Sunday, August 30, 2009

You Could Save a Life

Some of you may remember that Mom was almost a match for someone needing a bone marrow transplant last November. You can read about it here if you are not familiar with the story. When I found out about this great opportunity to join the bone marrow registry the other day, I knew I had to let everyone know about it.

Did you know that you can get a free test kit from the national bone marrow registry? Yes, free. The kits usually cost at least $50 because the cost of testing the samples is so expensive. I'm not sure who is funding the free kits (personal donation, corporate donation), but there has never been a better time to register as a bone marrow donor.

Simply go to to get your kit. You must answer some questions on the first page in order to meet the registry requirements. You will then have to complete a donor form and on the page where you are asked for a code, enter Mya829. Note: this code is case sensitive. Once you submit the form, your registration will be processed.

You will receive your kit along with a self-addressed return envelope in which to return the samples, in about a week. The kit includes four cotton-tipped swabs (called buccal swabs) with complete instructions on how to use the swabs to take cell samples from the inside of your cheeks. Swab your cheeks and mail the samples back as soon as soon as possible because it can take up to 6 weeks to tissue type.

The is a great program but one that not many people are aware of. So many people are waiting for bone marrow transplants and there simply are not enough donors. The more donors, the more likely a match for those waiting. Not everyone is eligible to join the registry, but if you are eligible, please consider joining. You could save a life, the life of someone you know or the life of a complete stranger. Saving a life could be the most important thing you ever do.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Personal PetCast

How cool is this? Mom can get a personal petcast for me each day from Just go to and put in some information about your pet.

Dog or cat? Dog of course!

Pet's size? Hmmm. Mom chose small for this field.

Hair length? Short, but lots of it!

Pet's age? Mom chose adult because I'm not a puppy and I'm definitely not geriatric.

Pet overweight? I told Mom to select no, but according to the doctor I am overweight at 22.5 lbs.

Zip code? 60060

Pet's name? I wanted to use an alias, but Mom told me it would not be polite to use Rudy's name.

After Mom hit 'submit' I got my forecast for today and tonight. In addition to the usual information like sunrise and sunset times, temperature, and precipitation, I got a dog comfort index.

Dog Comfort Index = 3 paws

Best Time to Walk Your Dog 3PM-5PM
Mosquito Activity: Low
Best Time to Walk Your Dog 6PM-11PM
Mosquito Activity: Low

Mom clicked on the dog comfort index link and this is what it said:

Many factors impact your dog's comfort level in various weather conditions, including its hair length, age, weight and size.

For example, dogs with double coats are more likely to experience heatstroke because they retain more heat than dogs with single coats, like Poodles and terriers. Small, young, short-haired dogs are less tolerant of cold conditions than large, bulky dogs or dogs with thick coats, according to the American Animal Hospital Association.

Using a 0-5 scale, the Dog Comfort Index estimates how comfortable your dog will be outdoors in forecasted weather conditions. This may influence whether you leave your dog outside or opt to bring him/her indoors. The scale works as follows:

4-5 paws: Most Comfortable

2-3 paws: Moderately Comfortable

0-1 paws: Uncomfortable

I can be walked at almost any time today since I got three paws. I may be moderately comfortable on my walks today but it's raining and I don't like to get wet. Translation: no walks for me. Just a quick step out in the yard to do my business and then a sprint back into the house where I race by Mom who is standing with a towel in her hands.

I know that Mom knows that I cannot tolerate the heat, rain, or snow, but I like a personalized petcast just for me. I know you guys would like one too, so go check this cool tool out to see how many paws you get for today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Next Stop - Oklahoma!

By now you all know that my girlfriend Pearly Poo had emergency surgery this morning to fix her bladder. I could not believe my eyes when I read about her situation this morning on Harry's blog. I could not stop crying and I told Mom that I had to get to Oklahoma right away so that I could nurse Pearl back to health. Mom, for once, agreed that I had to go, so I am heading out right now for Oklahoma.

Mom even let me take her car. Can you believe it? I will be flying to Oklahoma with the wind between my ears. But I can't show up to Pearl's house empty handed can I? Heck no! Let's see. What would I want to eat if I just got out of surgery and was starvin like Marvin? What else? Popeye's!
I think a 10-piece will be a good start, don't you think? I am off to the drive-thru right now to pick it up. I'm going to have them put the chicken in the truck so that I don't get tempted to eat it while I'm driving. I hope Mom doesn't mind her car smelling like chicken and pug.

Rudy desperately wanted to come with but Mom said absolutely not. I told him all about Pearl and he said that he had a medical background and that he could help. He could also help with the driving and of course he really wants to get out of the house. I don't think he's ever been on a roadrip, but I guess he'll just have to wait for me at home.

Mapquest says it's going to take me almost 13 hours to get to Pearl's house, but this time is based on people driving, not pugs. I am going to put the pedal to the metal and haul you-know-what. By my calculations I should be there a little after midnight. If Pearl is asleep when I get there, I'll just sit back and count the stars in the sky knowing that the brighest star in my eyes is well on her way to a full recovery. I'm on my way Pearly Poo!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Big Houseguest!

