Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015



It's Veterans Day. 
Southern Fried Pugs mom here. 
Some of you know that I was in the Air Force. I am not a combat veteran. I only went overseas for three weeks to support a training mission to Egypt. It was an awesome experience. 

I served for 10 years. The Air Force helped shape me. It helped change me from an idealistic, naive, somewhat entitled, privileged white girl to a more focused, more disciplined woman. 

I still have a spirit of idealism, but it is tempered with reality. I learned balance (ok, still learning). 
I learned leadership, what good leadership looks like and what an absence of leadership looks like. 
I learned how to work as part of a team. 
I learned how to follow. That wasn't easy. 
I learned when to follow and when to lead. 
I learned about how to be a good supervisor, how to motivate people, different kinds of people. 
I learned that if you take care of your people first, they take care of their job which lets you do your job. I learned that you have to be flexible and adaptable, yet prepared for anything.

I am proud to have served my country. 

There are serious problems and mistakes have been made, but this is my nation. I am not a blind patriot. I am not a mindless flag waver. I am a person who gave 10 years of my life in service to my country. 
I would do it again. I am one who still serves, just in a different capacity. 
I am not posting this to ask for thanks for me on Veterans Day. Most veterans will be a little embarrassed when you do thank them. 
 
In 2015, we've come a long way in appreciating veterans and their service. 
I ask that you look around you for other veterans who blend in. 
Don't just thank a vet on Veterans Day. 
Thank them all year long. 


Senior Airman Ramsey, circa 1997
 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A fellow blogger in need

When you join the blogging community, you start building a network. You get a comment on your blog so you go visit that blog. Then you click on a link that another blogger is following. Pretty soon, you're connected to blogs all over.

That's how I found Our Forest Haven. Naturally, there was a pug connection. Donna wrote so lovingly of her home in the forest and her adorable pug Douglas. We became blog friends. She has inspired me to find my own forest haven somewhere. Somewhere warmer than Canada though.

Donna and her husband have a farm in Canada for misfit animals, as she calls them. A blind ram named Braveheart. A pony no one wanted. Prairie dogs that people abandoned. For the last few years, Donna has been suffering with health problems. She's had a few surgeries and been on some medications that help, then knock her down. Then she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Kevin had been doing all the work with the sheep and goats with help from Jim. Before she got so sick, Donna was right there with them. It had been killing her to have to stay in bed, but that's what illnesses do to you.

Last week, Donna lost her husband to a heart attack. It's just hard to process this, and it's not even my life. I read about it on Calamity Acres, thanks to Mary Ann.

One of Donna's friend's has set up a Go Fund Me for her. If you can, please consider a donation to a fellow blogger. If you can't, maybe you can share it on Twitter or Facebook?

Let's surround her with love as much as we can. We may not be near her physically, but we can send her love, peace and comfort. We can wrap her in a blanket of pug hugs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

We're ok!

Fortunately, the hurricane moved east! 
That still left us with the nor'easter (kind of like a hurricane in that it's a system instead of a storm that rolls in and out, but it's not tropical) to deal with. 
We are still dealing with high tides and winds, but overall, we're ok. 
We slept through most of it. 
It's super soggy here, there's branches to clean up, 
but it could have been SOOOO much worse. 


Any good juju you were sending our way, please redirect to South Carolina. They are dealing with catastrophic floods. We are used to floods. It's called Tidewater here for a reason. 
This is a once in 1000 years flood for them. 
We pray that all the people and animals can get to safe, warm and dry places. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog post…

We had yet another bit of mom's New York adventure scheduled for today. However, the weather has other plans.
We have not one but two nasty weather systems in our future. First, a nor'easter is bringing us lots of rain and storms. Two, a little hurricane called Joaquin may cause us some trouble. 
It's too early to tell where Joaquin will make landfall, but this is what it looks like as of 6 pm on Sept 30. No bueno.

Yes, Norfolk (where we live) is right in the bullseye. 
Our local weather team is predicting a poopy outcome overall. 

But we'll see. Who knows what will happen in a few days time? 
In the meantime, our supplies have been updated. We have oodles of potty pads in store. We are as ready as we can be. Think good thoughts for us and our city. The biggest impact will likely be damage from falling trees since the ground is saturated from lots and lots of rain. That could mean power outages and damage to buildings. 
It's the price we pay for living near the wild and wonderful Atlantic.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Next stop, Central Park, Apple Store and the Library

The Met is right next to Central Park. Mom got lunch at a falafel cart (so NYC) and ate it in the park. Then a stroll through some of the park. 
 The reservoir
 The APPLE STORE! MECCA FOR APPLE NERDS! It's a glass cube on top.
 You take a windy ramp down into the actual store (on the left). No time (or money) to visit. 
 The Plaza! Did not see any pugs. 
 Practice, practice, practice did not get her to Carnegie Hall. It was a car! Comparatively speaking, it's a small building for such a huge piece of history. 
 This is the New York Public Library. Mom knew better than to even step foot inside. All those books? She'd never come out. 

