Sunday, August 5, 2012


If we thought we had all the answers would there be any questions?  If there were no questions would there be any answers?  If there was nothing to answer, no one to answer to or nothing to answer for what would we do with our lives?  Would we seek anything?  Isn’t the act of seeking born of a series of questions?  If you wonder about anything, aren’t you questioning?  If you ponder about an idea or situation, aren’t you seeking an answer, a solution, something that makes sense?  How does it all make sense?

Have you even found yourself pondering the highs and lows in your life; the good days, the bad days; the wonderful, the not-so-wonderful relationships; the great conversations, those that went awry; etc.?  What was different? Why was it different?  Did you cause them?  Did someone else cause them?  Was it happenstance?  Do those things that are comfortable and familiar--routine, habits, home, family--have an impact?  If so, how much of an impact?  If so, is it a good impact or maybe not so good?  Do others experience the same?  How much of what we feel is influenced by others?  Just how much do others affect us?

Don’t we all want other people to like us, even sometimes admire us?  Though we might doubt ourselves, worry or hold insecurities close--even private--don’t we compensate for them in our projected personas to others?  Yet, don’t we seek security with others, identifying with them--family, friends, groups--even though we’re reluctant to be too frank about revealing the doubts we all have--our hidden selves or those things on our personal private shelf?  Are we too critical of ourselves?  Do we have more within us that we’ve failed to unleash?  We are all, of course, independent thinkers, right?  So, what matters?  How much matters?  If there is a common thread among our private selves, why do we not share it?  Do we want to know the answers?  Do we even know the questions?   Who are we if there is no one else? 

Author’s note:  It’s been a hot, sultry day in Savannah, Georgia, culminating with a glass of cold wine, some thought, and yes, mainly inquiry.  One of my recent reads was The Self Illusion, How the Social Brain Creates Identity, by Bruce Hood.  Though I can’t say Bruce sold me on the idea of self as an illusion--all things might be illusionary--, it was a good read and provided much food for thought.  In my thought processes of questionings and ponderings I fail to find any grouping of words more poignant or profound than those written centuries ago by Shakespeare , “To be or not to be, that is the question:”.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sir “Hamilton” Ivor Encounters The Small People

There’s a delicate approach to socializing a very young pup with very young children.  They’re extremely enamored with the other and the antics and frolicking about on both parts can cause some undesirable results. 

The small people are my two grandsons, about 30 months and 10 months.  Granted they are a bit young for a young pup but, if you do the dog year math Hamilton falls just between the ages of the boys.  [perfect]  Hamilton had been in his new digs for about 36 hours when the small people arrived and was doing well with the newly introduced routine.

When the boys and I entered the house Hamilton let his presence be known with a series of hardy puppy yelps.  Cooper, the eldest, in true Cooper fashion said “What id thaat?”.  I said “that’s the new puppy, Hamilton”, and Cooper excitedly responded “I want to dee him”. 

Initial encounter...
The boys were introduced to Hamilton while he was in the kennel.  They put there hands on the crate and cackled as Hamilton licked their fingers.  After sometime of crate-safe play I cuddled Hamilton on the sofa between the boys and taught them of soft petting.  Hamilton was massaged behind the ears, on his belly and, on his rump.  The boys and Hamilton had a good and new experience.  Hamilton went back to his kennel and the boys went to bed.

The morning after...
Hamilton was running about with gusto as Cooper came into the kitchen for breakfast.  Breakfast got left by the wayside as Cooper dodged, chased and had Hamilton chase him around.  When Cooper decided he wanted to hold Hamilton, he whisked Hamilton up with no forewarning.  Luckily, Charlie’s mom, Whitney was standing watch.  Whitney showed Cooper how to cuddle the puppy as I finished breakfast.

After breakfast, little Jackson and Cooper continued play with Hamilton.  Cooper was not happy when he had to leave.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fostering Sir “Hamilton” Ivor

Hamilton, (eight weeks of age), his seven litter mates and mother were rescued from a cruelty case by our local pet rescue, “Coastal Pet Rescue”.  When the summons for foster homes was broadcast I sighed because I had a visiting 16 month young Lab for the summer and the summons stated puppies “should not go to homes with other puppies so we do not risk any cross contamination”.  Luckily, the founder of the rescue contacted me directly and thought the Lab could be beneficial to the puppy. 

Anticipating the arrival...
I geared up for an extra positive relationship as I knew that within a span of two or three days little Hamilton had been whisked away from his familiar and comfortable--no matter how cruel it was--into an unknown world with foreign experiences... transportation, unfamiliar territory, prodding, probing, poking and ultimately, separation from his mother and litter mates. 

Enter Hamilton...
Hamilton arrived in grand style via volunteer chauffeur--after initial vet treatment and de-worming--with heartworm medication, flea treatment, food, crate, puppy pads, chew toys, leash and collar.  His whimpering cries echoed the pains of being separated from his mother and litter mates within the past hour. 

After initial introductions I set out to set him up thinking and knowing “I will be his introduction to a new and different life--the next phase”.  Most dogs/puppies want to please and when placed in a position/environment where the opportunity is available they will thrive.  I love a challenge and dedicating myself to a compassionate challenge is high on the list.  Conquering or ‘giving my all’ to a compassionate challenge only adds to my growth, the action is positive introspective and extrospective often creating an external pay-it-forward attitude in others.  Yes, even with the puppies!

