Dog Sausage Granola

Skull & Crossbones 5Never, I repeat never prepare your dog’s food while you’re also making your own. Yesterday, as I stumbled out into the predawn darkness, I decided a bowl of granola would hit the spot. It wasn’t long before my faithful companion (dog – too early for husband at this point) joined me. Tail wagging and a big grin on her face, Lucy indicated that she would like some granola too.

Now, if you’ve read any of the Dog Tales on this blog, you’ll know that my dog is quite spoiled. Since my children are grown and not very cuddly anymore, Lucy fills the missing baby void, and gets plenty of attention. But even I know better than to feed granola to a dog, right? I feed her sausage instead!

Alright, I know, before anyone looks down their nose, let me say that its DOG sausage, completely safe and nutritious for pets. You simply chop, grate or crumble onto dry dog food and instantly feel better about making them eat the boring stuff.

Here’s the problem; in my sleep fuddled state, the bowl of granola looked very similar to the bowl of dog food. I’m sure you know what happened next. Dog sausage granola anyone? Just add milk and . . . eeew. I do wish I’d taken a picture, but I was too annoyed at the time so, since I have no desire to replicate this culinary fiasco, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Picture it – Quaker Honey and Almond Granola, lightly seasoned with piquant shreds of Natural Balance Dog Food Roll. Yummm. Maybe I’ll start a cooking blog.

Get Paid For Writing!

 

chat my blog
Hi all!

I’ve had lots of people asking  about the online websites I’ve been writing for lately, so I thought I’d do a quick rundown. I’ve been surprised by the number of great sites available to freelance writers. These services match writers or sellers, with buyers looking for blog posts, website content etc., then take a small commission as their fee.

Aside from the usual learning curve when beginning something like this, I’ve had a great time while earning extra cash. At the end of this post I’ll include a list of the most popular freelance websites. I haven’t used them all, but I’ll tell you about those I’m familiar with.

Freelancer.com – I started out with a site called Freelancer. For some reason I could never get going with this one. The pay was minimal, and a couple of people stiffed me in spite of that. I know at least one person who really loves this site, so it works for some people, just not for me.

Postloop.com – This site pays writers for posting on other people’s blogs. I had trouble getting signed up for this one, so it didn’t work for me either, although it sounded like a fun way to earn dollar$.

Fiverr.com This is my favorite site so far – and no they’re not paying me to say that. On Fiverr you create an account and propose to do something for five dollars. This is a fun site to peruse whether you’re serious about selling or not. There’s a wide variety of categories and people are very creative with their business ideas.

As for writing – My account says I’ll write 300 words for a blog or website. I get $5.00 for each “gig” I sell – well actually $4.00 after Fiver takes their cut. After you get established, you can offer “extras” such as an express delivery for an extra fee, or you can charge more for larger jobs etc. My husband has gotten into it too. He sells radio spots, and offers to post on people’s blogs. Fiverr operates on the pay pal system and I haven’t had a problem transferring my earnings so far.

This has been a lot of fun. Business is brisk and I’ve even had to turn people away when I’m overbooked. Right now I write blog posts for a realtor and a travel agent, and also write scripts for a producer who’s creating a video Wikipedia. I’ve written about everything from  pets, to the benefits of drinking water, and bounce houses. I have re-written a resume, a job proposal, and a financial planner’s About Us page, and never know what will come up next. One of the best things about this job is the constant variety.

The following are some of the more popular sites. Check them out if you want to GET PAID for writing!

• Fiverup
• Gigbucks
• Zeerk SEO Clerks
• Ten Bux
• Fittytown
• Dollar3
• Twentyville
• Tenner
• Guru

I’d love to hear  people’s experiences with these or other sites. Let me know what works for you!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/rare-medium/

Good Samaritan @ Smith’s Pharmacy

thanksWell, I’m back from the twilight zone. I’m not sure if anyone will ever see this because my readership has tanked due to my self-imposed blog fast, but I hope someone does because this is a great story. It’ll make you happy!

My 24-year-old daughter Josie is a caretaker, she has a nurturing heart and has always been the listening ear/shoulder to cry on for her brothers and anyone else who‘s singing the blues. As of now she has a job taking care of Cindy, a handicapped individual, who though smart as a whip is sadly, paralyzed.

