Friday, November 28, 2008

Best in Show is a Matter of Opinion

(photo courtesy of

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Reporting on our diet, I did have too much to eat (yum!) but the good news: I had only one small slice of pumpkin pie. Given my sweet tooth that's an accomplishment. And I do plan to double up on the exercise. Kelly received a treat in her doggy bowl, but it was only turkey gravy! yay!

Speaking of dogs, after the parade we often watch parts of the National Dog Show in Philadelphia. I love seeing the different beautifully groomed breeds strut around the ring. This year, I couldn't help smile at what wins my vote for a "best in show moment." An adorable 7 month old Shih Tzu was being shown for the first time. Handlers are supposed to walk their dog away from the judge, take a little spin around the ring, and return to the judge so that he can observe the dog's structure and carriage in motion. Well, this cutie didn't want any part of it. Instead of walking along, she just plopped down with her head between her little paws and refused to budge. Dog shows are very formal, but everyone burst out laughing. I was happy to see that even the judge smiled, seemingly charmed by the pup. He finally instructed the poor handler, who was tempting the dog with liver and every trick she had up her sleeve, to pick up the dog and carry her out of the ring. The handler smiled and gave the puppy a kiss. Here is the video clip from NBC sports.

Tail's End: Don't take life too seriously. It's okay if you're always not Top Dog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving!

Pies, pies, pies, pies! Every year I get myself practically sick on seconds and thirds of ooey gooey syrupy pecan pie. So, as a measure of preventative action, I asked my mother-in-law not to make pecan pie this year. Perhaps she could whip up a nice rhubarb pie, or mincemeat--two options that wouldn't tempt me in the least.

In keeping with her diet, I'll also have to remember not to pour gravy over Kelly's dry dog food. (C'mon, tell me you haven't done this too!)

Things I'm thankful for:

My family

Good health and compassionate medical professionals to take care of us

Praying friends

Cell phones--I'm serious. I feel so thankful that I can keep in touch with my daughter and still feel like a part of her life, even though she's far away. And to know that Andy, in college, can get in touch with me any time he needs. It's such a comfort and yes, a blessing.

Books and a fleece blanket to curl up with

If you're wondering, Kelly was included up in "family"

Warmth--both physical and emotional

Green--my favorite color. Green grass, trees, mountains, Vermont, and Granny Smith apples

Baseball. I know it's a football day, but mine is a baseball family. The only hitch is that Mike is a Red Sox fan and Andy is a Yankees fan, and they're both very passionate about their teams. I refuse to play favorites.

Pecan pie. Maybe my mother-in-law will ignore my request and make it anyway.

p.s. The picture is not of Thanksgiving, but one of the tables at Kate's wedding reception. We had an elegant English tea theme. I think it came out rather pretty.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Doggy Diet

Say hello to the new, svelte Kelly!

First, I wanted to say WELCOME to all who are visiting here after reading my December Guideposts article. I'm glad you stopped by, and hope you visit often. For those who haven't seen the story, you can read The Doggy Diet here. The story is about Kelly and my struggles to lose weight. And our ultimate success, when we did it together.

As the story hits the presses, Kelly and I continue to do well on our diets. Okay, I have to admit to a few slip ups. I started sneaking her table scraps again. Just a little bit. What is it about her big, pleading eyes that turns me into a bucket of sap? Also, I figure if I'm eating something healthy, then the scraps must be healthy too, right? But deep down I know I need to stop. This is not a way to love her. As I wrote in the article, I'm showing her love when I take care of her health. And mine.

We're still walking almost every day, but it's getting cold here in New York. On a positive note, the cold helps increase our pace. A brisk walk (on one particularly chilly day this turned into a trot!) sure helps create body heat. Hopefully you will all motivate me to continue, even in the snow and ice, because I know Kelly needs it just as much as I. Just so I don't forget, here is a picture of us before. Yikes!


Since then, Kelly's lost 6 lbs, and I've lost more than 41. I'm so happy that we've come so far together. For great pictures of us "after" check out the Guideposts website. Kelly's reached her goal, but I'm still hoping to lose about 20 lbs. Can I make it through the holidays?!

Most importantly, I'd love to hear from you! How do you manage to keep off the weight and stay motivated? As we know, maintaining the loss is probably the most difficult part. What tips do you have for Kelly? I'd love to hear from you, my new friends! Oh, and Kelly says thanks for all the nice comments about her hairdo. She was so exhausted when that "after" picture was taken, because the photographer had her out running in the park. She could barely stand up on her own four feet.

