternoon nap. Let's go Mom - time to snuggle in bed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

FDA Pet Health & Safety Widget

You may have noticed something new on my sidebar today. I found this great new widget from the FDA today and I knew I had to have it on my blog. But what is it exactly?

The widget is designed to share important pet health & safety tips and updates, including pet product recalls. That's so awesome! We all need to know about pet product recalls in order to stay safe. The content on the widget is updated by the FDA so all you need to do is put it on your blog and check it for updates. If I can do it, anypug can!

The FDA even hosted a webinar last week for bloggers which I was unable to watch. The webinar featured speakers from the FDA and focused on the announcement of the widget, how to install it and use it. They even had a Q & A session. See what I miss when Mom is away? Sheesh!

The widget has a tips section which contains info on how to report a pet food complaint and how to purchase drugs online. This section is a work in progress and I'm hoping they add additional tips as the widget grows. The updates section has lots of great information about recalls, reminders, and cautions. It seems to me like the updates section has lots of tips so this is the section I will probably use the most.

You can get the widget by simply clicking on the "Grab This" link at the bottom of my widget. This will copy the code for you to imbed in your own sidebar. Please pass the info about the widget on to all your friends so that all of us can stay healthy and safe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guess Who's Back?

Mom and Dad finally got back home early this morning. I was so excited to see them but I'm still upset with them for leaving me. I had a great time with my pugsitter Natalie, but I missed Mom and Dad terribly and I don't ever want them to leave me again.

I was so upset yesterday because they are usually gone for seven days and when they didn't come back yesterday I did something bad - I made poopie in the house. I just couldn't figure out a better way to let everyone know that I was upset and I figured if it works for Pearl then it will work for me. Natalie wasn't too upset with me because she knew that I was missing Mom and Dad but she did mention to me that it was not like me to do something like that. Mom and Dad weren't that upset about it but apologized to Natalie for me. Next time maybe they will take me on vacation or not go at all.

The picture above is of the beautiful Hawaiian sunset from 39,000 feet as Mom and Dad were leaving the islands. Mom told me that she couldn't take her eyes off of her last vacation sunset and that she had to take a picture so that I could see what it looked like. It is beautiful.

As the plane cruised back to the mainland, Mom took this picture of the top of a seamount in the archipelago. Mom is not sure of the name of this seamount, but it looked cool from the air.

Mom has been telling me all about the trip since she got home. They did this and that, went here and there, saw this and that, yada, yada, yada. Get to my presents already woman! Mom was so tired when she got home because she didn't sleep on the plane, so we took a nice long nap until noon and then she showed me what she brought back for me. I was sure she would buy me a new stuffie, a cool Hawaiian collar, some delicious Hawaiian treats, or some other great gift. I did not expect her to buy me some fabric. What was she thinking? I have no idea what she is going to do with three yards of this pug fabric but she seemed a little disappointed that I'm not excited about it. She said that she may make a pillow for me or a new liner for my bed. If anyone has any ideas for Mom, please let me know. I fear that this fabric will get stuffed into a closet and forgotten about until my 25th birthday!

This is not for me because as all of you know it's not good for us doggies. Mom and Dad always bring backs too many bags of these Kisses, so if you are on their Christmas list you will find a bag under your tree.

Mom cannot stand to have fully loaded after vacation luggage lying around so she has been unpacking like a mad woman. It's time like this that Mom thinks it would be better to haul all the bags to the laundromat and get all the laundry done is a couple of hours. Did you know that the world's largest laundromat is just outside of Chicago in a place called Berwyn? Berwyn is not close to our house (it's south of the city and we live north of the city) and I'm sure I am not allowed in the laundromat so Mom will be doing laundry at home where she belongs.

I was so upset when Mom was unpacking that I decided to investigate the dirty clothes bag. It smelled really yucky and I loved it. Dirty laundry is my favorite thing to lay in. I get my cute little pug nose into all the underwear, socks, and shirts, and just sniff away. Ahhhh. I decided to climb into the bag and this freaked Mom out. She quickly grabbed her phone and started taking pictures.