Our big houseguest arrived yesterday morning. I'm not talking big as in famous, like a movie star. No, I'm taking big as in size. Think big like a horse. But not a horse, thankfully, but a dog. A big dog named Rudy!
Rudy is one of my best pals. I've known him since his parents rescued him about 8 years ago. Rudy is a mastiff and when he first came to live with our neighbors the Franzens, he was really skinny. He had been abused, was skittish, and very afraid. His new dad Carl, took him under his wing and trained him to perfection.

Rudy is going to be 10 next month, so he's an old guy like me. He has problems getting up after he's been lying down, so Dad has to help him get on his feet. He also has problems on our kitchen floor, so Mom put runners and rugs on the floor.

Rudy has been hanging out in the family room, where it's carpeted, but that's also where my stuffies are. Which one did Rudy grab first? Pendleton! What is it about that guy that everyone loves?

Rudy just can't get enough of Pendleton and for now Pendleton is still in one piece. I'm not sure if Pendleton will survive the week, but if I see him getting destroyed I will have Mom put him away.

Just look at Pendleton's face! Pure terror I tell you. I felt sorry for him, but what could I do? I didn't want to be the one to take Pendleton away from Rudy because I don't think he would listen to me. Rudy is very mellow and is definitely a lover, not a fighter, but I didn't want to take my chances.

Rudy wouldn't eat because he was nervous so when Mom talked to his mom this morning, she said to pour some bacon grease on his food and then he would eat. Bacon grease? Yippee! Dad is going to make bacon. Here I am in the kitchen supervising the bacon making. I didn't want anything to happen to my favorite food in the whole world. Dad and I had BLT's while Rudy ate his food.

Mom and Dad are not use to having a big dog in the house and Rudy gets into everything. He's very nosey like me as you can see. I think he was eyeing tonight's dinner in the refrigerator. Too bad there's not enough steak for Rudy because I think he would love it.

Rudy wanted to help make the BLT's but Dad didn't really need any help. My dad knows BLT's like the back of his hand and needs no help.

After we ate it was time for a nap. Rudy found a nice cool place in front of the patio doors. He is still sleeping there because I think he likes the nice cool breezes coming into the house. It's a nice cool 73 degrees - perfect pug weather.

I mostly sleep on the sofa next to Mom, but Mom decided I needed to sleep by myself. Whatever. She decided that she would take lots of pictures while we slept today. Who does that sound like? I feel like my good buddy Salinger. Can't a pug just take a nap without being bothered by a crazy woman snapping pictures? Sheesh.

I thought you might like a close-up of me sleeping. I'm dreaming about dinner and ignoring the photographer. Check out my cool white eyelashes. Chicks dig them.

Rudy is going for a walk in a little while when Dad and I eat our steaks. Rudy gets a walk every night and if he doesn't go on his specific route he gets grumpy. Have a good time Rudy, the steak is calling my name.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Honey Bees

Mom read this book last week and she really liked it. I liked it too, but I'm still afraid of all the bees in the yard. I know that they're not out to get me, but I just don't trust them. I'm not a scardey cat or anything, it's just that they sneak up behind me and pow - they're in my face.

We don't have honey bees in our yard, but if we did Mom would be really happy about it. Honey bees are quiet possibly one of the most important animals in the world. There are between 16,000 and 20,000 species of bee in the world, but only 7 make honey. This just goes to show how rare honey is, but honey is not the only reason we need bees.

The author starts the book by describing how he got involved with bees. His father brought a hive home one day and the family became beekeepers. His appreciation of the natural world was forever changed because of this event. Isn't it amazing how some people can remember in detail the turning point of their life? Mine was when Mom and Dad brought me home. It not only changed my life, it also changed theirs.

I really love this quote from the book "Honey is the culmination of what the entire earth - rock, soil, water, plant, animal - can do when everything works together." After reading this sentence I fully understand how truly organic honey really is. The fact that bees create this despite so many obstacles is nothing short of a miracle.

The honey bee is not native to the U.S. and in fact it evolved on the warm shores of the Mediterranean. Hey, that's where Mom's peeps are from. Maybe her ancestors were beekeepers!

Bees have been on Earth for more than 100 million years and honey bees have history dating back to 3,500 BC. Plants were on Earth first but when they changed their plans and added the diversity of sexual reproduction, they produced the flower. Ah, the flower. But the flowers needed something to move their pollen around. What would do that for them? Enter the bee. Along with other pollinating animals, they are responsible for the success of the flower.

Bees have very organized social structures similar to ants. There are workers, drones, and queens. The typical colony contains an average of 60,000 bees that work together to ensure the success of the colony. All worker bees are female and they make up 99% of the colony. They are also the only bees that sting and they fly up to 60 miles per day. After stinging someone, the bee dies. The barbed stinger stays in the bee, tearing out her abdomen as she flies away. How sad is that? Since this sting is a death sentence to the bee, it takes a lot to get her to sting you. She must be provoked. Leave her alone and she will leave you alone.

