Thursday, April 25, 2013

DOGWISE affiliate!

I am very excited to announce that both Following Pawprints and Pawsitive Places were accepted by Dogwise for their affiliate program. That means that we are eligible for an 8 percent referral fee on all sales at Dogwise linked from these blogs.

I am not so excited that, so far, I cannot figure out how to embed the links on my homepage. So, please stay tuned ... And remember us whenever you want to buy from Dogwise! It's a great company, with more than 2,000 fabulous book and A/V titles to improve your life with dogs.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"April showers ..."

Our rainy weather continues. As any dog-person knows, that means laundry and mopping goes up exponentially. We certainly can't (or shouldn't) complain; after close to two years of near drought conditions, the moisture is critical to the state and the region. What has happened at my house, however, is that nothing but red clay and pasture weeds have survived the lack of water, which makes for a nice "mess" in the yard. At least the weeds keep the clay - wet or dry - somewhat in place!

Here's a peek at what red clay looks like. As we traveled to a tennis match yesterday, the ponds, lakes and rivers in the area are simply a wet/liquid version of this. As you can imagine, the pigment is strong and, once your clothes or carpets are stained, there is little chance of ever getting it out.

Our temperatures are heading lower again today as well. Lows in the low 30s are predicted for again tonight, so we will refrain from actually putting tomatoes, peppers, herbs and strawberries in the ground for a little while longer. The dogs would love to have tomatoes and strawberries available for their personal picnics, but I don't think that would be very prudent, do you?

I do hope that spring is arriving in your part of the world. I managed to sleep through another thunderstorm last night, complete with hail. At least no tornado warning this time! We are also arriving at the end of the spring tennis season; another two weeks and we will be done. That will free up quite a bit of time to return to working with Blue, Carson and Marley on recalls and general manners. My hope is the weather will also begin to cooperate and we can spend some quality time together in the days to come. We do have a resident mockingbird in the backyard to likes to dive bomb anyone who irritates her. There have been years when she would actually sit on the fence of the run to intimidate Carson and Blue. Thankfully, that hasn't been her m.o. this year!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Remembering 9:03 a.m., April 19, 1995

Today is a day of remembrance and introspection. We remember the 168 lives lost in the Murrah Federal Building during the Oklahoma City Bombing. My son was three years old and attended day care in a high rise office building in downtown Dallas. My daughter would be born four months later, in August. Airedale Mattie Rae and Welshie Blue Monster Max lived with us in our home in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas.

We may have lived in Dallas, but our hearts broke with Oklahoma that morning. This dark day in downtown Oklahoma city changed the lives of Oklahomans - of all of America - forever.

So, today we will remember all those who have gone before. Thank you for your friendship, your readership, your support.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another Wild Oklahoma Night

I can say, without question, that Carson may be an earthquake dog, but she's no storm dog! She, along with Marley, Blue, Cara and I all slept through last night's tornado warnings sometime around midnight.

Tonight, as I watch news reports about the storms, I am thankful we are safe and our little home and community are intact. And my prayers are for all those who were in the path of one or more of last night's show of weather force.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nighttime Wanderings, Another Update

According to Earthquake Track, we have now registered 11 earthquakes since the middle of the night on Monday/early Tuesday. The strongest was 4.3 magnitude, recorded yesterday. The most recent was also the smallest, at 2.8 magnitude, recorded earlier this morning. At our house, the dogs were too busy splashing and digging in the yard to notice, if they felt them at all.

And so we go on ...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Nighttime Wanderings

So, I guess I have an earthquake detection dog. That's what I'm going with if I want to put a positive spin on Carson's escapades last night. If I want to be just totally objective, it was a heckuva a long night with Carson pacing and me trying - unsuccessfully - to get some sleep.

About 12:45 this morning, Carson started doing her circle dance in her crate. She was sleeping there because she wouldn't settle or stay put when it was time to go to bed last night. We have a deal: she stays on the bed and sleeps and all is well; she wanders and she goes to her own bed. The circling continued off-and-on (mostly on) until I took her outside at 6:45. Then, as perusing Facebook, I noticed friends in both Oklahoma City and in Tulsa commenting on earthquakes overnight and their own dogs reacting to them. Hmm. Maybe that was it ...

USA Today ran an Associate Press release this morning that reported several earthquakes confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey beginning at 1:45 a.m. All were centered northeast of Oklahoma City. A geophysicist from the USGS said three earthquakes had been confirmed, with a possible fourth under investigation. The largest was 4.3 magnitude and was centered near Luther, about 51 miles west-southwest of where we live.

Was this the cause of Carson's nighttime walkabouts? I don't know. After being at the tennis courts from 2:30 until 9 p.m., all I know is that I was tired and I didn't feel anything. I do know animals are more sensitive to these kinds of shifts that humans and I am certain my animals are more sensitive than I. Carson seemed to be the only one in our house who noticed, if that is indeed what kept her on the move all night. All I know is that I need some beauty sleep today!