Tail's End: Good habits are more fun to maintain when you're in it with a friend...or a furry friend!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Update--Pups Going Home

Time for one last look. The puppies are going home!

Free Webcam Chat at Ustream

They're bigger. They don't sleep as much as they did a few weeks ago. They bark, howl, and yap with vigor. And they're almost old enough to leave their mommy.

Nearly 4 million viewers have followed these Shiba Inu puppies, broadcast on Upstream video. The pups are so popular, one Texas hospital even shows the live video to patients. Now the puppies are going off to new homes. But the good news: Upstream is sending Web cams with the pups, so the new owners can continue broadcasting their adventures.

The pups names are Autumn, Amaya, Aymui, Aki, Akoni and Ando.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kelly's Autumn Walk, Part Two

As Kelly and I walked through the city, we came to a large church. She checked out the big, heavy doors, just in case she could get inside. We found the steps a good resting place before we continued our walk.

Tail's End: Find beauty everywhere

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Much Do I Care?

How much do I care about my teenage son away at school? According to his college, I don't care much, unless I send him one of their special pre-packaged student care packages.

A recent letter sent home to parents opened with a cheery story about two students who arrived at the campus center to pick up their care packages. "One beamed when she received her package," read the letter, "while the other, whose family had not reserved a package, immediately called her mother on her cell with a plaintive "You didn't send me a care package?" (cue the melancholy music)

I understand the concept of advertising, but I thought this was a shameless use of guilt. Moms already feel guilty enough. Imagine the parent struggling to make ends meet in addition to the high cost of tuition (topping $50,000/year at many universities) feeling like she was letting her child down, especially one away from home for the very first time.

The letter continued, "Because so many students receive care can hurt if a student is left out." They enclosed a small black and white computer print out "thinking of you" card that you could send to your child on your own, and added "Of course, (the card) would be more appreciated if it comes with food." Then they went on to list the various different packages you could purchase, increasing in size and degree of caring.

It's not that I don't believe in care packages. I think they're great. And, the school sponsored prices may even be reasonable (From an exam survival kit which includes microwave popcorn, granola bars, gummy bears and cookies for $20, to the deluxe spirit basket with Ramen noodles, Pop Tarts, oatmeal, M&Ms, chips, cookies and crackers, gourmet teas and coffees and a mug for $55.) But I hate to think of anyone feeling like they don't love their child enough because they can't send one.

I rarely send the school care packages, mainly because my kid is finicky and I know he wouldn't eat half the contents offered. But I often make my own care packages for very reasonable prices. Just don't forget you have to take into account the cost of mailing.

Making your own care packages is fun, and you can include only the foods you know your child enjoys. This can be anything from a simple box of favorite cookies (Andy's been begging for home-baked chocolate chips) to something more elaborate with several favorite treats. I generally go for a theme. When my daughter got a bad cold, I sent her a care package of tissues, cough medicine, microwavable soup and crackers. Since Andy needs a lot of quick energy for all his sports (and he isn't prone to gaining the freshman 15) I sent him a big box of candy purchased on clearance the day after Halloween. For holidays, you can send simple decorations to make the dorm room more fun, along with seasonal snacks and treats.

Those college kids need a lot of food! They also need a lot of love and support. A phone call, a letter, a hug. Maybe even a basket of goodies. No guilt.

Kelly says love like a dog: unconditionally.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kelly-cam Part One

Today Kelly is taking you along on a visual journey as we traipse along the city streets on one of our walks. See what she sees, feel the crisp autumn air, as you join us today. I always love company on my walks!

Tail's End: See the world from a different angle.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Puppies--Too Cute!

I'm going to show you something that is going to distract you from your blog-reading, your writing, your work, your chores, your daily life. It's a puppy cam with LIVE feed! Once you click on it, there's no way you can tear yourself away. My daughter Kate send me this link and I keep it open on my desk top all day long!

Online video chat by Ustream
At times the feed is off air, so if you just see a slide show, keep trying. It's worth the effort! You can watch them play, eat, and sleep--a lot. Hear them bark, cry, slurp and whine.

These are Shiba Inu puppies. I know, I never heard of the breed before either. But they're really cute and fuzzy and beautiful. I think they are about 4 or 5 weeks old now. For more information on these puppies, visit this website.

And happy viewing. I'm sorry you wont' get any work done.

Tail's End: "Happiness is a warm puppy."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cast Your Vote!

While Kelly was out exercising today, she took the opportunity to remind us all to exercise our right to vote!
(Excuse her tongue hanging out, she was tired after our long walk!)

Tail's End: Vote today!