The drones are all male and their only job is to fertilize the queen. Rough life, huh? The poor drones are stingless and rarely come out during the day. This is discrimination I tell you!

There has always been such mystery surrounding how bees produce honey and the author details the history quite well. I don't want to give a lot away, but some of the ways people thought honey was produced are pretty bizarre. One of the coolest parts of the book was the part about how the bees communicate. The author likened it to giving directions. If Mom tells you the store is down the street, make a left, got to the stop light, make a right, and you are there, you can find the store. But how do the bees tell other bees where the flowers are? They dance. How cool is that?

Back to why we need bees. I cannot put this any better than the author when he said "So the bee is doing three things when she lands on a flower: gathering nectar, spreading pollen, and making life on our planet worth living." Just think about that for a minute. If flowers only reproduce via sexual reproduction, then bees are the ones making this possible. So without bees, no flowers. No flowers means no fruits. Fully 1/3 of all crops depend on bees for their reproduction. Honey is just a sweet byproduct the bees give us.

All of this brings me to a greater understanding of the bees role in our lives. It also makes me more aware of the seriousness of the sudden decline of bees. Since 2004, reseachers and beekeepers have been witnessing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which threatens to wipe bees out of our lives forever. CCD occurs when the workers leave the hive, which is full of honey. In some of the hardest hit areas, as many as 90% of the bee colonies have been affected. No one really knows why CCD is happening, but I just read this week that some researchers believe it could be linked to high fructose corn syrup. That stuff is truly evil.

We need bees much more than they need us. Despite the movies and our own fears, bees are not out to get us. They are simply doing the jobs they've being doing for millions of years, before we were even here. But they need our help. Pesticides kill lots of bees every year. Diseases and mites kill them too. CCD may wipe them out for good, so we need to do all we can to ensure their survival. Please do not kill bees when you see them. Plant flowers for them to feed on and pollinate. Respect them and learn about them. But most of all, be aware that their future is in our hands. We are responsible for their survival. They are depending on us, so please don't let them down.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Do You Do With Your Change?

Dad has lots of coins in jars and containers all over his office. I have no idea why he doesn't cash it all in and buy me some Popeye's with the money he would get, but the coins just sit and collect dust. When I found this program the other day, Dad was the first person I told.

What if I told you that turning in your coins for cash is good for the environment? It's true. Billed as a new form of recycling, Coinstar's program Change for our Earth hopes to raise awareness about how turning in your coins is good for Mother Earth.

I had no idea that there is an estimated $10 billion in coins sitting idle in U.S. households. $10 billion? I could buy a lot of Popeye's with that! If just 10% were cashed in, these 15 billion coins would make a huge dent in our country's coin needs. When people keep coins in their homes, new coins must be made to keep the supply of coins in circulation constant. By cashing coins in, the number of new coins that need to be produced is lowered, thus the natural resources to produce them are saved.

According to the Change for our Earth website, if 15 billion coins were reused, the following savings could be realized by avoiding primary copper production (all coins contain copper):

Water Consumption = 86 million showers
Primary Energy Consumption = energy from 4.3 million 60-watt light bulbs
Carbon Emissions = 11,262 cars off the road for one year
Waste Materials (overburden) = 5.6 million pick-up truck loads

There's a change calculator on their website so you can see how reusing change in your home can help the environment. Simply pick a container size to calculate your environmental savings. I'm not sure how much change Dad has, so I chose the 3-gallon bucket. My savings if cashed in would be: 7,771 liters of water, 153 kwh of energy consumption, and 11,993 lbs of geological waste. Wow!

Now I know what you're thinking. This is just greenwashing and it's Coinstar's way of generating business. I disagree, at least about the greenwashing. Coinstar is in the business to make money, but once you read the facts and look at the figures, it makes sense to cash in your coins. Even if you do it for free at your bank, just do it.

If you want to use Coinstar, they have machines everywhere. The closest location to our house is at a grocery store. There is a fee to use their services, but they will count your coins for free if you choose to take the value of your change in gift cards or eCertificates. You can even donate your change to a non-profit, but I don't know if you will be charged the fee for this option. I hope not because all the money should go to the non-profit.

So what are you waiting for? The average household has $90 is loose change just laying around the house. In between the sofa cushions, in the junk drawer, in the car, and in containers, change is all around you. Get searching and see what you will find. Check out to find locations near you and get your change on!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Paper Paper Clips

Everyone has to use paper clips at some point to secure papers together, so why not use an eco-friendly variety? These cool paper paper clips are made from 100% sustainable wood pulp and they are recyclable. They are even made with non-toxic colorfast dye that will not bleed.

These paper clips are really sturdy and each one holds up to 20 sheets of paper. That's a lot of paper! They will last a long time, but when they do wear out their welcome, you can put them through your paper shredder. How cool is that? Every student needs paper clips, so get these for the students in your life at

Glass Straw

I have a friend that carries a bag of plastic straws with her so that no matter where she is, she has a fresh straw with which to sip her beverage. Do you see a problem with that? A single use plastic item is a waste of resources and a waste of space. The solution? A glass straw!