Mom was freaked out because I have never climbed into luggage. I usually walk around it and poke my head in, but I never set foot in it. This is me laying the biggest guilt trip on Mom ever. My face says "Don't leave me again or else!" and I think she got the point. She kept asking me what was wrong and if I was okay.

I figured I would continue the guilt trip to see what I could get out of Mom so I decide to lay down in the bag. Look at my face! I'm upset and I want everyone to feel my pain. Mom was so upset that I thought she was going to cry. She sat down and gave me lots of pets as I laid in the bag, telling me that she was sorry and that she hopes I will forgive her. Of course I will forgive her. She's my mom and I love her madly. I'm glad that she's back and I'm going to stay in this bag forever if it will keep her from leaving me again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Life is Good!

This is not Mom but this is where she will be 24 hours from now. Yep, Mom and Dad are leaving me again so they can go lay on the beach in Hawaii. What is wrong with them? Why can't they stay home and lay in bed with me?

I know that Mom and Dad need a vacation, especially with everything that's gone on this autumn. Mom thought that the doctors would not let Dad fly all the way to Hawaii (10 hours) but he got the okay again this morning. I wonder what Mom would have done if Dad couldn't go. I think she would still go because she loves Hawaii. Dad or no Dad, Mom will be on that airplane tomorrow heading to the Big Island come hell or high water!

Of course Mom and Dad can't just stay at any old hotel when they're on vacation. Nope. They are staying at the Mauna Lani Resort which just so happens to have been named the only US property in North America honored as one of the world's Top Luxury Eco-Friendly Beach Destinations by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Mom is green even when she's on vacation!

Mom has shown me pictures of the Mauna Lani and it looks amazing. The Mauna Lani's solar energy innovations are second to none. They generate the most solar electric power of any luxury resort in the world. They also won the award because they have a green sea turtle (honu) program. Conde Nast calls it an ecotourism attraction but Mom calls it brilliant. The resort was also selected as one of only ten golf resorts in the world for the first ever Green Gold Award as a leader in environmental stewardship by Golf Magazine. Dad is definitely going to golf there.

"Since opening 26 years ago, Mauna Lani has been at the forefront of environmental stewardship in the resort industry," said Brian Butterworth, General Manager. "As we continue to add new amenities and programs, we always do so with an eye toward remaining true to the Hawaiian practice of malama 'aina, or responsible stewardship of the land. Preserving Hawaii's resources, environment and culture is an important aspect of the resort experience at Mauna Lani and it resonates with our guests who are inspired to come back year after year." Kudos to them!

Back to the solar electric power. The resort's photovoltaic system covers three acres and provides operating power and supplies the majority of the resort's daytime water pumping power requirements. But what is the savings of this system you ask? They estimate that over the 25-year lifetime of the system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of CO2 by almost 12,000 tons. That's awesome!

But it's not just solar power that makes this resort green. Their catering team has created a menu of eco-friendly options and their unique sustainable menu incorporates all products within a radius of 100 miles of the hotel. This means you can eat like a locavore even on vacation.

I already told you the golf course was green and not just in terms of color. The greens are made from a drought-resistant grass that requires considerably less fertilizer and herbicides. This makes it more eco-friendly both for the golfers and for the environment. Despite the bad rap that golf courses get for using too much water, chemicals, etc., there are ways to design and operate them that makes them green for all.

I mentioned that Mom thinks the green sea turtle program is brilliant and that's not just because she loves turtles. Since 1989, the Mauna Lani has collaborated with Sea Life Park to raise juvenile honu in its saltwater ponds until they are large enough to be released in the wild. The honu are part of the resort's fishing feeding tour designed to raise awareness of the endangered species. Mom was thrilled the first time she walked into the hotel and saw the honus. They were just little guys and each one had a number painted on its shell. Mom and Dad even got to hold some honus because a famous turtle guy flew over from Oahu to assist in giving the honus checkups. Mom started to talk to the guy about turtles and turtle people she has worked with, and next thing you know Mom is in the middle of the action. It was like a dream come true and definitely something she will never forget.