Mom knew better than to pose in front of Patience. Fortitude is more her speed. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mom had basically one full day in NYC. First stop, the Egyptian wing of the Met. Unbelievable.
Mom at the beginning of the Egyptian wing. 
This is the temple at Dendur. It was moved from Egypt, stone by stone. It was in an area that would become flooded after building a dam in the 1960s. 
 Four statues of the Goddess Sakhmet
 Statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III

 Graffiti! Can you believe that people vandalized this ancient wonder? 


 The Sphinx of Hatshepsut  Hatshepsut was a female Pharaoh. This statue is made of granite and was smashed into pieces. The archaeologists put it back together again. Simply amazing. 

Outside the museum

If you ever get a chance to visit the Met, do it. It's donation based (which is great for people on a budget). If you are a history or art nerd, you can spend a lifetime in there. Mom only got about an hour, but it was worth it. If you can't make it to NYC, visit the website. Much better pictures than mom's and fascinating facts. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

U2 in NYC!

Part one of more than 100 pictures in 2 days! We promise not to bore you with all of them. 

In July, mom abandoned us to go to New York to see a concert. Can you believe it? 
Obligatory bathroom selfie
She took Amtrak (which was so much nicer than flying although it took a lot longer). She got two nights free in a swanky hotel in Chelsea, courtesy of our vet bills. She uses this one credit card for our vet visits which earns her points. Enough points=free nights! 
It looks like magazine.  
Madison Square Garden! 
 Some Irish band
 Yup. She was that close. 




 Outside the Cambria Suites. Two thumbs up! 

 The hotel was in the Flower District. 
A block from a subway stop, about 7 blocks from Madison Square Garden. 

If you are *actually* interested, you can see mom about the 3 minute mark in this video. Look for the hot pink shirt on the right side of the screen near the stage. That's her! 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

One year gone

Tomorrow, it will be one year since Isabelle left us. 

It's been a really hard year. For a lot of different reasons. 
Don't worry though. 
We pugs are pretty healthy. 
The house is still standing. 
Mom still has a job that pays for our food. 

In the good column, mom did go to New York for two days to see U2! That was amazing.

Our aunt Mandy moved from Nebraska to Georgia this summer. Not exactly next door, but a heck of a lot closer than Nebraska. We went to see her over Labor Day. 
We plan to go again for Thanksgiving too. 

And mom's planning a trip to Texas for Christmas. It's been four years since we've seen our grandma. None of us are getting any younger. 

Mom's been too depressed to blog much. Or do much of anything really. If your human is sleeping more than usual or feeling several degrees below blah, take them to the human vet. It may take a while to find a medication that helps, but it's important to keep trying. There is hope. 

Sometimes, we have to figure out a new normal. When your routine is changed forever, like two dog bowls instead of three, you have to find a new way to be. It can be hard, but you have to try. 
So we are trying.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Birthday bacon!

It's supposed to be the shape of an 8. 

First attempt at Periscope!
video

Happy birthday to us!

We are 8 today! 
Officially joining the ranks of senior pugs. 
There will be bacon and steak this weekend! Stay tuned for more pictures! 
Way back when we were babies!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Butterfly release

It was an eventful animal week for mom. Normally, she stays in her office and crunches numbers. 
One of mom's co-workers raises butterflies. He gave two cocoons to some other coworkers. One of them was out when her butterfly emerged, so mom got to help with the release. 


This is a swallowtail butterfly. Butterflies are important because they help pollinate flowers. 

After it emerged from the cocoon, she waited an hour so that the wings could dry.



Then she took the butterflies outside to the nearest bush with flowers. This provides a food source. 
This butterfly flapped its wings a few times, then flew away. 

This one hung out for a little while longer, exploring the nandina bush. 
Yay for butterflies!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Baby Ducks!

This week, mom got called in to take care of some baby ducks in a city fountain. Now, this isn't really her job, but let's just say that when the mayor's office calls, you jump into action. Or lose your job. :(

Turns out, the ducklings did not need rescuing. Which mom found out after catching nine ducklings in the fountain.

Oh well, she got to play in the fountain on a hot day, and she got to hold baby ducks!



They are still in the fountain with their mom. 
Hopefully, they'll stay there until they are big enough to fly away. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hurricane season starts tomorrow!