My daughter’s job is to care for Cindy’s needs and make her as comfortable as possible. They have a great time visiting museums and movie theaters, the zoo and the aquarium, but it’s not always fun and games. Jo also drives her to doctors appointments, takes her shopping, styles her hair and even feeds her. Needless to say, this is a very special relationship.

About a week ago my daughter and her charge were at a pharmacy waiting to pick up some medication. It had been a long day and Cindy was hungry. Josie bought some yogurt and proceeded to feed it to her. After a few minutes a nattily dressed older gentleman came over and seemed to be watching them.

“Is this a mother daughter relationship,” he said.

My daughter, not sure what to make of him said, “No.”

“Are you sisters?”

“We’re not. This is Cindy and I’m her caretaker.”

“Well,” he continued, “will you two do something for me?”

Radar on full alert now Josie hesitated, and watched as the man reached into his pocket.  He pulled out his wallet, and proceeded to hand them a $100 dollar bill.

“I’d like you two to have a day out on me.“

Mouth hanging open, my daughter tried to give it back to him and finally stuttered out a thank you. The man walked away before she could adequately express her appreciation or even get his name.The next day Jo and Cindy went out for a lovely lunch at Cheese Cake Factory, and got their nails done – on the Mystery man’s dime.

THANKS COOL AND CLASSY GENTLEMAN AT SMITHS PHARMACY!

If you’re reading this my daughter thinks the world of you and what you did. Also,you made everyone’s day!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/make-me-smile/

Blog Slacker, or Where I’ve Been Lately

burning candle at both endsSome of my more loyal followers have noticed that I’ve slowed down a bit lately.  Not in a physical sense unfortunately, since I still feel like the proverbial chicken running around with its head cut off,  (this is a very gruesome metaphor – lets say, a very busy person, instead) but due to all the other demands on my time, I’ve recently become a BLOG SLACKER.

Define BLOG SLACKER:

A blog slacker is one who lets her blog go to rack and ruin because she’s overbooked during the day and her body thinks it needs to sleep at night.

O.K. so what could possibly be more important than posting regularly on your blog?

1.Spending time with family members whom one rarely sees anymore except on holidays and special occasions.

2.Cleaning and other boring but essential activities which  make it possible for me not to be featured on one of those hoarders reality shows.

3. Church callings and  civic responsibilities, which while a seemingly minimal commitment can balloon into staggering amounts of time. (i.e. Organizing the Church Luau which 91 people – so far – have signed up to attend.)

4. Attempting to read the stacks of books which call to me from the shelves of the library each day. Even when I have a million other things to do, I get panicky if I don’t have a good book going.

5. And this brings me to the library – Ah yes – the black hole into which the vast majority of my hours fall.

Yes, earning a living ranks right up there with blogging when it comes to matters of importance, though lately the necessity of a regular income has begun to edge into the lead.  If it were up to me I would spend my days writing, all the while commenting on other people’s blogs and witty repartee, but alas, I am compelled to trudge off to my job, (which I quite enjoy by the way) to be able to meet my financial obligations.

Interestingly enough, I’ve recently discovered several new ways to twiddle away my time – and add to my bank account, by writing on-line. Who knew?  I will address this in my next post, whenever I can fit that in, but in the meantime, don’t give up on me.  I’m still here – just not as often.

 

Learning To Fly

a young chipping sparrow fresh from the nest

The weather is so beautiful today, it puts me in mind of another spring day years ago . .

The sun dappled leaves of the Elm tree-shaded our patio swing as I swayed, happily immersed in the Sunday paper. My faithful hound Toby snored at my feet, and a warm breeze carried the scent of summer blossoms. It was a tranquil scene – until I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned just in time to see a scruffy-looking object plummet from the sky and land with a plop on the dog’s nose.

Too startled to move at first, we both just stared. It was a baby bird. As it hopped from its unfortunate landing pad, Toby came to her senses and did what any self-respecting dog would do – she lunged. So did I, and grabbed her collar just in the nick of time. Toby’s teeth snapped shut on empty air and I began dragging her towards the house. Claws raking furrows in the lawn, she struggled to get at the bird all the while yelping like a strangled hyena.