The people at Glass Dharma are glass blowers by trade. They wanted to help out the environment and the glass straw was born. The biggest advantage of a glass straw is that you can re-use it again and again. The straws are made from the same type of material that Pyrex is made from, so you know they are strong and durable. With a lifetime guarantee against breakage (they'll replace them for free), what's not to love about a glass straw?

Using a glass straw also ensures that toxins don't leach into your drink. That's a big problem with plastic straws and probably one that you never even thought of. These straws can go into the microwave and the dishwasher, but never in the landfill - yeah! Made in the good old U.S.A., these straws are the perfect gift for the straw lover in your life, so head on over to to get some today.

PolyFlax Cutting Board

Dad is the cutting board king, so I have to get a couple of these for him. He will be so surprised when they show up under the Christmas tree because he will never guess where Santa bought them.

These boards are made from a combination of 100% recycled food grade plastic and flax husk. Made in the U.S.A., these boards are durable and great looking. You can even throw them in the dishwasher when you have finished chopping all those veggies.

You are never going to guess the best thing about these boards. Go ahead. See if you can figure it out before you continue reading.

What do you typically do with a cutting board when it is past it's shelf life? Toss it in the garbage, where it ends up in a landfill next to millions of other cutting boards. Yikes! Not so with this guy. These boards are part of Architec's Eco Smart Take-Back Program. Simply call the toll free number, request a freight pre-paid shipping label, and send it back for further recycling. I love it! This is a must have for everyone, whether you are just starting your green lifestyle or you've been living green for years. Check these great boards out at

Monday, August 17, 2009

The PB &J Campaign

Yummy! I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So does Mom and she eats them almost every day. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good for you and for the environment.

Check out the peanut butter and jelly that we eat. Mom usually eats it on rye bread, but occasionally she switches it up and eats it on wheat bread.

This peanut butter is so good and Mom lets me lick the knife after she finishes spreading the goodness on the bread. The jelly is made with agave instead of sugar and it is delicious.

But how could eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches be good for the environment? It's the PB & J Campaign! And since today is Meatless Monday, it is the perfect day to introduce another meatless option.

The premise behind the campaign is that any plant-based meal you eat instead of something based on meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products can have a big impact on the environment. But how? By reducing the impact of agriculture. We all know that eating a meat-based diet uses a lot of natural resources and creates a lot of waste. Animals are inefficient at converting plants into meat, milk, and eggs, so by not eating these things, we are using the maximum potential of plants.

This diagram of the flow of imputs through the human ecosystem is from the PB & J Campaign website. It shows that a lot goes into raising animals for food. It takes a lot of corn and soy to produce just one pound of beef, eggs, or milk. Since most of what goes into livestock comes out as waste, we are wasting food by trying to produce it. We are also wasting resources like fossil fuels, water, and land. Each step in the food chain requires a big layer of imputs to support it.

If we take out a layer, in this case the livestock layer, we shrink the base thus using a lot less resources to support us. Finite resources. This method of eating is cleaner all around from air, to water, to land quality. Better for us and better for the planet.

According to the PB & J Campaign website, the water it takes to produce the beef on one burger could produce peanuts for about 17 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That's food for 17 instead of just one. And the land it takes to produce that burgercould produce peanuts for 19 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These figures show how inefficient it is to raise livestock.

The PB&J Campaign is an effort of private citizens concerned about the environment. They are trying to educate the public about the environmental destruction caused by eating a meat-based diet. Their mission is to combat environmental destruction by reducing the amount of animal products people eat. The PB&J Campaign approaches positive change one meal at a time by illuminating the differences one single dining decision can make. We can do it. One peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time.

If you eat just one peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of a meat based sandwich for lunch, you will save 2.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. You will also save 133 gallons of water. Wow! And how much land do you think you'll be saving? 24 square feet will be saved from deforestation, over-grazing, and pesticide and fertilizer pollution.

These statistics are per person so imagine what all of us could do if we joined the campaign. And just think about what will happen if we don't. It's our world, yours and mine. We share it with everything that lives here, yet we make the decisions that impact everything. Let's start making better decisions today, while there's still time. Join the PB & J Campaign today at and of course, spread the word because everyone loves PB & J, don't they?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Share Your Book Memory To Donate Books

I don't read books, but Mom does. She has been a bookworm since she was a little girl - like a million years ago. She has always loved to read and believes that everyone should have access to books no matter what. When I found this program the other day and showed it to Mom, she got a big smile on her face.

First Book provides new books to children in need all year long. Believe it or not, there are a lot of children who cannot read and literacy is directly related to access to books. Kyle Zimmer is the brains behind First Book. While tutoring children at an inner city soup kitchen, she noticed the children didn't have any books. She left her job and founded First Book to address this need. First Book empowers teachers by providing the much needed books to day care center, preschools, after-school programs, and shelters. Equipped with the books, the teachers can better teach the children to love reading and learning. Now in its 20th year, First Book has delivered more than 65 million books across the U.S. and Canada.

