Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Perturbed - A Pictorial Essay



(Disclosure: The camera strap did NOT touch his eye.)




I think I might have irritated Jon Farleigh with the camera today.

When I told him it was Leap Day, he curtly replied, "Then why don't you take a flying leap."

In light of this insubordination recent development, the blog will be "closed" tomorrow for a "personnel" meeting.

 See you back here on Friday. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't Fret Pet Hair

Words to live by?
This past weekend, Middle Child invited three of her friends over to work on a school project. And because none of these kids could possibly know what it's like to live in a house with lots of other kids and five pets (and who probably clean their rooms and pick up after themselves without being told), my house got cleaned.

And by cleaned I mean:

  • Two hours before the first visitor arrived, the whole family divided and conquered the "living areas." (The bedrooms were sealed shut and declared off limits.)
  • Piles of "kid" debris got relocated. (To behind closed doors/drawers.)
  • The floor got a quick once-over with the vacuum. (Leaving plenty of pet hair still drifting around.)
  • The largest flat surfaces were dusted. (What kid notices dust anyway?)
  • The guest bathroom was disinfected. (Not exactly sparkling, but at least no one would catch a disease.)
  • The Febreeze vanilla-scented oil warmer was plugged in. (Because the rug smelled like dog.)
  • The Jelly Donut-scented Yankee Candle was lit. (As a distraction.)

And it was good enough.

Except that it wasn't, because I was compelled to make a sign, saying:

"Don't Fret Pet Hair"

Ironic, considering I'm the one who's doing the fretting. :)

Why would someone fret our hair, dude?
Good question, boys. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The #1 Believable Reason My Dogs Loved 5 Percent of the Oscars

(They were asleep during the other 95 percent.)

Not because of show hosts doing dog impressions.

I so DO NOT sound like Billy Crystal when I talk like a person.

Or dogs behaving scandalously.

I'm so happy our movie won, I'd like to dance with this leg!

But because they got these excellent views of the:

Warm pajama-clad leg, attached to the hand that scratches the furry belly, attached to the dog lying upside down on the couch

Cat up to no good

Opening in the basement door (where cats who are up to no good frequently emerge)

Back porch (where shadows of dangerous things - like blowing leaves disguised as cats - are known to appear) 

And not:

A view - from behind bars - of one's BFF bedded down for the night

What is most disturbing about this view, though, is that it is not Dewi's.

(The things I do for you people. :)

Happy day-after-the-Oscars!

Friday, February 24, 2012

We've Been Blog Tagged and Pretty Soon, Will Have No Secrets Left to Tell

I like the kind of tag that doesn't require one to get up out of one's chair...or count backwards from behind a tree...or run face-first into a spider web in the dark.

I think I'm in luck. :)

So there's a game of blog tag making its way around, and we must be slow because we got tagged twice: first by Ellen at Pupperoos and next by Hawk at BrownDog CBR.

That means we're "It."

"It" blogs are required to answer the following nine (highly personal) questions (about themselves and/or pets - blogger's choice).

Here goes:

1. Describe yourself in 7(-ish) words.
  • Jon Farleigh - fluffy, serious, devoted, heart-throb, fast, tightly wound, people-lover
  • Dewi - happy, beautifully marked, vocal, energetic, snuggler, comedian, demanding
  • Me - introspective, animal nut, creative, soft-spoken, driven, family-oriented, vocabulary-challenged (all rolled up into just-plain-old not right)
2. What keeps you up at night?
  • Me - not much this week
  • Dewi - nothing, ever
  • Jon Farleigh - nothing (if crated)
    If not crated, this:  
    Lulabelle: I can't help that I'm irresistible.
3. Who would you most like to be?
  • Me - I gotta be me
  • Jon Farleigh - Jon Farleigh with thumbs
  • Dewi - Jon Farleigh's best friend
4. What are you wearing right now?
  • Me - jeans, striped shirt over a tank and flip-flops
  • Jon Farleigh - his fur and a disgruntled face
  • Dewi - his fur and a chill face
5. What scares you?
  • Me - (see below)
    sand crabs (via Panoramio)
  • Jon Farleigh - (see below) 
  • Dewi - (see below)
    Youngest Child's massager
6. The best and worst of blogging?
  • Me - Best is meeting friends. Worst is too much sitting (but yet I complain about tag).
  • Jon Farleigh & Dewi - Best is meeting friends. Worst is too much sitting.
7. Last website visited? Pupparoos