My husband stuck his head out the door. “What’s going on?” he said.
At that point the noise level in our backyard was roughly equivalent to a rock concert. In addition to the howling dog, we had acquired an entire flock of hysterical bird relatives chirping and shrieking and swooping through the air. All the while the young bird, apparently unconcerned by the uproar it had caused, sat calmly in the grass, bright eyes blinking in the sun.

After depositing our crazed pet in the house, my husband and I sat down to watch the drama unfold. Two of the birds, presumably Mom and Dad, landed near the baby and chirped with shrill disapproval.

We wondered what had happened. Was this a flying lesson gone awry? Had the youngster simply gotten tired of testing its new wings and checked out? The odds of it dropping from the sky and landing on the nose of a dog must have been astronomical, but as I’ve learned over the years, it’s best to expect the unexpected when dealing with children. The adult birds were clearly appalled by their offspring’s close call, and I could imagine the dialogue that must have been taking place.

Mother bird: “What were you thinking!”
Baby: “Nobody told me not to land on a dog’s nose.”
Father bird: “Why would we tell you that? Everyone knows better that!”

Like any child caught in an embarrassing situation, this one appeared to ignore its elders. It fluffed its feathers with great dignity and at one point actually turned its back on the others. It made a couple of half-hearted attempts to fly, but though seemingly uninjured, just didn’t seem that interested.

Suspecting that our presence was adding stress to the situation, my husband and I retired to the house. I kept an eye on the scene lest a cat should appear, but it was clear that the bird family could easily take down a dinosaur if necessary. Before long the baby seemed to reconsider the merits of our lawn, and without fanfare, lifted itself into the sky, entourage in tow, and flew away. Quiet reigned in our yard once more.

I could relate to that bird family. I knew exactly how they felt. Eventually we all have to push our children out of the nest, yet in spite of our best efforts they often manage to get themselves into awe-inspiring trouble. In the end we simply have to shake our heads and accept the fact that we can’t protect them from everything. Sometimes all we can do is pray – namely that they’ll exercise caution with their new wings and ultimately,  find a safe place to land.

Daily Post http://dailypost.wordpress.com

Human Library, Living Books

human library 2Have you ever been to a Human Library?  Here you can check out Living Books, and on Saturday I did just that.

The Salt Lake County Library System gathered a variety of people, i.e., books who were willing to share  their life experiences, and brought them together with readers who wanted to hear their stories.

I chatted with a retired soldier who had been involved in every American conflict since Viet Nam.  One man, a Muslim, told of being raised in apartheid South Africa, and another who was known as the Tom Brokaw of Iraq, recalled fleeing for his life after speaking up one too many times. I talked with a woman about the terror and the joy of escaping a life of polygamy, then discussed educational theory with a non-tiger Mom. There was an urban farmer, a polio survivor who climbed mountains, as well a an author, a songwriter an artist,  a member of the LGBTQ community and many more.

The Living Books festival originated in Denmark in 1993. The city had experienced a strong societal shift due to a large number of immigrants,  and the new and old members of the population were not getting along. The first Human Library was aimed at giving people a chance to sit down together as neighbors. It was an opportunity to break down barriers and  prejudice, and it serves the same purpose today.

“This event gave people  a chance  to talk with someone they wouldn’t ordinarily meet,” said the Imam of the Salt Lake Islamic society. “Whenyou bring people from opposite ends of the social and political spectrum together in a  non-judgmental setting, a lot good can come of it.”

“We’ll do this again next year,” said Liesl Seborg,  coordinator of the event.  “Hopefully everyone will come back and bring their friends.”

And that’s what it’s all about – friends.  The people who attended today have some new friends to show for it, and judging by all the animated conversations and smiling faces, the event was a great success.

don't judge 2

Poster for the Original Human Library

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/musing-mondays-mar-31/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost and Found

businessmanI work in a busy public library and am constantly amazed by the variety of things people leave behind.  For instance, car keys – we have on average 4 sets of car keys in our lost and found drawer at all times. Can somebody please tell me how you get home without your car keys?  Don’t you need them to start your car?