"What Book Got You Hooked?" is the latest campaign from First Book. By inviting readers to celebrate unforgettable books from their childhood, they will provide new books to children who need them most. Simply share the memory of the books that made you the reader you are and then vote for a state to receive 50,000 new books from First Book. These new books will inspire new readers to get hooked on reading.

I'm not sure what books got Mom hooked on reading, but I've heard her mention that she loved reading Nancy Drew books. These books may have been the ones that started her down the path of lifelong reading. She still has all her Nancy Drew books and maybe one day she will take them out and read them again.

So head on over to to share your memory and to vote. Voting closes at midnight on September 30 and the results of the vote, as well as a top 50 list of books that got reader hooked, will be published on their website in October. And don't forget to check out the celebrity favorites while you're on the website. Mom really loved the book that got Marlee Matlin hooked. It was definitely one of her favorites as a young girl.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Recycled Glass Wasp Catcher

I need to order a bunch of these because we have at least 4 wasp nests in our yard. I don't want to use any chemicals to get rid of them, so this catcher is perfect because it just uses sugar water. It will also catch yellow jackets which we don't have that I'm aware of.

Mom likes this because it's made from recycled glass. She also likes the colors, so I think she is going to order all three. You'll soon see these hanging in our yard, so if you want to me like me, head on over to to get some for your yard.


This little guy claims to be the greenest way to wash clothes without using detergent. Most detergents are full of chemicals, so unless you are using a 'green' detergent, you are wearing a lot of chemicals right now. That's not good for you nor for the environment

With just one GreenWashBall, you can wash a load of laundry a day for three years. That's over 1,000 washes. That's like saving 25 bottles of laundry soap. Yikes!

According to their website, the GreenWashBall is antibacterial, hypo-allergenic, leaves clothes smelling fresh and it softens your fabric without any harmful chemicals. That's awesome! It's composed of natural ceramics contained in a plastic non-toxic sphere for washing purposes without chemical detergent. The friction of the ceramics in the GreenWash Ball and the water in the washer cause the pH level to rise which unlocks the stains. GreenWashBall can remove chemical, grease and organic stains in just one cycle. How cool is that? It can be used in all types of washing machines, so you just place it in with your laundry and it does its magic.

Lots of people swear by this little green ball, so Mom is going to try it out. No more laundry detergent means no more plastic bottles either, so not only will your laundry be clean, you'll be saving money and helping the planet. Yeah! Get yours today and start 'greening' your laundry at

Soda Bottle Bird Feeder

Mom always says that we can never have enough bird feeders. The birds don't bother me and Idon't bother them. They aren't afraid of little ole me because they know I won't hurt them, so sometimes they don't even fly away when I go out in the yard.

Even though we have several bird feeders in our yard, this one is different and because it recycles (maybe upcycles?) an everyday household item, Mom loves it.

The cast zinc adaptor converts any plastic two-litter bottle into a bird feeder. It's even squirrel-proof which is good for us because we have lots of squirrels. I hope it's chipmunk-proof too because they are always raiding the bird feeders. This great little product is also made in the U.S.A. so I give it two paws up.

This would make a great gift for you or for a fellow birder. The cold weather is just around the corner, so check out this cool feeder at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Have Been So Busy!

Everyone always asks me "Stubby, what have you been up to?" Hmmm. What have I been doing lately? I work every day, but you guys already know that. In between working and sleeping, I try to eat as much as possible. I do occasionally get out and do some fun stuff and sometimes the fun just comes to me.

Mom and Dad took me on a bike ride a couple of weeks ago at a forest preserve. Dogs are not allowed everywhere in our county, but dogs were definitely allowed at this forest preserve as you can see by this sign at the trailhead.

There is absolutely no excuse to not clean up after your dog, especially when the bags are provided for you. Mom always brings bags with, so we didn't need any of these bags.

Here's Dad hooking my buggy up to Mom's bike. I'm not sure why I always have to be hooked up to Mom, but I always am. Maybe she wants an extra hard workout, not that I add much weight. Maybe Dad doesn't want an extra hard workout. Maybe Mom thinks she will get a lot of looks, oohhs and aahhs, with me riding behind her. Yeah, that's it.

I don't go quietly into my buggy. It's a little confining and it makes me a little clastrophobic. I always try to escape before Mom zips me in, but she always pushes me back in. Thanks Mom.

Last week, Mom and Dad went to the farmer market in Grayslake. This is one of the larger ones in the area and one of the only one that starts mid afternoon. This time works best because Dad can go with to carry everything Mom buys. Dogs are allowed at the farmers market, but because I cannot walk very far, I was left at home. I was okay with this because it gave me a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep.

In addition to purchasing produce (not for me), Mom and Dad bought me some very cool treats. Check out that cool ice cream cone! I haven't eaten it yet because I'm saving it for a really hot day. Hey wait. It was really hot over the weekend. Why didn't Mom give me my ice cream cone then?

The round item is a pizza. I still have that one too, but I'm not sure why. The stick item on the left is a beef stick. I ate that as soon as Mom and Dad got home. It was delicious! I'm not sure how long it should have lasted, but I think I ate it in less than five minutes. What can I say? I am starving when I wake up from my naps. The other stick is a chicken stick. I thought maybe Mom would give me that tonight, but I was wrong. I'm not sure what she's saving it for.