8. One thing you would change about yourself?
  • Me - I'd like to cook like Pioneer Woman.
  • Jon Farleigh - nothing 
  • Dewi - nothing
9. Slankets (aka Snuggies, Snuzzles)?  Hmmm, you mean these?

Okay, then the answer is YES! 

P.S. Blankets with sleeves are soooo NOT the same as plain blankets. Not even close.
(I might have a problem.)

* * * * *

And now, it's our turn to tag a few other blogs (who might not have been tagged yet - we can't really be sure, though). You can play if you feel like it. 

If I didn't tag you and you want to play, just say I tagged you and DO IT! :)

Have a snuggly weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Caption Winner, What Dewi REALLY Said, and a Public Service Announcement

Congratulations to Red Dog Mom, whose entry was randomly selected to win the Caption Dewi Giveaway

THANK YOU to everyone who entered (and who left a comment just for fun)!

Speaking of fun, I thought I'd share the caption entry that I think most accurately depicts Dewi's expression in the photo.

Submitted by CardiLover:


And then, for even MORE fun, I went ahead and added my own caption (which really and truly depicts Dewi's expression):

Okay, NOT!!!!!!! That's how *I* look when the prunes kick in.

NOT!!!!!!!!  I don't eat prunes. :)

Want to know something else?

Remember how on Monday my butt got frozen out in the snow?

Well, it got better. 

Know what happens when the public water person comes out to your house unannounced and (for reasons unknown to considerate man) swaps out your water meter?

Well, I'll tell you:

  • You only get to take the first half of your shower.
  • You get shampoo and soap in your eyes. 
  • You run around yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" because rinsing your face with toilet bowl water is NOT an option. 
  • You remember the jug of distilled water that you put under the kitchen counter when Herman the Aquasaur was still alive. 
  • You freeze your a** off again.
On the bright side, however, my hair was super shiny from the cold water rinse. 

Oh, and if I were you, I'd keep a jug of this good stuff handy in your bathroom. 

Always a pleasure to be of assistance.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

God, maybe you should've left a little bit of dogs lacking...

...then it wouldn't have to hurt so bad when they've gone.  - Me


I wrote the following post over three years ago, and today, October 27, 2015, I find myself - once again - sitting here heartbroken, having learned from a title in my blog reader, that my friend Sue has lost her beloved Jeffie to Leptospirosis and liver failure at the too-young age of 9. 

Why do reminders about the preciousness of life have to hurt so bad?

Sue, I am so, so sorry for your loss. May you once again find comfort in these words, when your heart is ready.


This morning when I opened my blog, I learned from an ominous title in my blogroll that Lucy B, my friend Sue at Talking Dogs for the Love of a Dog's beloved heart dog of 13 years, had died yesterday. And I was sad.

As the morning progressed, I found my thoughts drifting to two things: my (newly discovered) favorite quote about dogs and Molly, my late heart dog of 15 years. And I smiled a little inside.

So, Sue, although I am dreadfully bad at knowing what to say, I want you to know how sorry I am for your loss, and that one day soon, as the pain relinquishes its grip, I hope you will smile a little bit, too.


Thank you to another blog friend, Melissa, at Darby & Pumpkin Daily, for sharing this quote last week. It is magnificent. 

“God...sat down for a moment when the dog was finished in order to watch it... and to know that it was good, that nothing was lacking, that it could not have been made better.”

Lucy B
June 13, 1997 - February 21, 2012

Joined on October 26, 2015, by her happy canine companion in life...