It's been a while since we've posted our hurricane preparedness tips. We take emergency planning pretty seriously around here. The floods in Texas and Oklahoma this month remind us that emergencies can happen any time.

Our Atlantic hurricane forecast is for a mild season. No matter what the hurricane outlook says, it only takes one storm to do some damage. And it might not even be a hurricane!
So here are some tips that we've found helpful.

Pet tips
  • Stock up on toys, bones, and chews to keep your dogs occupied. If they are active dogs who play outside a lot, they are going to be out of luck during a storm. If you have stairs, toss a toy up and down to exercise your dog. 

  • Get potty pads and teach your dog to use them now. During Irene, the wind was blowing so hard that the pugs couldn’t even go outside for 12 hours. You can’t ask a dog to hold it forever, and potty pads will save your floors and sanity! Most dogs figure them out right away, but some dogs will need to learn how to use them. Especially those dogs who are so well potty trained that they never go in the house. (Not mine :D) Teach your dog to use them by taking a potty pad outside first. Lay it on the ground near a favorite potty spot. Reward your dog when they use it (cheerios are a fave). Eventually bring the pad inside, again rewarding them when they use it. Keep their memory fresh once a month or so by breaking one out. Your dog will thank you.

  • Remember to have water and food for them, too. Big dogs will probably need the same amount of water as a human (1 gal per day), small dogs less. Grab some extra food before the storm comes so you won’t have to worry about running out. It’s not like you won’t eventually use it, just keep an extra bag on hand. If you use a refrigerated or frozen food, have a back up in case the power goes out. 

  • Stock up on kitty litter, too. Or bunny litter or hamster bedding, etc. The last thing you want to be worrying about after a storm is having to go to the store for litter. And if your power goes out, your AC goes with it. Hot, humid, dirty kitty litter is not pleasant so you’ll probably change it more often.

  • After the storm is over, do a little recon of your yard first. Don’t just open your door and let the dogs run. During Irene, part of our fence came down and a nest of baby squirrels landed on my deck. Who knows what will land in your yard! You don’t want to have to make a dash to the ER vet on top of everything else. Check for the obvious stuff like a fence falling down, but look for other things like broken glass (flower pots or bottles or windows) or debris from buildings that could have nails sticking out or even critters that may have taken shelter in your yard.

  • Identify your pet! Get them micro-chipped already. Keep that micro-chip information up to date. Have you moved, changed phone numbers? Update. Use your cell phone number instead of your house number (if you even still have one) on the contact info. If you have to evacuate, calling your house will do no good. Put tags on your pet’s collar with your name and cell phone number. You can get collars with that info embroidered on if jingling tags bug your pet. Do this for all your pets. Our cats are strictly indoor, but what happens if a window breaks and kitty runs outside? Identification like micro-chips, collars and tags will go a long way in getting your baby back home.

  • Many cities still do not have a pet shelter. So if you must evacuate, you will need to find a place for your pet. Those pet friendly hotels fill up fast, too. Use an app like DogGoes to find pet friendly hotels, then call ahead to double check and make a reservation!
  • Check your first aid kit to make sure you have supplies. Bandages for injuries, Benadryl for allergic reactions, etc. The Whole Dog Journal had a great article on on what to have in a first aid kit in the May 2015 edition. 

Water for drinking and for cleaning
  • FEMA says to have 1 gallon of water per person, per day. (Don’t forget your pets!) But some people need more. Kids, nursing moms, and people who are out in hot temps all need more water. Have a minimum of a gallon, but think about more if you need it. You can always use the water later if you need to.

  • And have water on hand for cleaning. If the water goes out, how are you going to clean yourself? Or flush the toilet? Have some extra water on hand for that. Fill your bathtub or washing machine with water to help flush. If you think the dirty kitty litter is bad, wait for the unflushed toilet. 

Kids (and adults honestly)
  • Have some non-electronic activities on hand. What happens if the power or cable or internet goes out? When the battery on the iPad runs out, what are you going to do with that kid? Break out an old-fashioned book or crayons or a board game. Have something that doesn’t require electricity or internet. Card games are fun but can you remember the rules for rummy without googling? Yeah, me either. Days get really long without electricity and you can only nap so much. Have something for the adults to do, too. Sew up that pile of ripped up stuffies!