The little honus are released into the ocean every Fourth of July in what is part of the resort's annual Sea Turtle Independence Day celebration. More than 170 honu have been released into the wild as part of this program and people from all over the islands and all over the world come to the Mauna Lani to be part of the celebration. Mom and Dad just never seem to make it to the celebration because we have our own celebration back here on the mainland. But one of these days I know that Mom is going to break tradition and join the celebration at the Mauna Lani.

Mom is really going to Hawaii to hang out with these guys. She loves the honu almost as much as she loves me. She will spend hours sitting on her little blue beach chair contraption gazing longingly at the honu as they climb out of the water and onto the lava to rest. She will spend the rest of the time swimming with them, amazed at the gracefulness they exhibit. Dad will have to drag her away from the beach to go to sleep, but even while she's asleep she will have one ear to the ocean. The waves will lull her to sleep, dreaming of all the honu swimming just offshore soon to come and visit her again. Ahhh. Paradise found!

Of course I will never be able to go to Hawaii because the flight would kill me. Plus, PetAirways doesn't fly there and I'm not flying in cargo on United! That's okay because our housesitter/pugsitter will be here tomorrow morning and that's when the fun really begins. When the parents are away the pug will play!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanks dw!

I received this awesome award from dw a couple of weeks ago. How cool is that? For those of you who don't know dw, please visit her blog Writing Chances. She blogs about lots of different things and her writing is amazing. Oh and did I mention she's pug crazy? One of these days she's going to get a pug and her life will never be the same. In the meantime, all us pugs have adopted dw as our other mother.

Okay, so here are the terms of the award:

1. Publish a post on your blog referring who awarded you
2. Share 5 things you like to do
3. Share or pass this award to 10 friends

The five things I like to do:

1. Eat
2. Sleep
3. Eat
4. Sleep
5. Ride in the car

Is anypug surprised by my list? I think not! I guess I'm a little boring or maybe I should say predictable in my old age but what can I say. I like what I like and that's who I am!

There is no way I could pick 10 friends to pass this award to, so I want everypug to have it. If you're reading this post then grab the award - it's yours! Keep the circle of friends going by inviting new friends into the circle. The more the merrier!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Recycled Magazine Ornaments

Some Christmas trees have old ornaments, some new, some handmade, and some from nature. Mom likes the natural look but I think I've convinced her that we should put up an all-recycled ornament tree.

These cool ornaments are made from magazines. After cutting the paper, the long strips are soaked in glue and then dried. Each strip is then hand coiled until the desired shape is complete. How cool is that? We have so many magazines around the house that if Mom was a little bit crafty she could probably make these. But she wouldn't because these ornaments are made by people in Vietnam who wouldn't otherwise have a source of income. Making hand crafts provides underprivileged women and children with job skills in addition to making them self reliant.

These ornaments will be the first ones on the recycled Christmas tree. These would also make great gifts or gift enhancers. Get your set of five today at

Green Laces
Yesterday we had red laces and today we have green. Hmmm. Seems like we have a Christmas theme going. Maybe you can wear a red lace in your left shoe and a green lace in your right shoe.

GreenLaces are good for the planet. According to their website, they activate the global athletic community to improve our planet by inspiring action, connecting a community and educating a greener
generation. How can do they that with green shoe laces?

By wearing GreenLaces on your athletic shoes you show the world that you are a friend of the planet. These cool laces are made in the U.S. from 100% post consumer recycled plastic and of course they are packaged sustainably. Simply make a promise to the planet and then wear your green laces to let the world know you care about the planet. You can even log onto the GreenLaces website and post your promise.