2006 - 2015

I know Sue appreciates our messages of condolence. If you have time, please consider leaving one on her blog or Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I Would Order Flea and Tick Preventative from Mr. Chewy Again

I order Jon Farleigh and Dewi's flea and tick preventative online, and have been for over a year. I simply haven't been able to find it locally for the same low prices, and since we're applying it to the dogs 10 months out of the year, it's important for me to get it inexpensively.

All Online Pet Supply Stores Are NOT Created Equal

The time before last, when ordering my usual product - Frontline Plus - online, I went with a lesser known company than I had been used to - because the price was better (by at least three dollars). When I received the product, however, to my surprise (and momentary alarm), it had been shipped from the UK (in UK-version product packaging and dosing measurements) along with a letter claiming (and I paraphrase) that the US prices on this product are not competitive; therefore, in order to provide customers with the lowest price, we are providing this British version. But, rest assured it's the same product that's sold in the US - made in the same plant, by the same manufacturer - just not in the same packaging. There was also a dosage equivalency chart included, assuring me that I had indeed been shipped the correct size tubes for each dog.

After getting online and checking these claims, I did use the product on the dogs, but I was disappointed that the company didn't disclose this "substitution" up front (when I placed the order), and resolved not to order from them again. A couple bucks saved was not worth risking another "concealed" product switch.

Then Mr. Chewy Exploded on to the Online Pet Food and Supply Store Scene

(Seriously, how can one go anywhere online these days and not see Mr. Chewy's happy cartoon face? :)

And in a stroke of really great timing, in addition to a $50 coupon to offset product cost, I was offered the chance to write an honest review of Mr. Chewy's services.

So I Ordered a Six-pack of Frontline Plus

This is why I'd do it again:
  • The price was great.
    At $69.99*, this was the best price online out of all major retailers of flea and tick preventative.
    *I paid $19.99 out of pocket, after my $50 coupon was applied.
  • 1-2-day express shipping is FREE for all orders $49 and up.
    My order arrived on my front porch 24 hours after I received online order confirmation.
    Does not smell like chicken
  • I received the US-packaged product*, and it arrived in good shape (not squashed or tattered).
    *Mr. Chewy actually discloses on their site that they "only sell USA Frontline."
  • Ordering was pretty* easy.
    *I did have one little snafu on the payment information screen. Because I am a dolt and forgot to enter my card expiration date, I received an error message. Unfortunately, the error caused the promotion code ($50 coupon) I had entered to disappear, but I didn't know it until the full retail price had been applied. Since, at this point, there was no way for me to edit my order, I had to call the customer service number provided.

    The good news is that I was connected directly to a friendly representative who (after a brief inquiry about the alleged "promo" code I was using) was able to quickly apply the discount (which appeared in real time on my account) and send me on my way. 

Mr. Chewy Isn't Just About Flea and Tick Prevention

In fact, as stated on their home page, Mr. Chewy has:
"70+ brands of dog and cat food, treats and supplies...   
and prices cheaper than the store!"
They actually carry my brands of dog and cat foods (which are not available in the grocery store) at very good prices, and that, coupled with free express delivery to my door (about 65 lbs. of food, combined), IS VERY TEMPTING!

However, as tempting as it is, I live in a fairly large city and am a loyal customer of an equally competitive "mom and pop" pet food store (that gives back to animal causes in my local area), so I won't make the switch for food just yet.

If you live in a rural area or smaller city, though, and can't get your pet food locally, or only have access to expensive national chains, Mr. Chewy sounds like a fantastic resource!

Bloggers and Mr. Chewy Give Back

Use my referral code EVTK3667 when placing your first order and you'll get 10% off!

In addition, every time a first-time customer uses my code, Mr. Chewy will donate $10 (split evenly) to three animal charities:

Best Friends Animal Society
North Shore Animal League America

Pretty cool, Mr. Chewy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

How My Itchy Ear Canals Prove that I Really Like You

It snowed at my house last night. That is a BIG deal for a few reasons:

  • It's late winter in my part of Virginia and this is our first measurable snowfall. (Measurable = it at least skims the end of a ruler that's resting flush with the earth.)
  • Youngest Child's faith in Old Man Winter is restored.
  • I need closure on winter before I am emotionally ready for spring, and in my mind, winter is not complete without at least one snowfall. (I'm strange.)
  • I can now participate in the upcoming spring season, without regret. 
  • There was tremendous photo opportunity during Jon Farleigh and Dewi's snow romp this morning.