Another popular item is cell phones – a big-ticket, stress inducing item to lose track of.  I always feel bad about this and try to answer the phones whenever I hear them singing their sad little lost song in the drawer.  Often it’s the owner calling from someone else’s phone trying to locate their own.  “You left it in the library!” I say, and we have a good laugh and the mystery is solved.

Much harder to resolve and equally traumatic is the instance of people who leave their flash drives in one of our computers.  I’ve been there done that, and I know how it feels. People store important information on those tiny bits of technology – things  like business proposals, midterm notes, personal journals, and final drafts of their novels.  It’s like back in the day when everyone carried planners.  You lose it and you lose your mind.

We also deal in lost coats – last check we had three, backpacks and shoes – did you really not notice you were missing a shoe? Canes, we’ve found four over the past year and they’re all alike.  We suspect it’s the same person losing them, but have yet to catch the owner in the act of abandonment.

But all these things pale in the face of the Grand Champion of lost and found items. One day at closing we were astounded to find a  brand new, state of the art, convertible double stroller, sitting all alone in the children’s section.

What?  Someone entered the library with a giant double stroller and managed to leave without it? Poor  young mothers, I feel for you.  I know, sometimes life with young children gets so stressful that you’d forget you own head if it wasn’t attached. (But seriously, your stroller? That’s more important than your head.)

Anyway this particular story  had an interesting ending.  One day a young man came into the library and glanced at the stroller collecting dust in the manager’s office. He skidded to a halt and stared.

“Excuse me,” he said, “but I think that’s our stroller. We lost it a few weeks ago, and my wife thought someone had stolen it.”

No, not stolen, just forgotten.  I hope he broke it to her gently. In conclusion, the stroller and it’s owners were happily reunited, and our manager has his office back – for now anyway.

Are you missing your eyeglasses, your wallet, your trumpet or your wedding ring?  Can’t find your notebook, your credit card or your soccer shin guards? Check out the library. Books aren’t the only things we collect.

Linger

Wall ClockThe daily prompt asks what  we linger over – Ah, so many possible answers . . .  a good book, a crossword puzzle, a cup of hot cocoa on a snowy morning, lunch with a friend, a hot shower, a cuddly baby, puppies, a beautiful garden, and time with family.

I also linger too long over my word press posts, checking and re-checking spelling and grammar,  making sure I’ve made sense to someone other than myself.  So today I won’t do that.  Short and sweet – here it is.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/daily-prompt-linger/

Jaws and the Weedwacker of Doom

Is it just me or does anyone else greet the coming of spring with bit of trepidation.  Don’t get me wrong; I love Crocuses, budding trees and the sound of birdsong as much as the next person.  I look forward to throwing open the doors and windows of the house, drying sheets on the line, and feeling UV rays on my sun-starved skin, but along with these heady springtime activities comes a looming responsibility.  Namely yard work; weeding, pruning, watering and most odious of all mowing the lawn! 

As the snow recedes and the grass slowly begins to emerge, it’s almost as if I can hear the Jaws theme song echoing across the yard. It gets louder and louder with each unfolding square of green. In the movies, whenever this ominous cello music begins a giant shark appears, and sensible people run from the scene splashing and screaming.  It’s hard to run from my lawn. I’ve surrounded my house with it.

shark1When I moved into this house 17 years ago, no one talked much about water wise plants or xeriscaping.  So being rather landscape challenged, my husband and I did what everyone else was doing and planted huge sections of Kentucky bluegrass. I remember being thrilled when first few seeds began to sprout.  We coaxed and babied the delicate blades into a full-fledged lawn and felt a great sense of accomplishment when we finally got to mow.  We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

As the grass grew, so did our family and everyone loved the lawn.  We soon had four children who thrived on this football, soccer and Frisbee field. Happily they also took care of much of the maintenance of their playground, since mowing and trimming was a great way to earn extra cash.

Of course the kids complained a bit about the hard work, but their protests fell on deaf ears.  A little work never hurt anyone.  Besides, I distinctly remembered my father saying that yard work developed character. Then came the day when I got tired of their mutinous mutterings. I threw my hands in the air and threatened to take their job away from them.