GreenLaces is hoping to reach 1 million promises and their community of online promises is saving over 100 tons of CO2 and $5,600 each year. Step on over to to get your laces and make you promise to the planet. Mother Earth thanks you in advance.


Wrapping paper is so last century. We can no longer afford to wrap gifts in traditional wrapping paper because not only does it cost too much but it's also a huge waste of paper. But not just paper, resources like water and energy are wasted in the creation of this one-time-use-throw-away commodity. The solution? Wrap your gifts in WrapSacks.

These sacks are a great reusable alternative to traditional wrapping paper. According to the WrapSacks website, the wrapping paper industry generates sales of $5.1 billion per year - yikes! Recycled paper options do exist for those special occasions when a sack will not suffice, but these sacks are perfect for the other 99.9% of the time you give gifts. But what's so special about these sacks?

The sacks can be tracked. Each WrapSack has a unique code number stamped on its label. The label tells the recipient that the sack is on a journey so they can see what it's been. The recipient simply enters the code on the WrapSacks website and all the information about the sack is revealved - where it's been, what gifts have been in it, who received and gave it, what city it came from and more. So in addition to reusing the sack over and over again, it tells a story. Mom wishes she had thought of this.

Give the gift that keeps on giving at No longer will regifting be a dirty word.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day

I had no idea today was World AIDS Day until I saw Mom on Twitter this morning. She is turning her tweets red to support the cause. While peeking over her shoulder I found all these interesting facts about AIDS.

Over 14 million children in Africa have been orphaned because of AIDS. I was blown away by this. All these poor children have lost their parents due a preventable and treatable disease. People are working to raise awareness about the dangers of AIDS but poverty is rampant in most parts of Africa so this task is quite a challenge. If people were taught the danger, understood the consequences, and were given the appropriate equipment to protect themselves, I firmly believe we could get this epidemic under control. If treatments were made available to affected people, lives could and would be saved. Children should not have to lose their parents because of this disease.

Did you know that 10% of the world's population live in Africa yet it's home to 67% of all HIV cases? This statistic just blew me away. These numbers must be wrong, right? Nope. Just imagine if 67% of all HIV cases were in Europe, Asia, or North America. Do you think more would be done to fight this disease? It's important to remember that people are working tirelessly every day to prevent and treat this disease. Even though there is no cure or vaccine, don't give up hope that either won't be discovered soon.

How many people in the world do you think have HIV? How about 33 million! That over 18% of the world's population. I'm sure you can guess where most of those affected with HIV live. You guessed it - Africa. 22 million people in Africa have HIV. The disease is so rampant that it threatens to wipe out entire villages.

So while in October we think pink, today we think red. We feel red. We believe in red because we believe in the cause. There are many ways to help today because so many companies are fighting this fight along with us. (Product) Red items are available around the world and retailers like the Gap and Starbucks are amping up their contributions today with the Gap contributing 1% of all revenue and Starbucks contributing 5 cents for every hand-crafted beverage in US & Canada. Nike has joined the fight this year with their (NIKE) RED laces. They are contributing 100% of the profits from these laces to the Global Fund and to football-based programs that help fight AIDS in Africa. Football is used as a framework to teach youths how to avoid contracting HIV. Mom is off to buy some RED laces right now.

AIDS was first identified as a disease way back in 1981, way before my time. For those of you who remember the 80's (and the big hair) you know how scary it was back then when news first broke about this dreaded disease. Like they used to say in the 70's we've come a long way baby but we've still got a long way to go. Learn about the disease and then teach others about HIV/AIDS. Support groups working to fight this disease and keep yourself safe from this disease.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to start decorating for Christmas. Mom took most of the Thanksgiving stuff down yesterday but only put a new wreath over the fireplace. Dad started hanging lights outside because it was 53 degrees but he was working against the clock and lost. Darkness started to fall and he came inside, one evergreen and one bush lit with lights.