This past weekend I had a house guest. My good buddy Joey spent the night with us on Saturday because his parents went to pick the kids up from sleep away camp in Wisconsin. Joey's Mom dropped him off at noon on Saturday and the fun times started right away.
Joey's house is just like mine, so he knows where everything is in my house. Here Joey is in the family room and I am deciding how I'm going to join him. Most of the time I can't even get down that one step and Mom or Dad have to carry me down. But with Joey around, I jumped down because I wanted to play.

Joey checked out my stuffies, but he never took any out to play with. Can you see him eyeing Pendleton?

Joey was a little antsy because he missed his peeps. Dad also thinks it was too quiet in our house and that Joey is not used to quiet. Hmmm. I like it quiet. I don't think I could live at Joey's house. Joey did his best to make as much noise as possible, but most of the time he just chilled out in the living room.

As Joey was chilling out, he constantly looked out the front window. I'm not sure what he was looking for, but he barked at everything that moved. Dad eventually closed the curtains, but Joey didn't seem to mind.

I did my fair share of chilling out too. I chill on the sofa, not the floor. I also don't like any dogs on the sofa with me, so Joey had to chill on the floor. He was okay with that so I didn't feel bad. Dad didn't mind having a super cute pug on his left hip and a totally cool cockapoo on his right foot. He's a really good sport.

Mom dropped Dad off at the airport this morning, ran some errands, and then came home to take me out. It was a beautiful summer day, so we spent lots of time hanging out in the yard.

Check out all these bees! This bird house thingy is on the garage side of the house. No birds have ever nested in it because it's not really tall. The house sits on a trellis that Dad built and clematis are supposed to climb the trellis but they don't cooperate. I have no idea why the bees are in the house, but they kind of scare me. I don't go by the bird house because it is outside of the yard, but the bees buzz into the yard to gather nectar, so when I see them I hit the road.

We were having a nice time outside when Mom decided to bring out my brush. No! No brushing. Shedding is what I do best! Despite my protests, Mom brushed me until I was at least ten pounds lighter. Okay, maybe not ten pounds, but I lost lots of hair. It's supposed to get down to 63 degrees tonight and I think I'm going to freeze my little butt off.

Look at all that hair! Mom said she could make another pug from all that. I doubt it Mom and anyway, why would you want to build a pug? They broke the mold when I was born and you just can't top perfection.

I couldn't stop laughing when I saw all my hair in the grass. Too bad all the birdies have already nested or they could use it. I thought about eating it because that's what I usually do just to make Mom mad, but I was on my best behavior because I thought I was getting my pizza treat tonight. Wrong!

What? No treat? After all this torture? Put it all back on me right now Mom! I going to tell the bees how mean you are and they are going to attack you.

Even this little guy doesn't know why I'm not getting my pizza treat. He's lucky he doesn't have any hair or Mom would brush him too. It's times like this I wish I was a reptile.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Greener Kleenex?

This billboard can be seen on Interstate 183 between Irving and Dallas, TX. It was put there so executives at Kimberly-Clark could see it as they drive to their offices in Dallas. The billboard not only makes a strong statement, it's also garnered enough attention to make heads spin. But has it been for nothing? Absolutely not!

You probably don't think about trees when you use a Kleenex to blow your nose or when you use toilet paper to um, well you know what you use it for. Funny how we always say "Don't want to kill anymore trees" when we reuse paper, but the same trees that produce paper used in writing and reading produce paper products used all around the house. Why don't we make this connection?

Last week, Greenpeace celebrated an agreement with Kimberly-Clark to stop the unsustainable cutting of forests to make Kleenex and other paper products. Greenpeace waged its "Kleercut" campaign five years ago, targeting Kimberly-Clark for its policies on sourcing forest products. The end of these practices is near and I couldn't be happier.

Kimberly-Clark produces an astonishing 3.7 million tons of tissue products annually. They are the largest tissue maker in the world, owning such brands as Kleenex, Scott, Viva, Cottonelle, Kotex, and Huggies brands. The problem? They use "virgin" fiber from clearcut ancient forests in the Canadian boreal to make their products. Taking "virgin" fiber to make a disposable product is a crime!

So what changes are being made? Kimberly-Clark's new policy is to use wood fiber from environmentally responsible sources. Yeah! By the end of 2011, they will stop using any forest products derived from the Canadian boreal unless that wood is Forest Stewardship Council-certified. They have also ensured the public that 40% of their North American tissue fiber is either recycled or Forest Stewardship Council-certified. These are big changes and they are definitely the right things to do at the right time.

Kimberly-Clark has been clearing Canadian boreal forests for years. Why are these forests important? Why should we care about them? Because without them we could not survive. These forests are essential in fighting climate change. Without forests, all the CO2 that is emitted would end up in the atmosphere. There is already too much CO2 in the atmosphere and it is having adverse affects on our climate. The forests are also home to wildlife like caribou, wolves, eagles, and bears. So many animals call these forests home and these animals are essential to our survival. Animals also provide ecosystem services, services vital to our survival. Without the animals, these services cannot be performed. This is another case of the domino effect - no forests=no animals=no humans. See a problem here?