“Fine,” I said, “If you guys don’t want the money, I’ll just mow the lawn myself.”

mowingHonestly, I thought how hard could it be?  I ended up sweaty and dehydrated with grass stains on my shoes. Despite repeated instructions, I had no idea how to operate the gas-powered, turbo-charged weed whacker of doom, and was quite frankly terrified of the noisy, rock spitting appliance. All in all . . . I was appalled.   I promptly upped the compensation package for lawn care and turned the job back over to the kids.

Over the years my children have grown.  One has moved out of the house altogether with others soon to follow. Empty nest syndrome looms on the horizon and I approach it with a mixture of sadness and concern.  I will certainly miss my children, though one can hardly dread the prospect of peace and quiet. 

But wait  a minute – if all the kids leave, who is going to mow the lawn!  Uh, oh.  This is vaguely reminiscent of the age old question, “who is going to take care of the dog/ cat/ guinea pig, when it’s owner goes to college?”  We all know the answer to that one.

I need to downsize my lawn, but don’t know how to go about it.  I have seen some lovely boulder and bark chip yards.  Maybe I should move in that direction – but how to get rid of all this grass?  There’s that cello music again. Well . . . how did they get rid of Jaws?  It seems like the solution involved some kind of explosion. 

explosion

Now there’s an idea, with a couple of good blasts I could get rid of my grass, and xeriscape the yard all in one fell swoop.  Now all I have to do is get the plan approved by my homeowners association. In the meantime though, I guess I’d better tune up the lawnmower. Does anyone want to earn some extra cash?

 

Rock My World

thinking

Daily Prompt: Under Pressure? Only when I’m awake . . .

It doesn’t take much to confuse me these days, but this one really rocked my world.

I was running late for church last Sunday and wasn’t paying a lot of attention as I jumped in the car and drove off. I attended church, had a lovely time, and returned to my car only to find  the door wouldn’t unlock.   Now let me explain that this was my husband’s car and it has one of those electronic keys that you don’t even have to take out of your purse.  It’s magic and the door unlocks as soon as you approach – but not this time.

car keyWhen the lock wouldn’t work, I  assumed the car battery had died since it’s been doing that lately.  I was once again in a hurry  so I hitched a ride home with a neighbor and, master procrastinator that I am, promised to resolve the car problem later. Not surprisingly things came up that afternoon, and that night it  was just too cold so, bright and early Monday morning my spouse and I  went to retrieve his car.

We were surprised when the car immediately sprang to life with his key. Apparently it wasn’t a dead battery after all,  so what was wrong with my key? I began digging through my purse and discovered that the key wasn’t in there.

Wait a minute, how had I driven his car to church without a key? OH NO! Had I lost it at church?  Please not that. This key is expensive, in fact  one of my pet peeves about new cars, is that they all have electronic keys that cost roughly the equivalent of a years pay (mine anyway) to replace.

But I digress.

Back at home I tore the car apart to make sure I hadn’t dropped the key inside. I tore my purse apart again, and checked all the pockets of the clothes I’d worn to church. No luck.  Defeated, we finally sat down to discuss the options.  We still had one key to his car, but if we lost that we were toast.

toastMe: “I guess we’ll have to buy another key.”

John:  “Yes, it’s unfortunate that it costs roughly the equivalent of a years pay.”

Me: “Sigh.”

Daughter:  “Are you guys looking for Dad’s key?  I’ve got it right here.”

John:  “YOU have the car key?!!

Daughter: Uh oh, (stricken look) how did you get home from church Mom?”

Me:  How did I even get to church?”

John: “Why do you have the key?!!

(What you see here is a classic case of multi-level confusion.)

To make a long story short, unbeknownst to myself I had taken my own car to church.  My daughter who doesn’t like to drive Dad’s vehicle came by and traded cars with me, then left an FYI text which I never saw because I don’t know how to find texts on my new phone. She left John’s car in the same parking place so I wouldn’t be confused, (Hah!) but neglected to leave the key, and had been blissfully unaware of the problem until now.

Is anyone still with me?  I’m not.

Anyway, all is well now because my paychecks can once again go towards paying bills and buying chocolate instead of installment payments on a new car key.

Note to car manufacturers:  Enough with the magic.Can we please go back to cheap metal keys?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/daily-prompt-heat/