I'm hoping Mom puts the Christmas tree up today because I like to hang out under it. I walk under it checking for my presents and resting on the pretty tree skirt. I make sure all the lights are working and alert Mom if any ornaments come loose and tumble to the floor. I am on high alert during the holidays working day and night to make sure everything is picture perfect.

In the past, Mom and Dad have traveled to a tree farm to cut down a tree. They loved riding in the wagon, looking up and down each row until deciding they were ready to jump off the wagon to for a closer inspection. Up and down each row, measuring, calculating, imagining. They had it down to a science and always came home with a great tree. I loved the smell of our real trees. Nothing really compares to it.

A few years ago we purchased an artifical tree. Though it looks pretty, it is a bit too perfect. All its branches are symmetrical, the greenness of each limb a bit too green. The tree is easy to put up as Mom pulls each piece out of the box. When we are ready to say goodbye to the holidays, the box appears and once again the tree is taken apart, branch by branch, to sleep in its box until the time is right for it to come out next year.

I struggle with the different trees, real and artifical, that we've had in the past. I've been wondering which tree really is the best for the environment or if putting up a tree is really not that eco-friendly at all.

Most people have artifical trees because they are convenient. They look perfect, instilling in our minds the idea of the holiday we all desire. And of course the are eco-friendly because they can be reused year after year. But are they really the best choice if you care about the planet?

The biggest downside to artifical trees is that they are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the third most widely used plastic produced. The production of PVC creates and releases dioxin, which is one of the most toxic chemicals known to man. Dioxin contaminates the environment and puts the people who work with it at risks for many diseases. As if the chemical content of the trees weren't bad enough, ask yourself what happens to these trees when people no longer want them. PVC is difficult to recycle because burning it releases toxins into the air, so most trees end up in landfills. Hmmm. If burning them is bad, what happens when they break down in landfills? You guessed it - all the toxins get leached into the soil and water supply. Oh and don't forget that most artifical trees are manufactured in China so the carbon footprint is really high.

So if artifical trees have such a high carbon footprint should you purchase a real tree? There are many benefits to real trees, primarily that most are grown on local farms and all can be recycled. You help the local economy buy purchasing a real tree and whether you go to a tree farm or just down to a temporary stand on the corner, the smell of a real tree really sets the mood for the holidays all season long.

Of course a real tree requires lots of maintenance, and if you buy one every year the cost compared to a one time purchase of an artifical tree is substantial. There's also the mess to consider as pine needles can and do fall off, so if you don't like to vacuum or sweep, a real tree is not for you. In addition to the added fire hazard of a real tree, farmers who grow real trees likely apply chemicals to the trees during their growth. These chemicals pollute the environment just like the chemicals used to grow food.

Have I confused you? I've confused myself! Experts agree that the best case scenario is to purchase an organic tree from a local tree farmer. Right. Unfortunately, this is not a viable solution for most people, so how can you do the right thing?

The most important thing to consider when deciding on a Christmas tree is your overall environmental impact. If you have to drive far to cut down or purchase a real tree, your carbon footprint is increasing and possibly negating the eco-friendliness of your tree. And if you aren't going to recycle your real tree then don't even buy one. We definitely don't need another tree in our landfills.

If you purchase an artifical tree, consider doing some research into where it was manufactured. Believe it or not there are still U.S. companies making artifical trees. Though they may be few and far between, they are out there and worth looking into. Buying products made in the good old U.S.A. feels good and helps our economy.

No matter what type of tree you decide to put up, please make a conscious decision when doing so. A real tree must be maintained and then recycled. An artifical tree will last you a lifetime but if you decide that you no longer want it, please donate it. There are always people who don't have their own tree who would love to decorate your hand-me-down tree. No matter what you decide I only ask that you do the right thing.