I know that some of you may be saying to yourselves "Wait Stubby. What about the Naturals line of products from Scott? Aren't those green?" They are green and this was a step in the right direction by Kimberly-Clark, most likely prompted by the Greenpeace campaign. The towels are made with 60% recycled fiber and the napkins are made with 80% recycled fiber, but what about the bathroom tissue and moist wipes? Zero recycled fiber!

While creating the Naturals line was a step in the right direction, it was the smallest baby step ever. There was and is so much more Kimberly-Clark could do. It does demonstrate that they can make a high-quality tissue with recycled content, but what took them so long? And why not use recycled fiber to make all their products?

Now I personally don't use bathroom tissue, napkins, wipes, or towels, but I know people who do and some of them don't want these items made from recycled fiber because they think they won't be soft to the touch. Hmmm. This is a good point. But like Mom always tells me - you get use to what you have. Move from a 3,000 sq. ft. house into a 2,000 sq. ft house and you will get use to it. Go from eating one cup of food a day, it gets cut to one-half cup and you will get use to it. The point is that you will adjust. You will survive. And most importantly, so will the forests, the animals, and the human race.

The Naturals line is a type of semi greenwashing - getting you to buy into the greenness of the product while the parent company, Kimberly-Clark, makes most of its profits from "virgin" fiber. A little of this, a whole lot of that, and cha-ching. Don't buy into it. The level of post-consumer recycled content in these products are below recommended levels and you have options, options that will allow you to sleep good at night knowing that you are doing the right thing.

Toilet tissue made from recycled fiber is available everywhere. Brands like Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, and Marcal are a few that I see Mom bring home from the store, but you may not be able to purchase these brands where you live. You can purchase these brands via the Internet, but if there is a CVS close by, their Earth Essentials line is made from 100% recycled fiber.

I know that price is a factor when choosing products and in this economy, it is even more of an issue than it was in past. I understand that some people cannot afford to switch to 100% recycled fiber toilet tissue, but if you can, please do. And if you can only replace one roll, just one, the impact is huge. If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 470,000 trees, use 1.2 million cubic feet less landfill space, and save about 169 million gallons of water. All of this by just replacing one roll. This is a change that many people can make. Every little bit helps. It helps you and it helps me. It helps now and for the future. Mother Earth thanks you in advance for doing the right thing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cooking Green

Mom picked this book up from the library the other day and while some of the information is old to her, some of it was new and really interesting. Depending on where you're at with the greening of your lifestyle, some of the information may be very eye opening to you.

The book is very well organized and easy to read. The information is laid out so the average person (or dog) can make heads or tails of it. I personally didn't read it because I can't read. Mom read it to me and I liked it even though most of it doesn't apply to me.

At the beginning of the book there's a cook's challenge - can you pass the eco-test? Good luck! It's not as easy as it looks, but you will learn a lot from it. Keep reading and you will be amazed at what you learn.

There is a chapter on greening your kitchen zones where you will find information about how much energy your appliances use. There are also tips on what to look for in new appliances and how to keep your current appliances running at maximum efficiency. Gray text boxes appear throughout the book, to highlight importan information, and one in this chapter talked about using cloth napkins every day. Mom saw this and yelled "Right on!". She bought organic cotton napkins earlier this year and they live in a basket on the kitchen island. She even got Dad to stop using paper napkins, which wasn't easy.

There is a whole chapter on ovens and one on cooktop cooking. Lots of great information here. I couldn't believe it when Mom told me that there was an entire chapter on frying. Mom rarely eats traditionally fried food, but I make up for all that she doesn't eat. She kind of skimmed through this chapter, but her favorite quote was this: If more people stir-fried, the world would be a greener place. Um, okay. Sounds delicious. Not!

Mom was particularly interested in the chapter on cookware because she is struggling with buying new stuff. Just last week when Mom and Dad were at an antique/flea market, Dad was scouring the stands for cast iron skillets. He didn't find any like he liked, so the hunt continues.

And then there's food. From what to buy and eat, there's some of the usual ideas contained in these chapters, but Mom's favorite stuff is always bulleted:
  • Transportation creates 11% of an average U.S. household's greenhouse gases generated by food consumption.
  • Agriculture and industrial emissions from growing and harvesting account for 83% of its greenhouse gases.
  • The average distance traveled by food in the U.S is 4,000-5,000 miles.
  • Livestock are the main island source of phosphorus and nitrogen contamination of the South China Sea, contributing to biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems.
  • Meat and dairy animals not account for about 20% of all terrestrial animal biomass. Livestock's presence in vast tracts of land and its demand for feed crops also contribute to biodiversity loss; 15 out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed as in decline, with livestock identified as a culprit.
Pretty scary stuff, huh? Food travels far because of what we want to eat. We are all guilty here. Mom loves bananas, but where do you think they are grown? Thousands of miles away. Not to mention the conditions they are grown under. Yes, guilt is starting to set in and soon Mom will not be eating bananas anymore.