The beginnings of a snow romp. Picture quality: Meh.

So now that I've cleared that up for you, allow me to drill that last bullet point down a little deeper.

About a split second after I snapped that picture up there (despite the blinding glare from the snow), I saw the "light" (shining on my bad camera angle) and decided that (in order to get the best shots of the dogs - with which to impart cheer on my awesome readers) I'd have to get down on their level (in the snow) to take them. 

Same shot as above, different angle. Picture quality: Relatively, not bad.

Unfortunately, I was still wearing my paper-thin flannel pajama pants. 

But being the lazy determined person I am, I decided (not to risk losing the shots in order to go inside and put on some jeans, but) to just squat down as low as possible (without toppling over on my practically exposed a**). 

I'm pretty sure I made the right call.

And I didn't even topple over.

In fact, it wan't until about 129 shots later, when Jon Farleigh decided to lie down in a muddy puddle of slush and eat (most likely deer poop), that I noticed my butt was numb and I was decidedly light-headed (which is what happens when one squats down in snow with one's butt on a lower plane than one's knees, until the blood flow is completely cut off from one's brain).

Jon Farleigh (left): Having a deer popsicle
Me (behind the camera): Realizing my rear is a popsicle

So I decided it was time to take the dogs back inside the house.

And I wished (nearly as hard as one might wish for a gas station when one is driving on fumes) that my knees were 10 years younger and actually capable of hoisting my ice-chest-of-a-butt back into the upright position - so I could walk (and not crawl - with my not-waterproof camera - in my pajama pants - through the frozen slush - to my patio - where I could grab hold of a concrete wall and drag myself upright) back into my house.

The next few seconds (or minutes, I don't really know) are a blur, but somehow I managed to remember from my one physics class (or the hazardous weather section of online defensive driving school that I might have just completed) that the best way to dislodge a car (analogous to my butt, of course) from a snow bank is to "rock" it back and forth. So I planted one gloved hand in the snow for balance and proceeded to swing my frozen butt like a pendulum until its sheer momentum caused my rubbery legs to unfurl behind it. I was so elated to be standing again that I didn't even care that I'd half-mooned the driver of a passing service van.

And then I fetched the dogs and we went inside to get warm.

A little while later, as I sat down at the computer to upload all the photos I'd just taken, I became overly aware of the blood circulating in my previously frozen extremities. You when a limb gets all tingly after it's fallen asleep?

And the insides of my ears were oddly itchy.

But aren't these pictures lovely? 

You know I like you, right?

'Til tomorrow, friends!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Caption Dewi's Face (and get a shot at a 20-dollar buying spree)

Update (2/23/12): The winner is: Red Dog Mom



Yes, that's right. 

We're celebrating the opening of our blog store by giving something away: any one item worth up to US $20!
(I use the term spree loosely. ;)

All you have to do to enter is leave your best caption for this photo!
(The winner will be selected by random drawing.)

But wait! Want two entries into the drawing? Follow us! Whether by RSS subscription, Google Friend Connect, Facebook or Twitter, just one follow will do. 

Follow us already? Thank you! All you need to do to get your second entry is tell us you're already following.

This contest ends at 12:01 a.m. EST next Thursday, Feb. 23.
(I'll announce the winner later the same day.)

Good luck!

What is Dewi trying to say?

Please use the following form to record your contest entry(ies). 
(Note: Rafflecopter helps me keep track of all the entries and will generate the random winning number.) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to Add a Row of Social Media Icons in Blogger (and possibly other platforms)

Last week I promised I'd share how I added those coffee (or hot beverage for the non-coffee drinkers) cup social icons to my sidebar. No one should have to spend the amount of time I did (searching for directions and subsequently screwing them up a hundred times) to do this on her own blog. It sucked.