Mom is still on the fence about our tree. I told her to put up our artifical tree today because it is raining outside and we have to stay inside anyway. She told me that she would really love a real tree this year so I found an organic tree farm not too far from home where she can cut one down. The problem? Mom and Dad are going on vacation next weekend and that is the only time the tree farm is open. I give up Mom! You decide. Just let me know when it's up so I can start wrapping presents.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm So Thankful!

Gobble, gobble everypug! I love Thanksgiving because my favorite thing to do is eat. I plan on eating from dawn til dusk. You can find me tomorrow in bed recovering and just a little bit heavier than I was yesterday. That's what the holidays are all about, right?

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am so lucky to have such great parents that take care me no matter what. I admit that I'm a little spoiled and that some times I'm a pain in the butt, but Mom and Dad wouldn't trade me for anything in the world. And for that I'm am most thankful.

I'm thankful Dad's health scare was quickly resolved and that he's on the road to recovery. Things could have been much worse and I'm making sure he sticks to his lifestyle program so that I will have him around for a very long time. He's my best bud and he loves me unconditionally.

I'm thankful Mom is mom. She may be a little strange to some people, but she's really the best. She's definitely a one of a kind and that's why I love her. She does everything for me and really helps me with my blog. I don't know what I would do without her because she loves me like no one else does. I'm her baby, her only child, and I couldn't ask for more.

I'm thankful more people are switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Recycling and composting figures are up this year and that makes me smile. More and more people are realizing the impact (positive and negative) of their actions and making changes to do more with less. We still have a long way to go, but I'm hopeful for the future.

Even though I started my blog last year, it wasn't until this year that I visited some blogs, said hi, and introduced myself. Just let me say that my life hasn't been the same since. I've made so many great friends through blogging and everyone has welcomed me with open paws. I've laughed with you, cried with you, and celebrated with you this year, and I'm forever grateful for these experiences. I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends and on this Thanksgiving I give thanks to you for being you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Eco-Friendly Ribbon

The gift giving season is upon us and as we think about how to put the finishing touch on all those presents, please think responsibly.

Did you know that 95% of ribbon produced in the U.S. is made with petroleum products? This is not good because petroleum is not a renewable resource and we need to is sparingly. So what can you do when you still want to use ribbon but you want to do the right thing?

Cream City Ribbon is the answer! Cream City makes ribbon from cotton that is responsibly grown and dyed in the U.S. It is all natural and compostable. And it's really pretty too. Get creative this year and stop by to get all the natural ribbon you will need.

Bird Cards

Mom loves birds and when I showed her these bird cards she went crazy. She plans to buying and sending them as birthday cards in the hopes of getting people interested in birds.

What is so special about these cards? They are greeting cards that play sounds - bird sounds or calls to be exact. The collection of fourteen North American and twelve British birds feature the artwork by Maurice Bebb and the bird sounds are from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The inside of the card contains statistics and interesting information about the bird. What a great tool to teach people about birds.

Of course these cards are eco friendly as well as great looking. They are printed on card stock from sustainable forests and the batteries are mercury free. As if that weren't enough, a percentage of the profits from the sale of the cards are used to fund research and conservation programs at Cornell. They do lots of research there and they need all the help they can get.

Fly on over to to pick up the perfect anytime card for everyone in your life. Even if you don't know any bird lovers who would appreciate these cards, the educational value makes them worth sending to would be birders.

Upcycled Salt & Pepper Shakers

Mom loves it when I find cool upcycled products that use common products found all around the house. This product not only looks cool but it would make a perfect gift.

These salt and pepper shakers are made from wood, but can you guess exactly what they were before they were shakers? They were furniture legs! The pepper shaker is made from reclaimed walnut wood and the salt shaker is made from reclaimed poplar wood. The beautiful white finish on the salt shaker comes from milk paint so it's very eco friendly. Both shakers have a natural cork stopper and come in a recycled paper gift box.