7:52 pm: Latest reports say we had six total quakes today, beginning sometime after 1 am and ending just after noon, CDT. I hope tonight is calm and earthquake-free.

In the interests of learning more about Oklahoma earthquakes and their cause(s), I recently read parts of a March 26, 2013 report released by a University of Oklahoma seismologist's research which concluded that injection wells used by the oil and gas industry caused the state's largest earthquake on record. That was November 6, 2011, near Prague (OK), just over 35 miles from here. Thanks to Johnna Klukas for alerting me to updates and news reports!

According to the report, which was published in geoscience journal Geology, the quake was the largest to date resulting from injection and disposal wells. These types of wells are used to "recover oil from depleted wells or to store toxic waste fluid produced during drilling." The November 2011 quakes in Prague were on a fault line, as well as an oil field with heavy production in the 1950s and 1960s and fitted with injection wells  in the 1990s. It has been reported that more than 1,400 earthquakes occurred in Oklahoma in 2011, making it the most seismically active year on record. Even so, the state presently has no plans to limit or change injection well activity in the state. In fact, the state's official seismologist says there is no link between the wells and the increase in earthquakes. Of course, Oklahoma has a large oil and gas lobby and must protect its interests, so that comes as no surprise. I can only hope the two groups will come together at some point in the near future and proceed in the best interests of ALL Oklahomans - canines included!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rain, rain ...

It seems blasphemous to even think we have had too much rain. After close to two years of drought conditions, the ongoing showers are welcome and so very needed.

BUT, when one lives with three dogs and a yard that is more clay than grass, well, it gets old pretty quick. At least, that's my opinion.

On top of that, it hasn't even decided to stay warm yet. One day the sun is shining and the temps are in the 70s and 80s. The next day (um, that would be today) it's cloudy or overcast, breezy and cool-ish. Of course, those are usually the days when there's something planned outside. This time of year, that "something" is most often a tennis match. Today's tri-match will be somewhat chilly, I think, by the time we finish up.

That also means that all those plants Cara and I bought yesterday can't go in the ground yet. After all, the temperatures are supposed to dip into the lower 40s several nights this week. That wouldn't be good for tender tomatoes, peppers and herbs. So we will make sure they get some light - whenever the sun decides to shine - and hope for the best.

And now, back to the quadripeds. Yes, it's that digging time of year. Add that to the moisture and, well, you can just imagine how everything looks. From floors to carpets to paws and mouths, nothing is safe from our Oklahoma red clay. Sigh ...

Oddly, my non-terrier is my biggest digger. He loves to dig; he LIVES to dig! The dirt clings to his long coat and his long nails (he won't let me trim them very often) and he leaves a red stain wherever he lays on the carpet.

But how can I look at that face - in those eyes - and stay mad at him?
Could you?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Liebster Award - We've been nominated!

After our hiatus, I was excited to see a comment that Following Paw Prints had been nominated for a "Liebster Award." Of course, I had no idea what that meant, so I did a bit of research:

Best I can tell (from maybe 30 minutes of Internet searches and reading), The Liebster Award is legitimate and it's a kind of way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers, learn something about them, and spread the wealth by encouraging other people to visit their sites. Liebster is a word of German origins, and it means "sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, kind, pleasant, valued" - you get the drift. I'm not sure I actually qualify, based on those parameters, but I appreciate being nominated by The Kitty Corner just the same! The premise is to recognize new-ish bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, encouraging them to keep blogging. Well, we know I need all the support I can get, so blogger Marie has my heartfelt thanks and, while my terriers can never be called fans of "katz," they join me in appreciating the recognition.

Next, I must answer 11 questions posted by The Kitty Corner when I was nominated. I must also choose 11 people/blogs and nominate them for the Liebster Award and give them 11 questions to answer. Finally, I must provide 11 random facts about myself (I didn't see this on other sites I researched, but I'm good with it - I think!) and display the Liebster Award graphic.

Here we go!

My questions from The Kitty Corner:

  1. Describe yourself in one word. Survivor. :)
  2. If you had a time machine, would you travel to the future or to the past? I think I would travel to the past. I love history and all its twists and turns.
  3. What is your favorite city? Geez, this is a hard one. I'm not sure I can narrow it to just one, although I can give you a region (I'm pretty much a Southern girl at heart). How about five or six? Asheville (NC), Seaside (FL), Austin (TX), Charleston (SC), Seattle (WA) - my one non-southern-region vote!, Savannah (GA).
  4. Do you write more than one blog? I do. I just started a second one to share products, places, events and experiences of interest to people and their animals. You can find it at Pawsitive Places. Nothing is posted as of this writing, but it should be up and going very soon!
  5. What is your favorite time of day? Hmm. Early morning is beautiful, once I'm up and going. GETTING up and going is another story altogether!
  6. If you could have lunch with a famous person, from past or present, who would it be?  "Famous" is relative, don't you think? My famous people may seem less so to others. Regardless, I think I would like to have lunch with Danish author Karen Blixen, better known as Isak Dinesen, and author of Out of Africa.
  7. Coffee or tea? (Or neither?) Depends on the day - or, sometimes, the time of day. Coffee is always a hands-down favorite; life would be incomplete without a good glass of iced tea; and some afternoons would just not be possible without a soothing cup of Tazo Zen green tea (I work in a high school, after all!).
  8. What is your favorite flower? Tiny Johnny-jump-ups (violas) were always the first flowers of spring in my grandmother's yard. When I see them, they remind me of her and I seem to draw the first deep breath that winter is coming to a close and spring will soon follow.
  9. What do you like best about blogging? The opportunity to seemingly transcend time and space. It truly broadens my world.
  10. What is your favorite season? There is nothing more beautiful on Earth than the few precious perfect Autumn days we have here in northeastern Oklahoma.
  11. What is your favorite movie? If I had to pick just one, it would have to be the classic "Out of Africa" (see question #6!).

I think 11 random facts about myself will be harder to come up with than the answers to the above questions. What to say? What to say?

  1. Confession time: I haven't changed the weight on my driver's license in more than 20 years - shhh. Don't tell!
  2. At the moment, there are probably 12-15 started-but-not-finished books scattered throughout my house and on my iPad.
  3. I am definitely an introvert.
  4. I secretly believe my children are perfect and could rule the world if they chose to do so.
  5. I will never be able to work in all the jobs and careers that capture my interest.
  6. Becoming an empty-nester scares the heck out of me!
  7. I always wanted to be a ballerina.
  8. It would be easy for me to become a grumpy hermit.
  9. I still think of myself as an in-shape, athletic younger person. Looking in the mirror is always such a shock!
  10. Reading genre romance novels is fun; I'm a sucker for happy endings.
  11. There is so much I still want to accomplish that, at times, it totally paralyzes me.

Here are my nominees. If you don't read their blogs regularly, you really should. They're awesome!

Midwest Green
Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy
Cold Pasta & Red Wine
Hoboken or Bust
Lori Belle Love
In Pursuit of Happiness
I Have Things
Laura D'Ambrosio/Simple Wholeness
Good Faith Ranch
Marley & Lola's Border Terrier Life
Fessenden Farmstead
and, while the next link isn't officially part of my list, it's one you should support regularly. Thanks!
Welsh Terrier Rescue

Here are the questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. Coffee? Tea? Or something stronger?
  3. Is there one event or point in time you can remember that has become the directional beacon for your life in recent years? If so, what would it be?
  4. "Real" books or ebooks - and which one is currently top of your to-read list?
  5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  6. What is something you learned recently?
  7. What is the one personal care product you cannot live without?
  8. What is your favorite dream vacation or travel destination?
  9. What is your favorite time of day?
  10. What is one thing you wish you could change about your past?
  11. Do you have cable/Dish/whatever for television viewing or have you abandoned that ship? If so, what do you use these days?

Nominees, here's what you need to do next:

After accepting the nominations and thanking the nominators the following is required:
  1. List the nominator’s blog on your blogroll with a link
  2. Answer a set of 11 questions asked by the nominator
  3. Provide a list of 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 11 qualified blogs (less than 200 followers) for the Liebster Award and let them know through a post on their blog page
  5. Provide a set of 11 questions for the nominated blogs to answer
  6. Display the award on you blog!
Okay, I think everything is done now. This has been a really great experience. Thanks again, Marie and The Kitty Corner, for nominating us. Happy blogging!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hurray! We're back!

It's been a long, long time - overwhelmed with yearbook deadlines and poorly designed pages, I'm afraid. And, while some of those deadlines continue (what WAS I thinking when I decided to do a supplement this year?!), it is time to get back to what restores my soul, and that is spending time with dogs, writing about dogs and sharing our whacky experiences with others.

When I logged on, I noticed something about being nominated for a blog award for bloggers with less than 200 followers. I don't know much about it, but am going to investigate it further, make sure it's legit, all that kind of thing. And then I will let you know. Could be exciting!

So much has happened in the time we have been silent. Life never stands still, does it? I wanted to share but, as a friend of mine sagely noted, the longer one doesn't write, the easier it is to let blogging opportunities slip by. It's time to end that vicious cycle, don't you think?

One small bit of news to share: Miss Carson seems has been dependable enough to sleep in the "big girl bed" the last three nights. In a row. That's a big deal for her, to be calm and obedient enough to settle down and sleep for the night. I have noticed she doesn't move around nearly as much curled up next to me as she does when she is in her crate. I wonder why? It's a good thing, as every time she moves in her crate, I hear it. I am still conscious of her moving around on the bed, but it's soft and doesn't make noise, so not nearly as disturbing to sleep. There's no way to know how long this trend will continue but, for now, I'm thrilled to share sleeping space with her.

Stay tuned and thanks for sticking with us here.