So anyway, before I get started, I need to let you know some basic things I'm assuming:

  • You aren't terrified of HTML. You don't have to know how to write code, but if you need a muscle relaxer and a brown paper bag to breathe into just looking at code, you should probably avoid this like the plague take a pass.
  • You've found and downloaded to your computer the social icons that you'll be using. If you haven't, I'd start by googling "social media icons". There are hundreds of free ones out there, in every shape, size and design. They're simply image files that you'll later be adding links to. I got my coffee cups here.
  • You know the URLs of the social media accounts you'll be linking to. (Hover over my coffee cups and you'll see example URLs.) If you don't have an RSS URL for your blog feed, you'll need to go to and create (burn) one.
  • You know how to add a gadget to your blog.
  • You have room on your blog to add a row of social icons. Hint: My coffee cups would be too large in a more narrow sidebar.

Before you start, open (in two separate windows):

Note: This procedure is written for Blogger; however, the basic mechanics might be adaptable to other blogging platforms.
  • A new post in Blogger (the screen where you type your post). Open the Compose (not HTML) editor. 
  • The Layout editor in Blogger (the screen where you can add gadgets and move things around). (Design > Layout)

In a nutshell: You will be creating a "dummy" post in Blogger, in which you'll insert your icon images and then link them to their corresponding URLs. Once that's done, you'll copy and paste all the HTML into a blog gadget, and then you'll have social icons on your blog. Yay! 

Unfortunately, it took me several hours to get my images to line up correctly. Don't be like me. 

From the New Post editor:
  1. Insert your first icon image (original size, left justified*, make sure the "open link in new window" box is checked).
    Note: Use left if you're adding icons to a right sidebar (like mine). Use right if your sidebar is on the left.
  2. Highlight the image and add a link. (You might need to click the Link button twice to trigger the add link pop-up box.)
  3. Add the URL that matches the icon. (Ex: If the icon is for Facebook, add your Facebook URL.)
  4. Without spacing, insert your next icon image.
  5. Repeat Steps 2-3.
  6. Repeat Steps 4-5 for each additional icon you are adding in the same row.
    Result: You should see all your icons (however, they will most likely not be lined up correctly - don't worry about this yet!).
  7. Switch to the HTML editor. (You will need to move/delete some code to get the icons to line up in a flush horizontal line.)

    You need to get your code to look like this (click to enlarge):

    There should only be one set of justification tags (the code circled in blue) around all three images. Your top and bottom tags should look exactly like my example here. (To make the code easier to see, I inserted white space around the three different image examples.)
    Reminder: In the top tag, "left" can be changed to "right" or "center," depending on how you want the row justified.

    DELETE ALL THE EXTRA JUSTIFICATION TAGS (in between individual image code). Hint: Use Ctrl + F keys to search for the extra code. (Copy the code below when searching, if needed.)

    <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">



    The only code (hyperlink tags) that should enclose each of your images is highlighted in yellow in the screen shot above. 
  8. Switch out of the HTML editor (back to Compose) to check your image spacing.
    Result: Your icons should be flush horizontally, like this.

    If they are not, go back to Step 7 and recheck your code against my example.
  9. Switch back to the HTML editor and copy all of the code.
  10. Paste the code into a new HTML/JavaScript gadget window (click Add a Gadget from the Layout screen).
    Note: You can add a title if you like.

    Click SAVE.
    Click Preview, and hopefully, your new icons will show up beautifully on your blog!
    Drag your gadget to where you want it (hopefully, at the top of the sidebar).
    Click Save arrangement and you're all done!
This process really isn't complicated, but until you've had practice getting images to line up in a row using an HTML editor, the trial and error can make you want to pull your hair out!

For those who've stuck around to the end, I hope this helps! And if you wind up adding icons to your own blog once you leave here, please come back and say so in the comments so I can go look!


Coming soon (because this post is quite long enough): How to add a Pin it button to individual posts in Blogger and why I decided to join Pinterest!


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