This is the perfect gift for the person who has everything or for the person who just wants a great upcycled product. Head on over to to get your shake on.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Book That Changed The World

It is the 150th anniversary of the most important written in modern times. This book not only changed the world, it continues to stir up controversy in discussions and schools throughout the world.

This book should be on everyone's reading list. "On the Origin of Species" tried to solve the many questions of that mystery of mysteries - where do species originate from - and put into context what Darwin saw and experienced on his travels around the world.

Though Darwin returned home from his voyage in 1837, it took him over 20 years to document his findings, amid the demons that he silently fought. He knew this piece of work would literally push people over the edge, stirring up emotions about life and religion that did not mesh with his. He sought the truth about evolutionary biology despite his feelings for his religion, yet he very troubled with the idea that people would turn away from or even disown him for this very personal book.

The book introduced the theory that populations evolved over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. What does this mean? Mom explained it to me by looking at a population of birds.

There is variations in traits. Some birds are black, some green, etc. Not all birds can reproduce to their fullest potential because the environment cannot support unlimited growth. So let's say the black birds get eaten by cats and they tend to reproduce less often than green birds. The green birds have green bird babies because this is a genetic trait. It is a more advantageous trait to be green, which allows the birds to have more babies thereby becoming more common in the population. If this continues, all birds will be green. Pretty genius, huh?

Darwin also documented that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. This is where a lot of the controversy lies. Evolution itself is pretty controversial but the idea that everything came from a common descendant just blew people away. Mom used to talk about this a lot at the zoo because people still think humans came from apes. If that were the case, that humans evolved from apes, then apes would have been extinct when humans arose. That is not the case. Humans did not replace apes through evolution, they branched off from apes. They share a common ancestor and this is what disturbs people. Why it does I'm not sure. The ape branch kept on growing and the human branch took a different direction. That is why there are apes and humans, all primates, living today.

When "On the Origin of Species" was published, biologists quickly accepted the idea of evolution, but for many years rejected natural selection. Natural selection was the mechanism by which Darwin proposed the evolutionary process and to him they went hand in hand. The most famous evidence of natural selection were the beaks of the finches Darwin saw on the Galapagos Islands. The beak of each species is suited to its preferred food and this suggests that beak shapes evolved by natural selection. Each island is different, hence different foods are available on different islands. In order to adapt to a specific island, a finch would have a trait or traits best suited to survive and reproduce. Seed eaters need beaks large enough to break open seeds. Insect eaters don't need beaks like seed eaters since they are not breaking open insects. Some birds ate big seeds and some small, so the size of the seed determined the size of the beak. Controversial? I think not!

When Mom arrived in the Galapagos, she thought she had died and gone to heaven. Darwin had walked these same beaches, hiked over these same crags, and stumbled over the same lava fields over 170 years ago. He had seen the same birds that Mom was staring at in amazement at and it was these finches (and other species) that eventually told the story of evolution ith natural selection.

I am a direct descendant of the gray wolf. In fact, all dogs are just domesticated wolves. Hmmm. I'm domesticated? I mean, of course I am. The gray wolf still exists today, so the modern dog (me) branched out from this evolutionary tree. Darwin didn't get this one right though. He thought the diversity of dogs reflected interbreeding with several types of wild dogs. Nope. We are one species with many different breeds.

The world would be a much different place without Darwin, his research, and his writings. I'm not sure what the world would be like or what we would be saying about where we came from and how, but I'm glad that Darwin took his trip around the world. I would like to take a trip around the world and see things that no pug has ever seen. I don't want to do research or write papers though. I just want to chill out, visit with other puggies, and eat lots of great food. I suspect Darwin might have done some of these things on his trip and that this helped him do the other things he needed to do.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

GoodGuide Scanner

Mom has some serious issues. I couldn't possibly list all of them in this one post but the one that was bothering me today is her latest obsession with the GoodGuide iPhone App scanner. What is the world coming to?