I'm not surprised by the damage livestock does to the world. Mom is always harping on Dad to stop eating so much meat. But who cares about what happens in the South China Sea? I do. Why? Because what happens there affects us here. We are all in this together, remember?

Okay, now for more bullet points. These come to us from the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors water and lists these numbers as the amount of water needed to create a single serving of:
  • Steak = 2,607 gallons
  • Chicken = 408 gallons
  • Milk = 65 gallons
  • Rice = 36 gallson
  • Almonds = 12 gallons
  • Lettuce = 6 gallons
  • French fries = 6 gallons
  • Tomatoes = 3 gallons
Another way to look at the numbers is this:

A plant-based diet requires 300 gallons of water per day.
A meat-based diet require more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.

Again, who cares? I do and you should too! Eating lower on the food chain requires less natural resources which is good for everyone. Over ten times the amount of water is required for a meat-based diet versus a plant-based diet. What a waste! Water is not an infinite resource so once it's gone, it's gone. We need to conserve it just as much as we do other natural resources instead of taking it for granted. We are lucky to have drinkable tap water at our fingertips since many people around the world only dream of this luxury.

What would a green book be without a chapter on waste? I sometimes think Mom is obsessed with waste because it is all around her. She knows that so much food is wasted every day in our own house, but how much is wasted around the country? The numbers are shocking.
  • Americans generate 1 pound of food waste per day for every adult and child in the country.
  • Americans throw out 27% of all food available for consumption (including food from homes, supermarkets, food service, and restaurants)
  • Just 5% of the wasted food in the USA could feed four million people per day.
  • Americans generate 30 million tons of food waste annually, or 12% of the total waste stream, and 98% of the food waste ends up in landfills (not composted).
What is wrong with us? What a waste has never been truer! We have to get our hands around these food waste issues and address them head on. What are we going to do to create less waste in our food stream?

Can you guess how the book ends? Recipes! There are both meat and non-meat recipes, so there is something for everyone. Each recipe has a green meter which gives you the green goodness, prep/cooking times, prime season, convenience, and new green basic information. Mom really liked this information because it is such a new twist on recipes. The very idea of geen cooking is based on how green the recipe is, but I'm not just talking about food here. The author even provides some personal perspective on each recipe by providing information about the ingredients, the origin of the recipe, and /or the cooking process.

I highly recommend this book, even if you think your lifestyle couldn't be greener. There is always something new to learn in every book you read, so take the time to expand your mind. And just so you don't think that a green cooking book can't possibly get any greener, I present to you the environmental benefits statement. This information is on the last page of the book and it provides lots of insight into the changes that can and are being made in book publishing.

Persus Book Group saved the following resources by printing the pages of this book on chlorine free paper made with 100% post-consumer waste:
  • 83 fully grown trees
  • 30,153 gallons of water
  • 58 million BTUs
  • 3,872 pounds of solid waste
  • 7,264 pounds of greenhouse gases
Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

The Go Plate

Every party need these. This cool plastic party tray fits right over your drink, so you can hold everything in one hand. I love it! No more fumbling with a plate and a drink in one hand while trying to pet the pug with the other. There are bumps and ridges on the underside of the opening in the middle so that cups, bottles, and cans stand in place, while the plate stays balanced.

The plate is made from RPET (recycled leftover industrial plastic from large projects) and can go right into the dishwasher to be used again and again. No more paper plates for you - yuk! It is also fully recyclable so when it no longer functions as designed, simply place it out with your curbside recycling.

Get some plates in time for that Labor Day bash at

USBCELL AA rechargable batteries

Traditional one use batteries are a thing of the past now that rechargeable batteries have made great strides with improved longevity. The only problem with rechargeable batteries? How to recharge them. Just when you thought you've seen it all, the USBCell come along!

Some really smart guy solved the recharging problem by building the charger into the battery. What a great idea! And the best part? The charger is a standardUSB port that is built right into the battery. When the battery is getting low, just pop the cap off, and put it into a USB port. I could be charging batteries right now if I had these USBCells. By the time I'm ready to go to bed, I could of had a fully charged battery.

You can recharge the batteries up to 500 times, so these are worth their weight in gold. Head on over to to get a pack of 2 batteries.

Recycled Rice Bag Storage Bin

I hear this every day from Mom "A place for everything and everything in it's place". She is not talking to me when she says it, but she is hoping that someone (Dad) hears her so that he will put his stuff away. When I found these cool storage bins, she threatened to line Dad's office with them.

Made from recycled rice bags, these study accordion-style bins are definitely eco-friendly. There are two strong attached inserts on the bottom so the big is really sturdy when it's open. There are snaps on the outside of the bin so you can close it up when you're not using it. The bin is perfect for storing all kinds of stuff like magazines, books, clothes, and even stuffies.

Mom is threatening to buy the whole lot of them, so if you want a bin, go get it today at But hurry because Mom is going to get Dad organized if it kills her!