Hamilton’s new world...
Little Hamilton showed signs of trepidation upon meeting my visiting big black lab, ‘Charlie’.  Charlie’s owner and I exchanged some banter about Hamilton’s heretofore awareness of white coats juxtaposed to the high contrast of Charlie’s black coat, further commenting on the vast size differences.  Ebony and Ivory.

Sometime after placing Hamilton in his kennel he would still whimper..  So, I took a black cloth and draped it over the top and sides of the kennel to create a den-type feel.  He then settled down and took a nap.  He didn’t eat that day but, lapped up a bit of water.

Moving towards training goals...
Potty training is one of the first goals I think of with a new puppy/dog.  Hey, we all have to go!  In my opinion this presents a great opportunity to cross train for the collar and leash.  Just before Hamilton was introduced to his kennel, he was introduced to his collar.  Yep, just put it on and let him adjust.  Each time I took him out of his kennel I would latch the leash to the collar.  We would make our trek “outside”--the word I use every time he comes out of the kennel.  The leash would stay attached until we reached his potty area. Then there’s a new word ”pot-go” to associate with ‘his business’.  Why “pot-go”?  Any term or word will do...yet, you don’t necessarily want to employ some word or phrase the pup might hear in random conversation.  That could be disastrous!  And, Hamilton is soon to be introduced to some small people who are also potty training so, I don’t want to use the same words or word phrases I will use with them.  Made up words or phrases can work great with dogs.

All puppies want to jump, chew and nip, it’s innate.  As a custodian, I desire to teach them the appropriate way to fulfill their desires without intruding upon others or breaking their spirit.  During this puppy learning phase, when available give them an alternative.  As far as jumping up on people, I employ the push-them-back, with a stern NO and give no other attention to the action.  [Remember puppies thrive on attention.]  When dealing with the early nipping stage...always have a dog toy available and teach them that the toy is good for nipping--not your hand or the leg of the small person!  This also works for the chewing phase.  When outdoors with Hamilton in the natural environment I offer a stick which fulfills his chewing need and introduces him to the game of ‘fetch the stick’.

Stay tuned to learn of Hamilton’s introduction to the small people and how he gained the title of Sir Hamilton Ivor.

I welcome all comments, especially those sharing knowledge!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I was “Made In America”

I, as most, have felt some--if not a great--impact during the past four to five years of our country’s economic decline. I started looking a bit closer at and studying the economics of the world as a whole, taking note of the happenstance elsewhere on this globe (and how we feed it). Had I been paying closer attention before, I might not have been so surprised by our declining economy. We-Americans can be so short-sighted or near-sighted--however you want to view it. Nonetheless, we are. Why? We have become a spoiled nation--yes, like spoiled children.

Spoiled children are conditioned by their environment. Their expectations are based upon what has gone before. They have no need to consider the impact their expectations have on any environment outside of theirs. They as well, expect the parent to take care of whatever needs attention, pick up the pieces, fix it. They are short-sighted, living in their world of “It’s all about ME!”

You can’t really blame the spoiled child, they’re just living what they’ve learned. You might consider blaming the parent yet, when it comes down to the nitty gritty blame has no place or is beside the point when resolution time arrives.

A child is not spoiled overnight and as a nation we have not been spoiled over year--if you will. This predicament our nation is in has been culminating for years--even decades. Somewhere back-there we lost sight of self. That seems a bit oxymoronic when speaking of one being spoiled doesn’t it? Yet, it’s actually the reverse. We as individuals have allowed our parents--the American government and corporate world--to spoil us (ie. you want this sparkle for less than a penny? Okay!) The parent of the spoiled child makes it happen ... for as long as they can ... even at times to the detriment of the child and the home. Then, somewhere down the road the spoiled child is abruptly awakened by life’s realities. [Hello!] If we want to break it down into elementary terms our nation’s economic demise started with us--the spoiled people--and grew forward, or rather backward from there.

Yes, we are the work force that undergirds the corporations (that have stayed on American soil); we are the people that make up our government yet, we are the spoiled children that have awakened to the realities of our conditioning. Sure, we partook of the incentives/sparkles paraded before us by our parents. How wonderful! Yet, how detrimental to our home, our nation, our communities, all of us. As the value of our dollar decreases in the world market, we-Americans are more to blame than anyone. And we-Americans [THE people] are the ones that can reverse what is happening. Yes, just like that.

If you haven’t been following ABC’s promotion of “Made in America” let me encourage you to do so.

This episode really had an impact upon my economical mind and bringing it home. The video may be slow to load but, is well worth your time.

I’m seeking American suppliers for all products used in my business. [Does anyone want to learn how to beat gold into leaf?] I will buy American for my home. I issue to you, as to myself--beginning a new year--with diligence, shop community, shop local, shop state, shop nation, then STOP! Don’t shop outside what our parent country and our country’s working individuals offer you . It is American jobs! For some things, it will take diligence. I'll seek it. Will you? Ask, “Was is made in the USA?” If not, pass on it.

Teach your children to seek “Made in America” labels. Teach them to ask for American made products. Don’t be a short-sighted citizen. Become the unspoiled and support yourself, your brother, you fellow American, your country, your home and it’s future. Make 2012 the year we brought it home! Buy American! Made in America!