Mom uses the GoodGuide app a lot when she is out shopping or just at home researching products. The app has health, environmental, and social ratings for over 62,000 food, toys, personal care & household products. This information is great to have on hand before purchasing products you use all the time. It's important to select and use products that are not harmful, either to you or to the environment. I thought this app was a great idea until today. Today I made the mistake of telling Mom that the app now has a barcode scanner. Big, big mistake. Instead of having a relaxing day watching football, I have been dodging the scanner.

After Mom updated her GoodGuide app, she decided to start scanning items from the pantry.

This light brown sugar box has a flat barcode so Mom thought it would be easy to scan. It was easy to scan, but the app did not find it. Translation - it is not in their database. This does not mean that this product isn't green, but that just hasn't made it's way into the Guide yet.

I told Mom to scan my treats next. She grabbed this delicious bag of Merrick lamb treats. My pal Joey bought these for me and they are delicious! If you haven't tried these, I suggest you put them on your Christmas list. These would make a great stocking stuffer - hint, hint.

Oh, by the way, the app did not find the lamb treats. What kind of app is this Mom? These treats must be good for me and for the environment, right? Right.

Remember these treats that I got when I was on vacation in June? Surprised that I still have them? Or surprised that the app did not find it? These treats are very delicious too but I hardly ever get any because, well, I don't know why. Hey woman, keep that box of treats out. I'm hungry and they're going to go bad before I can eat them.

Believe it or not, those two treats are the only ones I have in the pantry. That's right. I am practically treatless so Mom had to find other products to scan. She was so sure that the app would find these 'green' napkins because they are made from 80% post-consumer content. Nope. The app did not find it. What is the app thinking? These napkins are about as green as you can get if you are going to use disposable napkins. We've had these for months and it's hard to see but we've hardly used any because we use cloth napkins. These are just for parties.

As Mom was searching the pantry for products to scan, I was busy helping Dad make chili. When Mom pulled this stuff out I told her that there was no way I was going to let her put it in the chili. Stay away from our chili! She told me to relax and scanned the agave nectar. She bought this bottle at Whole Foods so the app had to find it, right? Wrong. What is going on?

Everything Amy's makes is pretty 'green' and healthy so surely the app would find this soup. Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner! The app found it and gave it an overall rating of 6.8. That's not bad. The higher the score the better the product. It scored 7.6 in the health category, 6.5 in the environment category, and 6.2 in the society category. The only downside to the soup is that it is high in sodium which is common in most canned soups. The price of convenience is negated by the price to your blood pressure. You can't have it all, Mom.

Mom was so happy that something that app found something in our house. I thought once she successfully tested the app she would go back to doing whatever it was she doing before she started scanning. The chili was almost done and I was getting ready to eat when all of a sudden I heard her call my name.

Can you tell that I was sleeping? I left the kitchen to take a quick nap before dinner and was rudely interrupted by this psycho lady holding a scanner.

You want to do what? To me? I'm not a product. The app won't find me, trust me. Go scan products in the medicine cabinet.

Have you lost your mind woman? Who do you think you're messing with? Not only did you wake me up from my nap but I'm hungry and you know how I get when I'm hungry. Go away! Scan Dad or better yet, scan yourself.

Don't make me get up and grab that iPhone out of your hand. I will put it my mouth and slobber all over it. It will be the best smelling iPhone in town when I'm through with it.

Thankfully, giving Mom the evil eye and threatening her iPhone was enough to make her leave me alone. She put the iPhone done and told me that she was done scanning. For now. I think I'm going to sleep with Dad today just in case Mom wakes up in the middle of the night with an urge to scan a pug.

Even if you don't have an iPhone, the GoodGuide offers a text-messaging application. And if you don't have text-messaging capabilities on your phone, you can visit the GoodGuide website to check on products. No matter which technology you use, the GoodGuide is a handy tool for checking out the 'greenness' of your products. New products are being added every day, so don't get discouraged it don't find the product you are looking for.