House stuff
  • Take pictures of your house (or car or apartment) before the storm. These will be helpful if there is damage later, you can show that yes, you did have a second story! Upload your pictures to a photo storage website like Flickr or Photobucket. That way, if your camera or computer are damaged, you’ll still have a record. That will make your insurance claims easier.
  • Call your insurance company to check on coverage. Many companies have implemented a separate wind policy. That's important for hurricanes/tropical storms and tornadoes. Flood insurance typically has a 30 day waiting period. If you think the government will help you out, don't count on it. There are many things that have to happen before federal assistance will be available. Even then, 2.5 years after Sandy, people who DID get federal assistance are still waiting for help. If you aren't in a flood zone, your coverage is pretty cheap. 
  • Use cloud storage for other important info, too. Insurance documents, all those important papers you need. Make sure you check the security and privacy settings on your storage system though. You don’t want to upload your birth certificate to Flickr and make it public. Don’t forget your pet’s papers, too. Last year in North Carolina, pets were evacuated to a shelter (that turned out to be bat infested!) but some owners couldn’t prove that they had the rabies vaccine. Those poor animals stayed in quarantine in a shelter for six months. 
  • Use cloud storage to store stuff like serial numbers on that plasma TV or spendy computer. If you’re a nerd like me, you have a spreadsheet with data and scanned receipts attached. If you aren’t a nerd, scan the receipt and serial number, upload it to DropBox and relax. Seriously, no insurance company will even start to reimburse you without proof of purchase.
  • Take cleaned out milk jugs, water or soda bottles and fill ½ to 2/3 with water and freeze. The more cold stuff in your freezer, the longer it will take for food to thaw if your power goes out. Plus when the water thaws, you have more drinking water. You can also fill Ziploc plastic bags with ice cubes. When they melt, no mess.
  • If you’re super prepared, take the time now to check your kit. Did you buy that peanut butter and tuna last year? Maybe it’s time to rotate that out and get some fresh stuff.
  • Haul the generator out of the shed and start it. Don’t wait until right before the storm. Check your gas, too. Add fuel stabilizers like Sta-bil or Sea Foam to keep the gas from going bad.

Food you can eat without power
  • Peanut butter
  • Tuna or other canned meat
  • Crackers and bread (don’t get the salty kind)
  • Cereal
  • Granola, cereal or protein bars
  • Canned fruits and vegetables (make sure you have a hand held can opener, too!)
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruits don’t require refrigeration usually but they will go bad eventually. Apples and pears last longer than bananas.
  • Canned juices
  • Drink mixes (like Gatorade or Pedialyte for the kids)
  • Shelf stable milk (milk that doesn’t require refrigeration). Some coconut and almond milks are shelf stable for storage (may need refrigeration after opening)

Other stuff it’s good to have
  • Baby wipes for hygiene
  • Charcoal and lighter fluid for grilling (outside, of course)
  • Extra paper towels and toilet paper
  • Disposable products for eating (paper plates, plastic utensils and cups)
  • Extra trash bags for all those disposable products
  • Camp stove (powered by propane)
  • Camping coffee pot (you do not want to be uncaffeinated!)
  • Crank radio (the kind you crank to provide power. Bonus, get the kids to crank it!) My radio has a solar charging cell, cell phone charger, NOAA weather radar (the emergency alerts), AM/FM and a flashlight. Your local radio stations will have up to date information on shelters, closures and problems. 
  • Flashlights and battery operated lanterns- flashlights are a pain to try to read with. A lantern is much easier to use when you need both hands for cooking, playing a game, etc. And don’t count on that flashlight app on your phone. Save your phone battery for calls, texts, updating your Facebook status.
  • Be careful with propane lanterns inside. It’s one thing to use them when you’re camping outdoors, and another to use them inside a shut up house. Stick with battery or crank ones for safety.
  • Sturdy shoes- you may live in flip flops all summer, but you really need something sturdier after a storm.
  • Tarps or heavy plastic in case a window breaks or the roof springs a leak. 

Don’t be overwhelmed with prepping for an emergency. Figure out what you want to stock in your kit, then buy a little every week. An extra bag of kitty litter here, an extra jar of peanut butter there. Shop sales for batteries, bottled water and other supplies. Start working on your plan now and you won’t be one of those crazy people in the stores right before the storm.

Most important, make friends with your neighbors now. You know, the ones who will have the generator or chain saw. The ones you will need when the power is out or a giant tree fell in your yard. Your neighbors will be more inclined to share and be helpful if you start building a relationship now. And that relationship will bring you more rewards than just some help during a storm.

Ready.gov is full of great information. There are sections for people, pets and kit preparation. 

Let's hope you never need these supplies, but holy pug, will you be grateful to have them if you do need them.

Do you have any tips to add?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So much work

This is what mom has been working on for weeks! This really challenged her sewing skills. 
She had to remake pieces of this several times. 
Including a revision to the belt that made it smaller after this picture. 
But it's done!


Gampy, be on the look out for a shih tzu named Leo at a Cardinals game in June!